A TRIBUTE TO BRYAN FOLEY 2001

BRYAN FOLEY'S REVIEW OF THE WORKS 

OF CHAPLAIN PAUL G. DURBIN, Ph.D.

AND MILTON ERICKSON, M.D.

THE OTHER ERIKSON 

BY MICHAEL GERSHMAN

IN MEMORY OF BRYAN FOLEY, AGE 39, A FRIEND WHO DIED JUNE 28 2001

BRYAN FOLEY'S REVIEW OF THE WORKS OF CHAPLAIN PAUL G. DURBIN, Ph.D. AND  MILTON ERICKSON, M.D.

(Dr Milton Erickson and Chaplain Paul G. Durbin, Ph.D.)

Our profession's greatest strength lies in its rapid results. If we wish to sell the public on abandoning the long term, month after month traditional therapy in which they get only "therapeutic movement" rather than complete cures, we must ourselves abandon our academic profundity and give them the rapid results they expect from hypnotherapy. One, two and three session cures not only enhance our profession, they also increase our referrals.

It seems the more profound and complicated a therapy seems, the more reverence is given it. This is the problem many of the new therapists in the field suffer with, so their clients also suffer. Putting on a profundity act may make us feel superior, but are we? And, what about the poor client? We must be aware that results are much more important than theory, no matter how deep or intellectual the theory may sound. Our most powerful public awareness campaign is for every hypnotherapist to convince his/her clients that hypnotherapy offers them rapid and lasting results.

Dr. Durbin's comprehensive and inspirational book Kissing Frogs: Practical Uses of Hypnotherapy reflects these above comments and much more. A major center focal theme of the book concentrates on what Dr. Durbin calls the "human trinity". This incorporates one's mind, body and spirit as the interconnected parts of the human being. As in family system dynamics, each part interacts and is interacted upon within each other. A major contributor Dr. Durbin mentioned that was a favorite of mine in graduate school was Victor Frankl. His introduction of logotherapy has a basic spiritual influence. By his focus on the "meaning of life" he taught that man had absolute control over one aspect of life. While a prisoner of war, he wrote about how man can have everything taken from him except his "perception" of his being and environment. In this aspect, man could have total freedom and control of his perspectives, regardless of the situation surrounding him,

Dr. Durbin's sharing of real life case studies give hopeful and encouraging examples of hypnotherapy facilitating people to free themselves from their inner conflicts. Recurring themes that I incorporate in many sessions usually always include segments and variations of his topics of building self-confidence and self-esteem. In many sessions, I also incorporate segments of releasing anger and guilt, along with the concepts of forgiveness and forgiving as expressed on page 58. This combination has been extremely helpful for me in helping clients deal with issues of sexual trauma and abuse.

Regarding spirituality Chapters: (5: The Bible's Contributions, 13: Hypnosis and Religious Faith, and 14: Prayer Therapy) emphasize spirituality in hypnotherapy. I often ask clients if they are spiritual after a personal checklist is complete. If they are I will usually say something like this: "with the help of your higher power (i.e., Jesus Christ) and your subconscious mind, perhaps you may begin to"...in order to give the client additional empowerment. Some clients really feel comfortable and at peace with this approach. In cases where people may have a somewhat negative or pessimistic outlook on mankind's unity, I have relayed the story of the person who asked an angel to show him heaven and hell with the people in heaven having learned to feed each other with the elongated spoons. After the session, a few people have commented on how they enjoyed the story, which gave them a somewhat renewed faith or hope in the human race.

In Chapter 16, Dr. Durbin's impressive accomplishments and honors as a highly recognized hypnotherapist add credibility and sincerity to his effective hypnotic scripts, healing stories and teaching theory contents. Overall, it is an excellent book for the serious hypnotherapist's collection.

As Dr. Durbin uses individualization and psychotherapy with hypnosis. Dr. Milton Erickson's book Experiencing Hypnosis (Therapeutic Approaches to Altered States) will be briefly reviewed. Regarding catalepsy, we learn the ease with which individuals can learn to maintain a limb comfortably in a state of well-balanced muscle tonicity as a measure of their sensitivity and receptivity to suggestion. Erickson's approaches to catalepsy are designed to secure a person's attention, to focus that attention inward, and to arouse an attitude of wondering or expectancy for further suggestion. Catalepsy is an ideal approach for inducing trance and assessing a patient's receptivity. It can be utilized as a basic foundation on which other hypnotic phenomena may be structured.

Catalepsy has a special relation to amnesia and analgesia anesthesia. The special focus of attention to minimal stimuli required during the induction and maintenance of catalepsy distracts and occupies an individual's attention, so he or she tends to ignore other stimuli. This can give rise to an amnesia for other events occurring simultaneously with the catalepsy and the patient can experience an analgesia or anesthesia for other sensations or pain in the body.

As is the case with all hypnotic phenomena, there are extremely wide individual differences in response to catalepsy. Associated phenomena - such as: fixed gaze, lightness, heaviness, or stiffness of the limb; a sense of automatic movement and dissociation, wherein the limb does not seem to be part of the body; visual and auditory perceptual alterations; spontaneous age regression, etc. - all tend to accompany catalepsy to different degrees in different individuals. Many of these phenomena occur spontaneously as a result of the partial loss of the generalized reality orientation, as the subject experiences the unexpected cataleptic induction. The well-trained hypnotherapist learns to recognize the spontaneous development of these phenomena, which can be utilized to achieve therapeutic goals.

Ideomotor and ideosensory responses are now understood to be the fundamental building blocks of the automatisms that gave rise to the classical trance phenomena and the establishment of hypnosis in the 19th century. New forms of ideomotor signaling have been explored during the past few decades, primarily by clinicians interested in uncovering unconscious material and facilitating hypnotic responsiveness. These modern forms of ideomotor signaling are providing "permissive" clinical approaches to "understanding" and facilitating hypnotic and therapeutic responses that are replacing the older "authoritarian" forms of command and "challenges". Systematic and controlled laboratory investigation needs to establish the validity and reliability of ideomotor responsiveness and signaling.

A patient is one who experiences the locus of his problem on the conscious or primary level, since he cannot make the contents of his conscious everyday experience what he wants them to be. He comes to the therapist and is really saying, "help me with my matalevels, my frames of reference, so that I will experience more comforts (adaptation, happiness, creativity, or whatever), on my primary level of conscious experience.

Psychological problems have their genesis in the limitations of a consciousness that is restricted to one primary level of functioning. Consciousness on a primary level is stuck within the limitations of whatever belief system (frame of reference, metalevel of communication) is giving meaning to its contents. Consciousness at any given moment is limited to whatever is within its focus of awareness, and it can manipulate only these contents within its focus on its level. Consciousness cannot reach up and change the metastructure giving meaning to its contents; i.e., contents on the primary level cannot alter contents on a secondary level above it; it is the secondary or metalevel that structures and gives meaning to the primary.

When using indirect approaches, we attempt to deal with structure on these metalevels, rather than the primary level of conscious experience. The patients usually do not know what we are doing, because they are limited by the focal nature of consciousness to the contents on their primary levels of awareness. At present, we are doing this as an art form. To make left hemispheric science of this in the future, we may need psychologists trained in symbolic logic to analyze the paradigms, whereby you deal directly with a patient's metastructures.

Alternatively, maybe these metalevels are actually right-hemispheric styles of coping that have a peculiar logic of their own in the form of symbols, imagery, and all the nonrational forms of life experience that have been intuitively recognized as healing. In this case, we need to develop a right-hemispheric science of what in the past has been the domain of mysticism, art, and the spiritual modes of healing .

Another book by Milton H. Erickson to be reviewed is Creative Choice In Hypnosis, Volume IV. In this book, Erickson stresses the authoritarian permissive paradox of the double-bind. Erickson spoke about the double-bind and used Kubie's psychoanalytic concept of "illusory choice" to define it. In this conceptualization, the double-bind was a way of giving a subject the "illusion of choice". Erickson would arrange the situation so that whatever choice the patient selected would further his or her therapeutic goals. By emphasizing that, in spite of the "illusory choice" aspect of the double-bind", Erickson actually used it in a way that did give the subject the ultimate freedom of creative choices. Hereby, we can interpret the "therapeutic double-bind" as a free choice among comparable alternatives, rather than as a bind of illusory choice.

When a free choice among comparable alternatives is offered without a positive matalevel structuring, the subjects are free to refuse all choices. When the relationship of metalevel is competitive or negative, however, we may always expect a rejection of all the double-bind alternatives offered on the primary level. The therapeutic usefulness of the double-bind, then, is limited to situations that are structured by a positive metalevel.

Recent research of Libet (1995: Rossi, 1998) documents know what we experience mentally as "mind, consciousness, and free will" is actually about 0.2 seconds behind the "readiness potential" that indicates when a voluntary act will arise. The experiential findings may lead us to the conclusion that voluntary acts can be initiated by unconscious cerebral processes before conscious intention appears but that conscious control over the actual motor performance of the acts remains possible.

The finding should, therefore, be taken not as being antagonistic to free will but rather as affecting the view of how free will might operate. Processes associated with individual responsibility and free will would "operate" not to initiate a voluntary act, but to select and control volitional outcomes.

We may now interpret the therapeutic double-bind as facilitating the process of creative choice by asking us to suspend the expression of habitual attitudes and mental sets for a short period of time.

Contrary to some misconceptions, the hypnotized person remains the same person. His or her behavior is altered by the trance state, but even so, that altered behavior derives from the "life experience" of the patient and not from the therapist. At the most, the therapist can influence only the manner of self-expression. The induction and maintenance of a trance serve to provide a special psychological state in which patients can reassociate and reorganize their inner psychological complexities and utilize their own capacities in a manner in accord with their own experiential life. Hypnosis does not change people, nor does it alter their past experiential life. It serves to permit them to learn more about themselves and to express themselves more adequately.

Direct suggestion is based primarily, if unwittingly, upon the assumption that whatever develops in hypnosis derives from the suggestions given. It implies that the therapist has the miraculous power of effecting therapeutic changes in the patient, and disregards the fact that therapy results from an inner resynthesis of the patient's behavior achieved by the patient himself. It is true that direct suggestion can affect an alteration in the patient's behavior and result in a symptomatic cure, at least temporarily. However, such a "cure" is simply a response to the suggestion and does not entail that reassociation and reorganization of ideas, understandings, and memories, which is essential for an actual long-term cure. It is the experience of reassociating and reorganizing the client's own experiential life that eventuates in cure, not the manifestation of responsive behavior which merely can satisfy the therapist or observer.

In other words, hypnotic psychotherapy is a learning process for the patient, a procedure of reeducation. Effective results in hypnotic psychotherapy, or hypnotherapy, derive only from the patient's activities. Erickson's view of indirect suggestions is that the patient is enabled to go through these difficult inner processes of disorganizing, reorganizing, reassociating, and projecting of inner real experience instead of a simple superficial response.

Now, in relationship to hypnosis and psychoanalysis, I think the difference between hypnosis and psychoanalysis is this: that hypnosis is something that deals with human behavior--human behavior in the ordinary waking state, human behavior in various particular situations. Psychoanalysis tends to depend upon a certain setting. One can use hypnosis in the psychoanalytic setting, one can use it in the Adlerian setting, one can use hypnosis in the Rogerian, the Stiechelian, the Myerian, or whatever field of psychoanalytic thought or psychiatric thought or school of interpretative psychology and psychiatry there is. Hypnosis deals essentially with human behavior, and in every school of thought, you are dealing with human behavior. So hypnosis is not limited just to the field of hypnosis, but it applies to every expression of human behavior regardless of the general field of thought in which you want to include hypnosis.

In conclusion, hypnosis, today, is experiencing the greatest upsurge of widespread public acclaim that has been seen in the two centuries since Franz Anton Mesmer had the aristocracy of France agog with his healing miracles in the 1780's.

The practical application of hypnosis is daily gaining increasing respect from the medical profession and many doctors refer their patients to hypnotherapists.

Hypnotherapy is recognized as a profession of standing in the business archives of the United States. (Department of Labor, D.O.T.079-157.010.)

The very rapidity of the spread of hypnosis has put it badly in need of being placed in proper perspective.

Often the understanding of a subject can be obtained through stating emphatically what it is not. This rule applies directly to hypnosis .

Because of the pervasiveness of inaccurate and misleading information in the popular media, almost every person has misconceptions about hypnosis.

Most authorities agree that the hypnotized subject cannot be induced to commit antisocial or criminal acts. The question usually asked is whether one can make a hypnotized person commit acts detrimental to himself or others. A hypnotized person will not do anything he or she would not do in the normal waking state.

Nobel prize-winning physician Albert Schweitzer once remarked, "They come to us, not knowing the truth. We are at our best when we give the doctor, who resides within each patient, a chance to go to work .

DEVELOPMENTAL HYPNOTHERAPY CONFLICT & CRISIS:

THE OTHER ERIKSON: 

Michael Gershman, RN, (hypno_instructor@hotmail.com) currently teaches Hypnotherapy at both Everett Community College, and the Radcliffe School of Hypnosis. He is currently researching and writing a book on the uses and relationship of Developmental Psychology and Hypnotherapy with Dr.. Janet LeValley, (Ph.D. Psychology).

The field of Hypnotherapy is filled with territorial disputes. Clinical Ph.D. psychologists criticize Alay hypnotherapists" for practicing therapy without professional academic and without a theoretical framework. "Lay Hypnotherapists" respond defensively by claiming Dr. Bryant, Dave Elman, Milton Erickson, Gil Boyne and others as their Ancestral Teachers and then falling back onto "we have technique--it works--we don't need no stinkin' theory." Indeed, lay hypnotherapists often suggest that Clinical Psychology as a model for healing is inadequate, necessitating years of treatment and being, all too often, unsuccessful. As anecdotal proof, lay hypnotherapists often find themselves faced with disillusioned "survivors" of traditional clinical therapeutic models. These clients have been through various talk therapies, pharmaceutical therapies, and sometimes even a session or two of hypnosis, (seldom by a therapist trained in hypnotherapy), all within an allopathic psychology paradigm. These clients arrive knowing their lives are not working, and they feel dissatisfied.

It is time to shift the paradigm and side step the territorial disputes. For the past century, Developmental Psychology has provided academic grounding and/or theoretical framework for the understanding of how and why people act and react differently at different ages to events in their lives. Developmental Hypnotherapy takes this understanding and applies it to the techniques and experiences of hypnotherapists and hypno-analysts. The theory and practice of Developmental Psychology fits client-centered hypnotherapy like a glove giving a rationale for the use of techniques. Drawing from the contributions of developmental theorists such as Piaget, Vygotsky, and Erikson, (Erik, not Milton), a suitable context is laid for developmental hypnotherapeutic diagnosis and treatment.

Erik Erikson, in particular, proposed a sequence of stages in which conflict and crisis drive lifespan development. How successfully the individual negotiates balanced resolution of challenges in each stage determines how healthy or warped is their entry into later stages. In other words, the individuals psyche-social development and their strength of spirit depends on how well they resolved the challenges they faced earlier in their life. Erikson theorized that different conflicts and crises will happen predictably at certain times in each person's life. The pattern of when these happen is the basis for his "epigenetic principle", that there is a natural unfolding of these developmental processes, or predetermined order, shaping the personality of each individual. His eight or nine stages of psyche-social development, describe the physical, emotional and psychological stages at different ages, and relates specific issues or tasks to be accomplished in each stage. Each developmental stage represents a particular approach to organizing our experiences. When we move to a developmentally more advanced stage, we still carry the previous stage(s) of organization with us, and failure is cumulative.

In the first stage that we all went through as an infant, we either learned we could trust our parents to take care of our physical and emotional needs, or we learned that we could NOT trust our parents to do this. How we resolved these early crisis during our first year of life influences our relationships with our parents, and whether or not we learn to trust other people and situations. If the baby can't count on being fed, the entire world doesn't seem like a nice place to be, and then comes teething.

In the second stage from about 1 to 3 years old, we either learned autonomy or shame and self-doubt. We learned self-control, (toilet training), self-confidence and that the world is safe to run around in, or we didn't. If a toddler is not permitted to learn by doing, then it may develop a sense of doubt in its abilities, which will make life interesting in later attempts at independence.

During the terrible twos, children learn to run around, say "no", and find out about rules and rituals--yes, conflict and crisis for both children and adults.

In the third stage, from about 3 to 6 years old, the play age preschooler learns to play with other children using imagination, let's pretend role-playing, and hero-worshiping, As they initiate and not simply imitate, they start to develop conscience, and sexual identity as either a boy or girl, and with these--shame and guilt.

As the school age child, (4th stage, approximately 6-12 years old), attempts to master skills and knowledge, their sense of self worth is developed as they have their efforts praised or found wanting in comparison to an external standard. Children learn to be industrious, and the risks are inertia, perfectionism, and a sense of inferiority.

Next comes adolescence, the fifth stage, from about 12 to 18 years old. Identity crisis and role confusion arrive with puberty. With both peer pressure and thinking in terms of ideals, adolescents attempt to establish a philosophy of life. Teenagers struggle to achieve a sense of identity in relation to occupation, sex roles, politics and religion.

It should be pointed out that in each of these stages, there needs to be a balance. It is not Trust or Mistrust, (age 0-1), but rather learning to balance them. Trusting everyone in all situations is equally as warped as mistrusting everyone in all situations. In the second stage, the task is to achieve a feeling of autonomy without too much shame and self-doubt, just as in the third stage, balancing initiative and guilt. Too much initiative, and not enough guilt makes someone ruthless. Too much guilt, and not enough initiative creates inhibitions, where people won't try things because "nothing ventured--nothing to feel guilty about" Later, when school aged, we ]earn to balance our capacity for industry as we learn our limitations while avoiding a sense of inferiority. As teenagers, we learn to balance achieving ego identity with role confusion, going through rites of passage, as we discover who we are.

Whether for biological or cultural reasons, each stage builds on the previous stage(s). Of course, weaning and potty training come before going to school with its prerequisite of independence from mother. And, of course, sexual maturity takes place before the adult stages.

Number six, young adulthood, (19 to 40 years old), where we find a lover, and start having children, while wrestling with intimacy vs isolation issues.

Number seven, middle adulthood, ages 40 - 60, where we raise children, and learn to enjoy the children leaving as we go through the mjdlife crisis of balancing gererativity with stagnation, while asking "what's the purpose of it all?"

Number eight, late adulthood, 60 - death, is a time of developing ego integrity without too much despair. The conflicts and crisis of this time includes retirement, friends dying, the body not working the way it used to, and asking, "Was it worth it?"

As hypnotherapists, these last three stages are when most of our clients come to us. It's good for us to understand what they are going through, and recognize when the problem started.

Erikson's stages give us a framework through which to understand our clients their problems, and the potential solutions. Since very few clients ever come in with only one problem, it also sheds the light of understanding on the development and interrelationships between the problems.

As we recognize that failure is cumulative, we need to provide for our clients developmental learnings appropriate for the stage in which they started having problems with balancing the outcome of their conflicts and crises.

In what stage did the initial sensitizing event, (ISE), happen, and in what stages did the subsequent sensitizing events, (SSE) happen? How did they affect the client's life in terms of psycho-social development?

A developmentally informed hypnotherapist will honor all appropriate stages via rich sensory motor suggestions, (guided imagery, and play), for stage 1 and 2. Pre-operational suggestions (magical, role play and ritual), for stages 2 and 3, concrete operation suggestions, (Gestault resolution, concretizing symbolic metaphor) for stages 4 and 5, and inner-child work with reparenting throughout.

Using age regression and/or ego state (parts) therapy in conjunction with all of the above techniques, we can assist our clients in both overcoming the immediate problem and developmental learning/educational experiences through which the unconscious acquires the ability to move beyond being stuck. We can also educate the unconscious through metaphor and story telling. Even past-life regression can be an effective method of acquiring developmental learnings. Drawing on Erikson's stages we can hypothesize anticipated personality and behavioral consequences specific to the stage in which a reported trauma occurred. Since all previous stages are still contained with the client, a whole person approach is indicated in order to facilitate developmental balance with client insight.

It should be stated now, that since everybody goes through developmental conflicts and crises, and everybody works through them at one time or another, they are therefore NOT considered a PATHOLOGY; neither medical, nor psychiatric, nor psychological. Family members, neighbors, and friends routinely help people through developmental problems and situations, so a developmental diagnosis is NOT a diagnosis of medical, psychiatric, or psychological pathology. That means when we make a developmental diagnosis, we are NOT practicing either medicine or psychology without a license.

As hypnotherapists let us welcome and embrace the contributions of developmental theorists. They have not only given us a valuable tool to work with, but also a career field that cannot be legislated out of existence.