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Ericksonian hypnosis

Ericksonian hypnosis represents a tool whose applications can be therapeutic, but not limited to. From this perspective, as a therapeutic tool, hypnosis is part of a support process.

The reference framework of the accompanying person, that is to say the model on which he is based, is essential: indeed, a model represents the concrete application of a theory. It helps the therapist to organize his thought, his device, his interventions.

Ericksonian hypnosis is part of the current and the humanist model.


It is based on deep listening to the patient as well as on relational harmonization. According to Milton H. Erickson: "Hypnosis is the relationship full of life that takes place in one person and which is brought about by the warmth of another person".

In the service of therapy, it provides access to unconscious resources in the patient's psyche, which will be useful to him in order to set up new strategies for adapting to the environment.

This journey towards the unconscious supposes a state of physical and psychic relaxation, rather deep, which contributes to make sure that the psyche "goes to rest" in a position close to that of sleep (even if the subject is not sleeping) . The logical function of the mind then leaves its place for the imaginative function.

This phenomenon, central in hypnosis, is also natural and inherent in human nature: it is indeed frequent to live in our daily life, experiences during which the bonds of the “classic” conscience are relaxed and give way to a state. different, in which our usual filters no longer work.

The amplified state of consciousness, called hypnotic trance, allows access to a creative flow, going beyond the usual limits and opening the field of possibilities towards new solutions to face the challenges of daily life. For Stephan Gilligan, disciple of Milton Erickson and creator of generative hypnosis, with the  trance  : "It is not a question of falling asleep but rather of awakening towards a type of deeper creative consciousness".

To reach this different state, to enter a trance, the accompanying person relies on induction techniques which make it possible to guide the subject and to welcome the unconscious imaginative and creative work. During the session, the therapeutic work is guided by the therapist, with the help of suggestions, according to the patient's requests as well as the problems identified.

The suggestion is a message whose construction has the vocation and the effect of influencing the interlocutor at the level of his thought, his emotions, his feelings, his motivations and behaviors. It is based on all communication channels and can take a verbal or paraverbal form.

In classical hypnosis, the suggestion is formulated in a direct manner - in order to orient the patient in the direction desired by the practitioner. In Ericksonian hypnosis, the suggestion is expressed indirectly, in order to make an alliance with the unconscious resources of the person being accompanied.

Beyond the hypnotic techniques used, beyond even trance, Milton H. Erickson's approach is a tailor-made practice, dedicated and corresponding to the specific needs of the individual client. From this perspective, it is resolutely process-oriented. It thus aims to determine the psychological processes of the patient, by relying on his internal limits and resources in order to define the therapeutic processes of healing and transformation which will allow the (re) setting in motion.

In this perspective of a singular approach, it should be noted that the fields of application of hypnosis are numerous, like situations and life experiences. In particular, it represents a useful, valuable and effective tool in the following areas:

  • improvement of potentials: strengthening of energy and physical performance, development of concentration, facilitation of learning, memory, stress and emotion management, increased motivation,

  • support for psychosomatic disorders: migraines, asthma attacks, skin problems, disorders related to pleasure, sexuality, stammering, etc.

  • pain management (chronic, acute, post-intervention, etc.) and work on psycho-motor skills (relationship to the body, time, space)

  • sleep disturbances, heart rate, breathing.

  • support for various psychological pathologies: specific neurotic disorders, anxieties, eating disorders, depression, addictions, etc.

In view of the numerous indications relating to the use of hypnosis in the field of support as well as the techniques used and their impact on patients, the practice of hypnosis requires both to have followed a training serious (in hypnosis itself, but also in psychotherapy, psychology, psychopathology), an ethics as well as a rigorous deontological framework.



Hypnosis, as a tool in the service of therapy, is part of a process of support and patient care, the stages of which could be summarized as follows:

  1. Consideration of the therapist's model

  2. Establishment of a support system

  3. Collection of information from the patient

  4. Development of a diagnosis as well as an intervention strategy

  5. Therapeutic intervention

  6. Assessment and potential adjustment

As part of the general process of conducting a coaching session, therapeutic hypnosis is specifically used as a strategic intervention tool.


It is also possible to detail the structure of a hypnosis session as such by proposing the following indicative steps:

  1. Definition of an intervention objective in synergy with the objective of the session and the therapy.

  2. Pre talk: stage during which it is allowed to explain how hypnosis works, sometimes to reassure the patient, to specify the modalities and also to start the session itself with the help of initial suggestions. This important step also gives the opportunity to create the therapeutic alliance with the patient.

  3. Induction: technique allowing entry into trance; the technique used should be appropriate for the patient's process.

  4. Deepening: it is a question here of reaching a level of trance which is sufficient to work and to install the hypnotic state.

  5. Verification of the depth of the trance, in particular by ideomotor signals.

  6. Anchoring a place of serenity

  7. Therapeutic work: heart of the intervention! for Milton H. Erickson, the work is done as close as possible to the patient, taking into account their unique processes. This work can in particular be carried out using suggestions, metaphors, visualization, regression, projection ...

  8. Post-hypnotic suggestions: allow the therapeutic process to be extended beyond the session

  9. Exit from trance: different techniques exist which must be harmonized with the content of the session

  10. Review of the session

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