This technique was developed by Betty Erickson, who was the wife of Dr. Milton Erickson who we all know and love. Although Dr. Erickson’s wife was not a hypnotist per say, she did have an understanding of how our representational systems (visual – auditory – kinesthetic) impacted our world, and the trance state.
This is a great technique that she came up with, that has become very popular. This can be used for releasing stress or any other type of self-hypnosis that you’d like to do.
Before you begin the process and slip into self hypnosis, you may want to set goals for what you wish to have happen, or to go over the suggestions that you wish to circulate when you are in the hypnotic state. When you are ready, follow these steps.
The Betty Erickson Self-Hypnosis Technique
Step 1: Become comfortable
Sit or lay down in a quiet and comfortable place. Relax your mind and body and feel yourself beginning to drift into a state of calm soft relaxation. Let yourself go inside slightly while remaining aware of the outside world and having your eyes open but beginning to become sleepy.
Step 2: Concentrate on something that you are seeing
The shadows moving across the wall, or the unique patterns of the environment can provide something unique for you to see. Notice what you see and become aware of it. Do this three different times, with three different items.
Step 3: Concentrate on something that you are hearing
This could be the sound of your breathing, the wind brushing up against the windows, or the hum of the air conditioner. Find three different things and notice them and let them into your awareness.
Step 4: Concentrate on something that you are feeling
Maybe it’s the movement of your muscles along-side the joints, the space between your shoulder blades, the weight of your feet on the ground, or the heaviness of your body in the chair. Notice three things and become aware of them.
Step 5: Continue with two things, and then one thing
Repeat steps 2-4, and this time see two things, hear two things, and feel two things. Then do the same for one thing.
Step 6: Close your eyes and go inside
Allow yourself to go inwards and become relaxed, and feel yourself drifting ever so slightly. This is a calm peaceful state where you can just let go.
Step 7: Imagine a new or old sight
This could be what you saw beforehand, or it could be something completely new. Imagine something that you can see. Maybe it is a purple elephant, maybe it is a calming blue light, or maybe it is the sight of a boat taking off from the harbor.
Step 8: Imagine a new or old sound
You can either make up a sound or it could be something already known to you. An example is you could hear a sound of an animal in the wild, or of a space ship hovering in outer space, or of soothing rain falling upon a group of leaves.
Step 9: Imagine a new or old feeling
Become aware of something that you had noticed before, or perhaps something that you wish to pay more attention to, for example how your breathing feels as it enters your lungs, and the relaxation around your collarbone as you breathe out.
Step 10: You are now in hypnosis!
In this hypnotic state you can give suggestions to yourself or simply relax and let the suggestions take effect that you had in mind before you began the session. Simply trust that your mind is letting the suggestions circulate – the more that you can let go, the easier it will be for your suggestions to take root inside.
Step 11: Emerge
Tell yourself “As I count from 1 to 5, I will emerge with a great sense of energy and excitement, feeling refreshed and relaxed.” Then count up from 1 to 5, allowing all the time that your body needs to make that true for you.
Have you used the Betty Erickson method of self-hypnosis, or do you have a different version of this that works better for you? Leave a comment!