Utilizing Ericksonian Hypnosis in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Practice

By Zahourek, Rothlyn P. | Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, January-March 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Utilizing Ericksonian Hypnosis in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Practice


Zahourek, Rothlyn P., Perspectives in Psychiatric Care


TOPIC. Ericksonian hypnosis conceptual framework.

PURPOSE. To acquaint psychiatric-mental health nurses with hypnotic principles and how these can be integrated into their practice.

SOURCES. Published literature and author's clinical experience.

CONCLUSIONS. Ericksonian hypnosis offers an array of potential interventions for psychiatric-mental health nurses to integrate into their practices in a framework familiar to nurses: holism, honoring and respecting individuality, and capitalizing on an individual's strengths.

Search terms: Communication, Ericksonian hypnosis, indirect suggestion, psychiatric-mental health nursing practice, suggestion

**********

Clinical hypnosis is a therapeutic tool and not a therapy in itself. Thus, it can be incorporated into nearly any form of therapeutic communication or psychotherapy modality. Clinical hypnosis is a process of observing and co-creating states of consciousness with another person and participating in a relationship in which the purpose is some sort of change for that client. Contrary to how Hollywood might present it in a sci-fi movie, hypnosis is not done to another and is not a manipulative power play. If hypnosis were so powerful, we would have a foolproof method to help people change unwanted behaviors and perceptions. Hypnosis differs from relaxation, imagery, and biofeedback modalities in focusing on how and when suggestions are incorporated into the intervention.

Hypnosis' long legacy in psychiatry really began with Freud in his development of psychoanalytic theory (Zahourek, 2001). Freud's contemporaries used hypnosis successfully to provide surgical anesthesia before the development of chemical anesthesia. Hypnosis was later used in World Wars I and II to "cure" soldiers experiencing "battle fatigue" (post-traumatic stress disorder) so they could return to the front. To date we still do not know exactly what hypnosis is and why it is successful with some and not others. Theories abound, and well-controlled research continues to yield contradictory and confusing results regarding one form of hypnosis being more effective than another (Mathews, 2000). Most clinical practice continues to rely on theory that has been derived from the many published anecdotal case reports rather than on double-blind controlled studies. Researching hypnosis with its many individualistic and uncontrollable variables is similar to researching psychotherapy itself.

Ericksonian hypnosis, developed by psychiatrist Milton Erickson (1901-1980), offers psychiatric nurses a unique opportunity to expand their repertoire of practice. Ericksonian hypnosis is both simple in being an intentional form of communication, and complex in its capacity to help individuals learn self-soothing techniques and to restructure ego defenses and strengths in psychotherapy. The framework is useful for both long-term psychodynamic therapy and for shorter-term, solution-oriented treatment.

Ericksonian psychotherapy can be employed with clients who have various diagnoses including anxiety, phobias, habit disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress. This article explores some of the basic approaches of Ericksonian therapy and offers examples for integrating these into psychotherapy. The focus is on integrating these techniques without formal induction techniques. I hope psychiatric nurses will respond with "aha," stating to themselves, "I already do some of that naturally." A goal subsequently is for nurses to use these tools more intentionally, skillfully, and purposefully in their practice. Further, this approach to psychotherapy and hypnosis draws on a basic psychiatric nursing tenet I was taught in a foundations of nursing class: "All behavior is meaningful, purposeful, and can be understood."

Ericksonian Hypnosis

Milton Erickson, considered the father of American hypnosis, developed his unique brand of hypnosis based on approaches he called naturalistic, utilization, and indirect (Erickson & Rossi, 1979).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Utilizing Ericksonian Hypnosis in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Practice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?