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The Milton Model was co-created by John Grinder and Richard Bandler by modeling the hypnotic techniques of Milton H. Erickson, at that time in his 70's, and recognized as the founder of clinical hypnotherapy. It is considered to be the direct reverse set of the Meta model (NLP). The Milton Model and Metamodel form the base of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
Bandler and Grinder met with Erickson on a regular basis, and modeled his approach and his work over many months. In 1975-1976 they published a first volume set of patterns, Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson Volume I (1975), followed in 1977 by Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson Volume II, which together form the basis of the model, a means to use deliberately imprecise language to enable a person to work at an unconscious or somatic level rather than a cognitive level, to resolve clinical issues more effectively..
The Milton Model lists the key parts of speech and key patterns that are useful in directing another person's line of thinking by being "artfully vague", and in principle the model states that larger chunks (more general use of language) can lead to more rapport, while smaller chunks, (more specific language) is more limiting and has a greater chance of excluding concepts from a person's experience.
The patterns of the Milton Model can be used to
- pace another person's reality to gain rapport.
- access unconscious resources of another person to gather information or to lead them into an altered state.
- distract the conscious mind.
Erickson maintained that it was not possible to consciously instruct the unconscious mind, and that authoritarian suggestions were likely to be met with resistance. The unconscious mind responds to openings, opportunities, metaphors and contradictions. Effective hypnotic suggestion, then, should be 'artfully vague', leaving space for the subject to fill in the gaps with their own unconscious understandings - even if they do not consciously grasp what is happening. The skilled hypnotherapist constructs these gaps of meaning in a way most suited to the individual subject - in a way which is most likely to produce the desired change.
The milton model is purposely vague and metaphoric and is used to soften the meta model and make indirect suggestions. A direct suggestion merely states the goal. For example, "When you are in front of the audience you will not feel nervous". Whereas an indirect suggestion is less authoritative and leave an opportunity for interpretation. For example, "When you are in front of the audience, you might find yourself feeling ever more confident". The preceding example follows the indirect method as both the specific time and level of self-confidence is left unspecified. It might be made even more indirect by saying, "When you come to a decision to speak in public, you may find it appealing how your feelings have changed." The choice of speaking in front of the audience, the exact time, and the likely responses to the whole process are framed but imprecise language give the client the opportunity to fill in the finer details.
- John Grinder & Carmen Bostic St. Clair, (2001) Whispering in the Wind. C&J Enterprises.
- Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1976). Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Volume 1. Cupertino, CA :Meta Publications. ISBN 0-916990-01-X.
- Rothlyn P Zahourek. (2002) Utilizing Ericksonian hypnosis in psychiatric-mental health nursing practice Perspectives in Psychiatric Care. Philadelphia: Jan-Mar 2002. Vol.38, Iss. 1; pg. 15, 8 pgs
- Conscious / Unconscious mind
- Ideomotor effect
- Milton H. Erickson
- Meta model
- Therapeutic metaphor
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