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What is Milton Erickson's Ericksonian Hypnosis?

Milton Hyland Erickson is one of the world's leading authorities on Ericksonian hypnosis. Founder and president of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, the American psychiatrist developed studies on hypnosis based on the premise that entering a trance state, at least once a day and spontaneously, is natural for human beings. But what exactly does hypnosis mean? How does Ericksonian hypnosis occur? What benefits can this technique bring to the life of the person who undergoes it?


Hypnosis is a procedure conducted by a qualified and trained professional to induce a state of deep relaxation. In this state, attention is focused, peripheral awareness is reduced and the mind is encouraged to produce pleasant experiences. The method was introduced by British doctor and researcher James Braid in the 19th century. Although the concept of hypnosis was, at the time, understood to mean induced sleep, it is a scientific fact that hypnosis is not a state of sleep, as the brain activity identified in the two situations is different. In general, the hypnotic state, also known as "hypnotic trance", is induced through instructions and suggestions from the individual who is applying it.


When it comes to hypnosis, people are usually a little skeptical about its importance for physical and mental health treatments, as well as its benefits for enhancing a sense of individual wholeness.

Hypnosis, however, is a profound level of communication. During the procedure, the individual always remains aware of what they are doing and where they are. Even in a trance, the hypnotized person doesn't take actions that confront their values and principles, in other words, they don't do anything they wouldn't do in their normal state. The impact of the positive results of hypnosis, therefore, occurs to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the openness and receptiveness of the person being induced.


One of the greatest known benefits of hypnosis is that it improves the individual's capacity for intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships, favoring their ability to communicate internally and externally (with themselves and with others). Communication is the basis of relationships, and relating is a basic human need. Hypnosis has a great positive impact because it stimulates the breaking down of limiting beliefs that prevent the individual from fully accessing their abilities and skills, as well as overcoming traumatic events from the past. "All good communication is hypnotic in nature," says Milton Erickson.

For this reason, the technique is seen as beneficial for the individual's personal and social development. However, this is not the only area that hypnosis benefits. In health, for example, hypnotic techniques have been used to treat functional illnesses, allowing the individual to at least cope better with the symptoms.

In the psychological field, the hypnosis procedure has also been used to help people suffering from anxiety disorders, depression, phobias, panic disorder, addictions and eating disorders. Experts argue that the technique can also be useful in combating insomnia, relaxing, reducing stress, aiding learning, relieving acute or chronic pain and even anesthesia for surgical procedures and childbirth.


Created by psychiatrist Milton Erickson, Ericksonian Hypnosis is a technique widely used by high performance personal and professional coaches. It is a powerful method that substantially maximizes the results of the coaching process. This form of hypnosis is centered on the use of unconscious languages, allowing the individual to connect with the deepest resources of their personality, based on the premise that everyone has the capacity to find the solution to all their adversities within themselves. In this way, it is possible to generate powerful changes for any type of situation.

Ericksonian Hypnosis provokes a state of mental trance through tone of voice, rhythm of speech, breathing and body posture. The focus is on strengthening the individual's personal power so that they can overcome their own barriers, honoring and respecting their history and experiences. Although Ericksonian hypnosis explores the unconscious mind, the individual does not truly lose consciousness at any point during the procedure. The technique is currently sought after by people who want an auxiliary procedure in medical and psychological treatments, as well as those who are looking for in-depth self-knowledge.

The Federal Council of Psychology, the CFP, states that Ericksonian hypnosis is an auxiliary methodological resource for psychology, and is authorized as long as it is conducted by professionals with proven qualifications. The technique is beneficial not only as an aid to psychotherapy, but also in aspects such as:

  • Pain relief;

  • Help with anxiety;

  • Overcoming phobias, fears and traumas;

  • Help with depression and stress;

  • Control of bad habits, such as smoking;

  • Assistance with different medical and surgical modalities.


Below are some of the powerful benefits of Ericksonian hypnosis, maximizing the results of the coaching process:

  • Really effective and permanent changes;

  • Access to the unconscious mind, where the real changes take place;

  • Mental reprogramming: reframing and transforming bad experiences into learning;

  • Enhancement of the ability to learn and relearn, create and recreate constructive habits;

  • Developing new questioning skills (powerful questions);

  • Learning how to use metaphors and stories to stimulate effective learning and provoke insights (indirect suggestions).


  1. Indirect approach: the hypnotherapist doesn't give orders, but suggestions about what the individual should do or imagine;

  2. Interactional game: hypnosis is based on a dialog, in which the individual not only listens to the hypnotherapist, but also talks about the issue they wish to resolve;

  3. Step by step: hypnosis of this type is based on small changes, day by day, rather than sudden changes;

  4. Focus on the symptom: by solving small signs, you also solve the problem as a whole;

  5. Respect and empathy: the hypnotherapist acts with the individual in the same way they would like to be acted with, always with respect and acceptance;

  6. Cooperation: the hypnologist is there to understand the individual's problem and help them solve it;

  7. Clear communication: words and gestures must be clear, so that the individual is always aware of everything that is going on;

  8. Strategic therapy: each individual is unique and therefore capable of creating the solutions they are looking for. The hypnotherapist is just a facilitator of this process.

Ericksonian hypnosis is therefore a modern and safe technique, with identified benefits in promoting physical and mental health. However, before trying the procedure, make sure that the professional you choose is trained to conduct hypnosis responsibly.

Have you had any experience with hypnosis? What do you think about it? Use the space below to leave a comment with your opinion. Finally, don't forget to share this article with your friends and family via your social networks!

Article written by IBC Coaching - Brazilian Coaching Institute:


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