Professional Books -- Solution-Oriented Hypnosis by W. H. O'Hanlon and M. Martin

By Elkin, Michael | Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, April 1994 | Go to article overview

Professional Books -- Solution-Oriented Hypnosis by W. H. O'Hanlon and M. Martin


Elkin, Michael, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy


O'Hanlon, W. H., & Martin, M. (1992). Solution-oriented hypnosis. New York: W. W. Norton, 209 pp., $22.95.

This book is a nearly verbatim transcript of a 2-day workshop Bill O' Hanlon presented in Miami, and it makes it clear why he is one of the most popular clinical trainers in the world.

Most clinicians, at one time or another, attend a hypnosis workshop, but only a tiny percentage of them ever actually use intentional hypnosis in their practices. O'Hanlon seems determined that the people attending his workshops successfully break the surface tension between the workshop and their practices. His strategies for doing this also clearly model the approach to therapy he is teaching.

O'Hanlon offers the game of hurling as a metaphor for therapy. In hurling, one member of a team slides a weight over ice toward a target, and the other team member runs along with a broom, sweeping the ice in front of the weight, trying to smooth the path to the target. The therapist is the one with the broom.

O'Hanlon is busily sweeping in front of his students, helping them identify their existing style and skills, and offering metaphoric and analogous stories to help link those skills to the tasks of learning hypnosis. He is skillful at creating an atmosphere in which it is safe to make the mistakes necessary to acquiring a new skill. …

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