Ericksonian Hypnosis and Psychotherapy – notes from the training with Consuelo Casula
For the first time in Bulgaria, gathering aimed in the Ericksonian approach took place. It was wonderful three days training. The presenter Consuelo Casula (President of European Society of Hypnosis) astonished the audience with her authentic presence and energy. When she was asked what is the secret of maintaining such constant and high endurance, she answered: “Two hours sport daily, yoga, some vegetarian food, practice of meditation, good gene and disciplined way of life.” The complete dedication of the good practice was visible in each word, gesture and the very presence. In addition to the immense body of knowledge and skills, Consuelo was radiating stable, sweeping charisma. We all would be very happy to have second part of Ericksonian hypnosis, held in Sofia!
“We do not induce, but we elicit the trance in the patient!”
What is the difference? If we claim we induce trance, we are in authoritative position of power. As a matter of fact, it is very rude position, inevitably countertransfering attitudes and contents of the psychotherapist’s psyche into the patient. Such position cannot trigger significant and enduring changes, but is alike pill. It can work for a while, repressing the neurotic issue, but in the long run worsens the situation. When we elicit the trance, we are in position of aiding patients own innate potential, which knows well how to manage the neurotic issue. You see – it is not just matter of linguistic usage, but describes two completely different understandings and attitudes toward psychotherapy, valid through its entire process.
“Hypnosis is state of consciousness (not of the subconsciousness - one does not sleep), involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness, which enhances the suggestive capacity.”
D-r Casula repetitively claimed that hypnosis and mindfulness have common ground. Such a viewpoint entirely coincides with my own observations, experience and understanding. We want to broaden the consciousness, not to drowse and put it to sleep. Hypnotic trance is state of full awareness. While the body is relaxed and brain into alpha and theta waves, mind is elevated to deeper and higher perceptions simultaneously. The comprehension of hypnotic trance as sleep comes initially from the very term hypnosis (sleep in Greek), but also is very common misbelief, broadcasted by Hollywood. Yes, we want to overcome the neurotic resistance, cognitive distortions and defense mechanisms between consciousness and subconsciousness, but not by having consciousness asleep, but expanding it toward the unconscious mind. It is the difference between feeding the patient with good fish or teaching him fishing on his own. Thus, mindfulness is a conscious context of Ericksonian strategies. The therapist does not hypnotize the patient, but elicits his own mindful abilities.
D-r Casula shared few ideas about the hypnotic linguistics of Milton Erickson: Directive through indirectedness, redundant, repetitive, sensory specified, ambiguous, polysemic, positive, suggestive, evocative, analog, metaphorical, favoring generic referential index, unspecified verbs, truisms, apposition of opposities, illusion for alternatives, implicit causative, semantics inclusions, conjunctions coordinative, connections and implications, separations, assumptions… Of course, on the subject of hypnotic language can be held years of training… That’s why, we would be really glad to have cycle of workshops on this specific topic!
Thru entire training D-r Casula did many demonstrations of personal, as well of group hypnotic sessions. We were able to observe masterly and skillful use of rapport, Ericksonian and short term therapy techniques, strategies and linguistics. D-r Casula recommended wonderful books and authors.
Even being at risk to repeat myself, I want to share the main impression that left indelible print in our minds – her stable energy, charisma and endurance. On behalf of the Bulgarian Association of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy I sincerely want to express our cordial gratitude and expectation for the second part of the training, held as soon as possible!
Thank you very much, D-r Casula!
Orlin Baev, international secretary of BAHH