Trance-formations: Neurolinguistic Programming and the Structure of Hypnosis Paperback – 1 Nov 1981
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Almost like new condition, just minor wear and a little foxing at the books edges
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A particularly useful insight for me that underlies the left-right brain distinction is that conscious reasoning has meaning and an unconscious response has purpose; figuring this out is the difference between conscious discernment and habitual function that at some time in another situation had worthwhile meaning. The understanding here is that you can vary your behaviour to provide a context the client can respond to appropriately rather than elicit resistance since “there is no resistance, only incompetent therapists.” Therefore the art and effectiveness of becoming’ or ‘beginning’ (in the progressive present tense) a trance practitioner is learning to see how someone is responding using sensory grounded acuity in order to process and not delve into the content: “If the response you get isn’t the one you wanted that does not make it a mistake, it just makes it the next step in getting the response you want.” Kaizen or incremental changes rather than remedial fixes easily spring to mind.
An intriguing concept that works in tandem with trance is reframing (published by the authors as a subject worthy of further discussion the following year). Reframing assumes you firstly accept the presented behaviour and then try and find a way to put it in a constructive (often larger) frame. For example, “the negative experiences in our past often form the foundation for the very powerful resources that we have in the present, when seen, heard and felt in new way.” Reframing secondary gain for instance was something I found particularly useful in helping to reach upstream solutions rather than working on the presented symptoms. This is mostly done by separating the positive function from the behaviour (outcome).
A typical structured approach to reframing as a methodology for personal change is to know (K) what outcome you want; then find (F) out what you are getting by having the sensory experience to know when you’ve got the response you aren’t getting; and have the behavioural flexibility to change (C) what you are doing to get the outcome. Over the years I have come across many variations of the same set of steps and it was interesting to uncover them again over 40 years ago.
Finally it is stated there’s nothing you can do with a person in trance you can’t do with a person out of trance though only those skilled enough in hypnosis have the required sensitivity, speed and flexibility to perform trance in the waking state. This is done by “slowing down [amplifying] the person enough so that the practitioner can keep track of what’s happening and stabilise states long enough to be able to do something systematically.” Erickson understood the effect of time distortion and it was commented upon that he was surrounded by a number of clocks in his study that only he could easily observe.
Trance-formations could be regarded as the mythical Patterns 3 mentioned in Patterns 2, and though the most recent Bandler rewrite called a Guide to Trance-formation (2008) carries the same title in a more accessible style, the plural version captures word for word the seminar experience of trance’s ‘formations’ which is still a rather riveting read it must be said.