Ok, so let me answer that question that is the title of todays shorter blog entry… Do we need indirect language patterns in hypnotherapy?


Nope. We don’t.

Ideally, in the fields of NLP and modern hypnotherapy, we’d like to help simplify communication, yet there seems to be this insistent proliferation of budding hypnotists being told that they must learn complex language patterns… Mainly born out of the work of Milton Erickson and bastardised by the fields of NLP, indirect hypnosis and their proponents.

If you are after good, thorough results in therapy with your hypnotherapy clients, it is not essential to have your brain cluttered with any seeming need to be able to rattle off complex language patterns.

It is a nice skill to have, and having a great understanding of how successful hypnotherapists (I am talking about Erickson) communicated is nothing to be sniffed at. I certainly study Ericksonian language patterns, I teach them and think they are useful for being persuasive, enhancing the confidence of the hypnotherapist using them well, and can be used more with particular types of clients… Particularly resistant clients.

That said, there are many other things you can do to educate the client sufficiently and develop rapport prior to the hypnotherapy intervention to overcome any such resistance.

So just because someone is able to rattle off indirect language patterns that inspire awe in their students, such language usage is not indicative of successful therapeutic results. It just isn’t.

If you have some empirical data that demonstrates the accelerated efficacy of hypnotherapy when indirect hypnosis language patterns are used, then forward it on to me, I am more than happy to review and change my mind if the evidence is there.

In the absence of that though, I’ll leave you with the findings of Lynn, Neufeld and Mare (1993) cited in Direct versus indirect suggestions: A conceptual and methodological review in The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 12(2), 124-152.

“Direct, traditionally worded hypnotic techniques appear to be just as effective as permissive, open-ended, indirect suggestions.”

There, I said it. I’ll await the usual batch of disagreeing emails loaded with logical fallacies… 😉