“Fitting the approach to client involves responding to each individual client’s experience. Getting feedback is at the core of this approach”
I am a long standing fan of Scott Miller and his work. We share an appreciation of the enormous contribution that Milton Erickson made during his long and productive lifetime and of the heritage he left after his death.
Erickson said that to think that there could be one theory that would adequately explain every problem, with all people of all ages, both genders, all ethnic backgrounds in all situations was ridiculous.
He emphasised the importance of respecting the uniqueness of each individual client, and the benefit of focusing our attention on the client and their experience rather than on us and our agenda based on our theoretical frame.
He said that the three most important things for us to learn are to observe, to observe, and to observe – again inviting us to attend to the clients response so we can then adjust what we do as a response to the client’s experience from moment to moment and put aside any particular theory of therapy.
I have developed my own approach based on what I learnt from the time I spent with him towards the end of his life. I like to begin a session by asking a client what they like. This shifts the focus from the problem to a wide perspective as well as creating a mood of normality and resourcefulness.
Once we have explore their likes, we can than explore, together, just what the client wants, what is missing for them that if they could have access to it, they would be able to get on with their life.
Rather than a routine hypnotic “induction”, I prefer to offer an opportunity for each client to become focused and absorbed in the experience that they like, and by encouraging a more textured connection with their experience, they can then find and connect with the part of their experience that they identified as being mission and has the situation be problematic.
During the session I have found it to be so useful to ask about the client’s experience, so we can be coordinated, on the same track. One of my teachers said that if we’re on the wrong train, every station is the wrong station. Asking for feedback throughout the session helps us both to be on the right train.
This almost inevitably leads to a simple, easy and respectful resolution of their problem, but rather than assume that, after they come out of hypnosis, I have found it useful to as about what is different now compared with how we began.
After my learning with Erickson, I am increasingly impressed with the importance of responding to each individual client’s experience – as we begin, throughout the hypnosis, and after. Getting feedback is at the core of this approach.
My personal preference is to ask for feedback in a conversational, moment to moment way, which can lead to a lively interactive dance from beginning to end. I do not use SRS or ORS in my approach, but many of my students do, with palpable benefits, and I actively encourage them.
That’s why I continue to be a fan of Scott’s and his encouraging people to use his FIT tools, even though I don’t use them!
Dr. Robert McNeilly founded the CET in l988 to introduce Ericksonian Hypnosis and the Solution Oriented Approach to hypnosis, counselling and coaching in Australia. To know more about Rob McNeilly, click here