Transcript of a Trance Induction (с комментариями)
Milton H. Erickson, Jay Haley, and John H. Weakland
Reprinted with permission from The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, October, 1959, 2, 49-84.
The art of offering hypnotic suggestions in such fashion that the subject can accept them and then respond to them is difficult to explain. As an approach to this involved task, the following exposition of a trance induction is offered to clarify in some ways how suggestions are offered, presumably why they are effective, the methods that may be utilized to integrate one suggestion with others and to incorporate various responses into
others, and to demonstrate the readiness with which communication with a subject can be established at various levels, both separate and distinct as well as interrelated. The situation and procedure are given in the full detail afforded by tape recordings, together with a brief explanatory introduction, with only that editing requisite to make the conversational situation intelligible to the reader.
One evening in 1956 Milton H. Erickson hypnotized a subject during a weekly seminar he conducted in Phoenix. This trance induction was recorded. The following day he listened to the recording and discussed the induction with Jay Haley and John Weakland. This conversation was also recorded. What follows is a verbatim transcript of the two recordingS: the trance induction recording is presented in the first column; the conversation about the trance induction (as the initial tape is played back) is given in the second.
This discussion was initiated by Jay Haley and John Weakland as part of their research on the Communications Research Project directed by Gregory Bateson. The project was financed by the Macy Foundation, administered by Stanford University, and located at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Palo Alto, California. The “double bind” mentioned in this paper is discussed in “Toward a Theory of Schizophrenia,” Behavioral Science, 1, No. 4, 1956.
The hypnotic subject, who will be called Sue here, was not entirely a naive hypnotic subject. A stage hypnotist had tried to hypnotize her and rejected her, giving her the idea that she was a poor hypnotic subject. Dr. Erickson reports, “I met her for the first time at Dr. M’s. I looked her over and nodded to Dr. M that she would make a good subject, and I indicated that later I wanted Dr. M to work on her. This was done by signals that Sue
could not see. I went ahead on this occasion to work with another subject, and then I asked Sue to sit down in a chair beside me. I asked her if she’d like to be hypnotized, and she said, ‘Yes, but I’m not a good subject.’ I told her I thought she was a very good subject. I took hold of her arm and tested it for catalepsy. At the same time I tried to get some eye fixation. There was a fairly responsive eye fixation, then she shook her head and said, ‘I don’t think I can be hypnotized.’ I asked her if she wanted Dr. M to work on her, and she did, so Doctor M had her look at the reflection of the light on the doorknob. Dr. M worked quite hard with her and produced practically no results. There was closing of the eyelids, but no catalepsy, no hand levitation, and rather restless behavior. When Dr. M told her to arouse, she explained that she wasn’t so sure she had gone into a trance, but that she had tried very hard to cooperate. Perhaps she ‘cooperated too hard.’ She didn’t think she would make a good subject, even though Dr. Erickson said she would. She thought that perhaps I had made a mistake. The next time hypnosis was attempted was in her home. I had two good subjects there, and Sue really watched both of them. She was the hostess and was answering the telephone and worrying about the children making a noise. She said, ‘I’d like to be hypnotized, but I’m afraid I can’t be.’ I asked her to sit down and be a subject. She sat down, and I tried to hypnotize her. She was restless and said, ‘I can’t be hypnotized, I’m no good as a subject. I’m really not listening to you. I don’t think I could be a subject, but I’d really like to be one.’ That was the second effort. This recording constitutes the third attempt.”
Before beginning his induction that evening, Erickson purposely arranged the seating of the people in the room. A short time later he rearranged the seating, having Sue move each time. His later comment on this was, “I put her in the chair that I later sat in, then I shifted her to the couch. I was in her place. And she had obeyed me by shifting to the couch. She’d put me in her place, with all its subtle implications. If there had been some other chair there, even if it had been more convenient to sit in it, I would have sat in her chair. The shifting prior to that implied that if there is prior shifting, there can be subsequent shifting. I introduced the idea of shifting earlier to make it completely acceptable. Then there is no chance that she is going to resist the shift.” He also pointed out that on the couch Sue sat in a position where a good subject had been sitting. The transcript of the recording of the comments on the induction, and the induction itself, followS:
E: I think, Sue, it’s time for you to go into a trance.
E: You aren’t at home. That’s a nice couch. Now I wonder what some of the things are that you’d like to experience in a deep trance.
[Fluttering of eyelids.]
E: And slowly go deeper and deeper. [Long pause.] As you go deeper and deeper asleep, you can free your hands, separate them. And let them slightly, slowly, gradually begin to lift involuntarily. Lifting just a little.
E: Lifting just a little bit more. Lifting — lifting—and lifting —and your lids are closing.
E: And your hand lifting just a bit more. Lifting. Lifting. Lifting a bit. Forefingers moving. Moving just a little bit. Lifting, lifting again. And then the next finger will lift. The whole hand is stiff, lifting. Lifting Lifting up. Lifting, lifting, lifting up.
E: The elbow is bending. The wrist is lifting up.
E: The whole arm lifting slowly—lifting—lifting a bit more. And lifting. [Pause.] Lifting. Lifting a bit more. The elbow is bending.
E: The elbow is lifting. The hand is lifting —lifting more and more. [The hand has lifted slightly. Long pause.] Now I want you to go deeper and deeper asleep. And to signify that you will, I want your head to nod forward slowly.
E: [Pause.] Slowly nodding forward, still more —still more. [Pause.]
E: And still more. [Pause.] And you can go deeper and deeper asleep. [Pause.] And I want you to go deeper and deeper asleep.
E: And I’m going to count for you. One . . .
E: . . . 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10—and half asleep—11, 12, 13, 14, 15 —three quarters asleep—16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and take a deep breath and go way deep sound asleep. Way deep sound asleep.
E: . . . way deep sound asleep. And I want you to be sleeping sounder and sounder all the time. Sounder and sounder. Now there are certain things that you want to learn.
E: And I want you to be sure that you’ll learn, and I want you to think clearly in your own mind of all the various things you want to learn. And then I want you to realize that you can learn them, and that you will learn them.
[Tape is played. Long pause.]
E: And go still deeper. Still deeper asleep. [Pause.] And now, Sue, I’m going shortly to awaken you. And there are certain things that I want you to do. And I really want you to do them.
E: . . . and you may enjoy doing them.
E: After you are awakened, Sue, I want you to tell me that you weren’t really in a trance. And I want you to believe it.
E: And I want you to be emphatic in your statement. Quite emphatic. And you will be, will you not? [Pause.] And whatever else you need to do you will do, will you not?
E: [Pause.] And after you are awakened, you will not believe that you were in a trance. You’ll be emphatic in your belief; you’ll be polite about it. But you will know that you were not in a trance.
E: And now I’m going to awaken you, Sue. And I’ll awaken you. [Pause.] I’ll awaken you by counting backward from 20 to 1. 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1—awaken. Do you feel a
bit tired, Sue? [Sue clears throat.] Do you think I’m right in thinking you’re a good hypnotic subject. [She shakes her head.] You don’t.
S: I sure try.
E: You surely do. How many times do you think we’ll have to try?
S: Oh, I hope it won’t be long [Laughing slightly.]
E: [Joining laugh.] Yes, I hope it won’t be long until I get that fly. [He holds the fly swatter. Before trance he and subject had been pursuing a fly.]
S: Didn’t you get him yet?
S: Oh, my!
[Inaudible comments from others present about flies.]
E: Have you any idea what time it is?
E: Maybe you’ve been asleep.
S: I don’t think so.
E: Sure about that?
S: Pretty sure
E: You know, there’s an astonishing phrase in the language?
E: For a complete dinner we speak of it as everything from soup to nuts, do we not?
E: And you really understand what that means, don’t you? Soup to nuts. And then let’s see, there’s another phrase, everything from A to Z. It’s pretty conclusive, isn’t it? And inclusive. And you really understand
what A to Z means.
E: And then you can vary the phrase. Everything from 1 to 20. [Pause.] From 1 to 20 and . . . take a deep breath. Go way deep asleep. [Pause.]
E: That’s right. And you can really do it, can’t you? [Pause.]
And you can, can’t you?
E: And you really can. You can nod your head. [Pause.] It rather surprised you, didn’t it?
E: [Long pause.] After you are awakened again, Sue—and I ask you about going into a trance, I want you to tell me that you weren’t asleep the second time, that you were the first time. And you’re most insistent on that, and you will repeat that, Sue, will you not?
E: And now I’m going to awaken you. I’m going to count backward from 20 to 1. 20, 15, 10 —half awake —and 5, and 4, and 2, 3, 4, and 5, and 6, 7, 8, 9, 10—half asleep—and 9 and 8 and 7 and 6, 5, 4, 3 [slight pause], 2, 1. Wake up.
E: Be horrible if you could not pick up that glass of water, wouldn’t it, Sue?
S: [Laughing slightly] I can’t.
E: What’s that?
S: I can’t.
E: You’re getting thirsty.
S: I’m always thirsty.
E: You must have been in a trance.
S: Not really.
E: Not really?
S: No, no. I think you’d better work on your wife or F.
H: But also partially denying that she was thirsty because you were saying so.
E: Yes. E: It’s relating it to herself.
S: I really do. Because maybe I’ll get better from watching them.
E: Can you pick up that glass of water?
S: [Pause.] I don’t think so.
S: I don’t think so.
E: You must have been in a trance. It seems to me as if you’re acting as if you had a posthypnotic suggestion. Could be you were in a trance one of the times. Especially . . .
S: [Interrupting.] Well, I think I [clears her throat] was deeper in the first time.
E: By the way, when did you get the posthypnotic suggestion about the glass of water?
S: I don’t remember any.
E: You don’t remember. [Pause.] Did you go in deeper the first time? It seems to me that you told me you weren’t in a trance the first time.
S: Well [Pause], not like L. [A good subject she had seen in a trance].
E: Maybe this last time you weren’t in a trance.
S: I’d love to say yes.
E: You really would? And you’d really love a drink of water, wouldn’t you? It is nice to pick it up, isn’t it?
E: It is nice to pick it up, isn’t it? [Long pause.] Isn’t it? [Pause.] Just watch your hand. See what it does. There’s your hand
S: A little bit.
E: Watch it, your hand moving.
E: All that suffering for so small a sip? Don’t you think you had better take another sip?
[Long silence, during which E holds out his hand before Sue, and slowly closes his five fingers into a fist; then again, four times in all. Sue watches intently.]
E: And now you’re beginning to know that you can sleep like L, aren’t you. Beginning to know. [Silence and long pause.] And you can close your eyes and go really deeply asleep, with a deep breath. A deep breath, and go really deep asleep. That’s right. Deeply asleep. [Pause.] I’m going to
talk to the others, but you just keep right on sleeping. And I want you to be interested in 23 the fact that you can see my hand, too. [To others.] That answers your question about the communication of ideas, doesn’t it?
E: [Pause.] And sleeping deeply, Sue. And this time when you awaken, I want you to recall how you went to sleep this last time, and try to explain it to the group. 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. And wake up.
E: How did you happen to go to sleep this last time, Sue?
S: Watching your hand.
E: What did my hand do?
S: It went like this [Opening and closing hand.]
E: And what did you do?
S: Just like this [Closes her eyes].
E: And what did it mean to you?
S: [Pause] Hands clasped.
S: The movement, the flexing of the muscles. Just watched them.
S: [The lights dim briefly.] Did everybody see that?
E: Yes, but what were you thinking? Why did you go to sleep?
S: [Pause, clearing throat.]
E: They have a deep freeze.
E: They have a deep freeze.
S: Who does? Oh, Bill [the host].
S: Oh, that’s what the light was. I see.
E: [Pause.] What else were you thinking about as you watched my hand?
S: Well, to me something like this [a fist] has always connoted strength. I couldn’t tell you right off what was . . .
E: Anything else?
S: The breathing. E: I don’t recall. I may have done so automatically.
S: The way your body bathed in and out, and I could feel myself breathing as you were.
E: Now suppose you let your unconscious give me an answer. Now why . . .
S: The closing of the eyes.
E: Go to sleep. [Pause.]
S: Because you wanted me to.
E: When was she last time you went to sleep?
S: Just now.
E: That’s right.
E: What was I saying to you, Sue, when you went to sleep? [Long pause.] You’re not really awake now, are you?
S: I don’t think so.
E: You don’t think so. You really don’t think so, do you? And you really don’t think you’re awake. And if you don’t think you’re awake, you’re beginning to think at the moment you’re asleep. You’re beginning to think and to know that you are asleep? You’ll find that out as your eyes close. They are closing more. [Pause.] And more. [Pause.] And more. That’s it. And sleeping deeply and soundly. Very soundly, very soundly. And you can smoke while you’re asleep, Sue. Do you want to? Then I’ll take your cigarette. [Long pause.] Now, Sue, I’m going to awaken you again. I’ll tell you when to go to sleep, Sue, but you won’t know it. I’ll tell you when to go to sleep, but you won’t know it. But you’ll go to sleep.
E: [Pause.] And you will want to, won’t you, when I tell you to? Even though you don’t know it. You will go to sleep, will you not? When I tell you to. Even though you don’t know it.
E: . . . And you’re beginning to realize you can sleep, like L. And you can. And you’re knowing it more and more, are you not? [Pause.] From 20 to 17 is 3—and 4 from that is 13—and 3 more makes 10—you’re half awake. And 9, and 8, and 7, 6, and 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Wake up. Somewhere in the
hassle you lost sour cigarette. Would you like it? Mrs. C, this is Dr. and Mrs. Fingle.
S: How do you do. My hand is so cold. This one. It’s cold.
E: Would you like your cigarette?
E: Tell me, Sue, have you been in a trance?
S: I think so.
E: You think so.
E: Are you awake now?
S: I think so. I’m not sure.
E: Well, Mr. Haley and Mr. Weakland are recording everything here. They want a discussion of this later. They’ll probably use it in their research project.
E: Shall we really fascinate ’em?
S: [Low.] Yes.
E: I have eight children.
S: I know. I think it’s marvelous.
E: And then there’s some who have a dozen. [Pause.] And you know now, don’t you?
E: That’s right. Close your eyes and go to sleep and 12 and 8 is 20, isn’t it? Isn’t that right?
E: 3 and 20 is 17 and 4 from that is 13, and 3 more is 10 and you’re half asleep. [Long pause.] And after you are awakened, Sue, I want to introduce you to some people. You haven’t met them before. And you really haven’t.
E: . . . And you’ll be pleased to meet them. I’ll tell you their names now, but you will forget their names until after you awaken. But then you’ll remember when I tell you them. Dr. and Mrs. Fingle.
E: Now I’m going to awaken you. 20, 15,10, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Wake. I think you’ve been asleep again.
E: Here comes that fly again.
E: Here comes that fly again.
S: Oh, the fly.
E: Oh, Sue, there are a couple of strangers here, Dr. and Mrs. Fingle. F: How do you do?
S: How do you do? What’s the name?
E: Who’s asleep around here?
S: I’m going back.
E: How many times have you been asleep? Say any number of times.
E: [Pause.] Not bad.
S: [Bursting out laughing.] I didn’t really mean it. That just came out. [Both laughing.]
E: You didn’t really mean it, but you said it.
S: I don’t know.
E: Do you want to change it?
E: Try it. Say a number.
E: You can’t say a number. Can you say the same one?
E: Let’s give it a count.
S: How much?
E: Oh, just any count!
S: 1, 2—oh no! [Apparently feels herself going in trance.]
E: What’s the matter?
E: Go ahead and count.
S: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, [becoming more slow and inaudible. Pause.]
E: You really convinced yourself that time, didn’t you, Sue? You really did, didn’t you? Now you know, do you not? Now you know. And you really know it, do you not?
E: And now, Sue, I want you to have the feeling, the very, very strong feeling after you awaken that you’ve been asleep for a long, long time. At least two hours. I want you to have the feeling that you have been sleeping for two long hours. Very restful, very comfortable, and you won’t believe your watch. And you won’t believe it, will you? [Pause.] Because after you awaken . .
E: . . . you will know from your inner feeling that you have slept for two long hours. And you’ll feel rested, refreshed. And now take it easy, and just two hours have passed . . .
E: . . . and you’re really feeling rested and refreshed. 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12,11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Wake up, wide awake.
E: What else happened?
E: [Pause.] What happened the first time you counted, or started to count?
S: Were there two counts? I only remember one.
E: Didn’t you start to count and then refuse to count?
E: What’s the explanation of that?
S: I was afraid.
E: What were you afraid of?
S: A very funny feeling.
E: How did that feeling come to you?
S: I don’t know.
E: What was the feeling really like?
E: Describe it more.
E: Anything else.
S: It was very comfortable.
E: Did T want to serve coffee now?
S: I guess it is about time. How was the movie?
P Watching television.
S: That late?
E: Look at your watch.
S: It’s amazing! [Laughter.] The thing’s stopped!
E: Do you believe your watch?
S: Well, it stopped three times today. [Laughter.] No, it’s going. Unless it stopped during the time. What does your watch say?
S: Does anybody else have a watch?
ANOTHER PERSON: 8.30.
E: Can’t believe these watches.
S: Not very much. [Laughter.]
E: What time do you think it is?
S: Oh, about 9:30, 10 o’clock.
E: And what all has happened this evening?
S: Maybe you were talking to somebody else! [Laughing.] I don’t want to miss it, though.
S: Don’t do that to me!
E: You know, I have an idea you’d be a good subject!
S: Nothing I want more in this world . . .
S: I want to see the fawn that L saw.
E: You would? That one or another one? Tell me, in Maine, haven’t you seen a fawn?
S: Every time I get near one—I never—I just see tracks.
E: Haven’t you ever seen a deer?
S: I don’t think so. I hunt ‘em, but I can’t ever find them.
E: But in Maine haven’t you ever seen a deer or a fawn?
S: Not right up close.
E: In the distance.
S: Not that I can recall. That’s right. I think I may have seen one once.
E: Was it in Maine?
S: I think I was passing by in a car, but I don’t remember.
E: On the right, or maybe left-hand side?
S: No, it was going across the road.
E: Going across the road. Was it a wide road?
S: No, a dirt road.
E: A dirt road?
E: Was it dry, a dry dirt road? Were there stones in it?
S: Yes, I think . . .
E: Yes, there were stones in it. Were there trees along the sides?
E: Yes. And look at it closely. And see it. And it’s nice to see it, isn’t it? Look closer. [Pause.] Look closely, quietly. Look. Look closer, quietly, before it goes away. See it
clearly. [Pause.] Is it gone?
S: I couldn’t see it.
E: You couldn’t see it; look carefully. It’s by that tree.
S: It passed too quickly; just didn’t see it.
E: Look again, beyond that other tree. Coming out. It’s going quite fast. Look. Did you see the movement there?
S: Yes, but I missed the deer.
E: You missed the deer. See the movement, the swinging of the branch?
S: It starts.
E: You’ll see it the next time, won’t you? The next trance you get, you’ll see it.
[Pause.] Close your eyes and sleep deeply. Now take a deep breath. Sleep deeply. And wake up and tell me again about wanting to see the fawn that L did. Start the conversation on that . . . Wake up . . . Wake up. From 20 to 1, wake up. [Louder.] So you want to see the fawn that L did?
S: [Waking voice.] She saw it so clearly.
E: What are some of the other things that you’d like to see?
S: [Pause.] Nothing.
E: Nothing at all?
E: But you really couldn’t see that fawn that L saw. That was on the Au Sable River.
S: I never even heard of it before.
E: Where else besides Maine have you been?
S: New York, California. I was in Florida a little while.
E: You say you go hunting.
E: Where have you been hunting?
S: Out here.
E: Kaibab Forest?
S: No, we don’t go for deer, just dove and quail. Lots of fun.
E: I like to eat them.
S: I have to clean them, if I kill them. You like to clean them?
E: I do.
S: And oh, there he goes [the fly], on your nose. [S and E join in hunting the fly, but
S: That’s so—a hunt.
E: You know, I prefer to get them seven at a blow.
S: Sept d’un coup?
E: You want to go deer hunting?
S: I don’t think so. I don’t think I could kill one.
E: Haven’t you ever seen any—deer, when you—
E: There [referring to fly.]
S: Please, please [pursuing with fly swatter]. Here he is. This is really a big home. In my home you can corner them.
E: When was the last time you were in Maine?
S: Last summer. If it’s on me, don’t worry, you can hit me. He’s young. Got a lot of energy. There he is! Now he’s back behind you.
E: Doggone that fly. [Pause.] When was the last time you were in Maine?
S: Last summer, June 19th.
E: Did you ever go up in the woods at all?
S: No, I was with the children, right in camp.
E: And that’s where you learned your driving, is it?
E: How old were you when you learned to drive?
S: Oh, 15 or 16.
E: And you had so little mercy on the boys there that you tried to run ’em down?
S: Oh, that was just teasing. I was always teased at camp because I was the only girl
in a boys’ camp.
E: So you learned to drive a car at 16.
S: Yes, I learned a lot of things in Maine.
E: Andeverybody rushed for the canoes?
S: They didn’t, really. They only . . .
E: They stood up.
S: Yeah, that’s what the K’s were telling them all.
E: How many boys were there at the camp?
S: Then, oh, I think—about 40, 45, maybe. Now it’s much bigger.
E: I see.
S: Now they’ve got 120.
E: A hundred and—twenty.
E: [Pause.] A hundred and twenty. Take a deep breath. Because I want you to do something. And you can remember that camp. You saw that camp many times.
And, as you think back, you can remember this boy and that boy—when you were 16.
And you can look at your memory of that camp. And as you think back, you can
recall this boy, and that boy, when you were 16. And you can look at your memory
of that camp.
E: And I want you to see if there was grass around there. Was there a beach? Was the
water smooth? Were there really trees there? Were they green? And look, and look up there and see a canoe, or see a boy, or see the beach, or see the water. You’re beginning to see, and I want you to recognize one of the boys who was there when you were 16. And you can do that. See him plainly, clearly, and I want you to point to him. Point to him, and slowly your hand moves. It’s going to point to him. And look—and see. Take your left hand
and point. And point to him. That’s it. That’s it.
E: Move your hand and point to him. Move your hand and point to him, and see him more and more plainly, and you can point. Are you pointing? Nod your head when you can see it shaping. Are you pointing? Are you pointing? [Pause.] Sleep deeply. [Long pause.]
E: And after you awake you will recall one of the boys you haven’t thought of [pause]
for a long time. You will tell me about him, will you not?
E: [Long pause.] Sleep deeply, and now awaken. 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12,11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Wake up. And I still haven’t got that fly.
E: I hope you have better luck with your
doves than you are having with this fly.
S: I hope so, too.
External circumstances caused an interruption of the commentary at this point, but further analysis would have served only to emphasize, with variations and modifications occasioned by the immediate intrinsic circumstances, the understandings already elaborated. It may be added that henceforth Sue was a competent subject, capable of all phenomena of the light and deep trance, including even the plenary state.
To summarize, a tape recording was made of a spontaneous and unplanned hypnotic induction of a somewhat resistant subject who had failed on three previous occasions to develop a trance and who believed that she could not be hypnotized. The next day this recording was played back by the authors, with many systematic interruptions to permit a point-by-point discussion and explanation of the significances, purposes, and interrelationships of the various suggestions and maneuvers employed in developing the subject’s hypnotic responses. A transcription of a second recording, made of the entire procedure, constitutes this paper.