Some fundamental differences between hypnosis used in Einophony/Einotherapy and Milton Erickson’s practice

Focus, by Bernard Sensfelder

Translated by Mylene Mathieu

In an interview about how to merge the Breath-Voice practice with hypnosis, a question came up at some point about the different approaches between hypnosis in Einophony and in Erickson’s practice. Bernard Sensfelder will develop his point of view below, explaining to what extent they differ.

We have nothing to do [in Einotherapy and Einophony] with, for example, the most widely spread style of hypnosis called Ericksonian hypnosis. What are the fundamental differences? Milton Erickson is a great man of hypnotherapy, he is American, and he is really into solving problems. A fascinating concept of his is that there is no such thing as a universal approach, which would be valid for anyone. Rather, a new therapy has to be created for every people. As a result, Erickson was practicing a different therapy for each people he was taking care of. And as such, he was particularly brilliant, that way of thinking is really inspiring.

With this notion of “ no universal method “, he was far from creating a “school” or a general script of hypnotherapy. Therefore, the notion of “Ericksonian hypnosis” is absurd. Milton Erickson initiated the idea to constantly adapt to the environment, including people around. I personally think that he was actually trying his best to fix the characters, and in that field he was a genius. But by doing so, he was also into action, by “doing”, “making”.

Generally speaking, he would use any means to satisfy the patient’s request.

At that point, our views differ on three points:

First, the fact that there is a request doesn’t mean it is right to satisfy it. Indeed, most of the time the request comes from the character [check out the difference between the person and the character here]. It is often a way to actually strengthen the character, thus strengthening the fears and guilts that created it. It is a request about changing one’s behavior. There is no clue about whether this change will be good for the person, it might even debilitate them. Who are we to decide on that?

Psychologists will say they let what they call the unconscious mind decide, but they forget that they are working on behavioral strategies and not on the fundamental causes of those behaviors. So, I am not satisfying people’s requests, rather I try to reveal what is underlying their requests, and prepare the conditions for a possible advent of the person. The initial request will become obsolete when breaking through the character and revealing the person.

The second difference is about Erickson saying: as long as the goal is respectable, one can use any means to achieve it. I don’t think so, I think that the means used should all fit within a rigorous ethical framework. As such, I reject any form of manipulation or taking control over other people. Even if it might seem easier and quicker to reach the desired result. I am seeking to establish a set up and not perform an action. In that way, the patient keeps a kind of control over what happens as long as it is necessary. Of course, at no time is there manipulation, rather there is a sharp awareness of each other’s influence, because of the present relationship.

The third one is related to the importance of doing, in order to help people, which is very significant in Erickson’s practice. The basic principle Roustang developed is the very opposite, however keeping the idea of people’s uniqueness – so the intuitive and creative aspects of a tailor-made hypnosis. Except that, in this case, it is about removing the character to let the person reveal. According to Roustang, and through Einotherapy, the basic notion is “non-action” to allow the Body, the person, to let something happen. As such, the therapist is only there to make sure that nothing happens through intention, and that everything happens without taking action. He himself has to be in such a state that encourages opening, letting room for the Self to manifest and, ultimately, fully embody, breaking free from constraints. And all that, without doing anything, meaning that things will happen by themselves, spontaneously, because everything was set right for it to happen.

To conclude, Einophony uses a very specific kind of hypnosis, which has nothing to do with what we see on the media. We let the body deal with things by itself, and everything that is related to the mind, imagination, behavior, we do not take care about.