Dr. Illig on Hypnotic Learning
How did Dr. Illig develop an interest in unconscious/subconscious process?
Some of my earliest graduate studies involved how our thinking (self-talk) influences both our behavior and feelings. As my work with clients developed, I began to realize that much of the thinking and images that influenced people were not actually in “conscious” awareness. These words, pictures, images, thinking, self-talk, rules, conclusions, memories, etc. etc., were actually operating out of conscious awareness. They were occurring at an “unconscious” level. Imagine that the human brain is like 100 operating computers. But only ten have screens so that you can see what they are doing and what they are having an impact on. But all of the computers are operating and sending output into the system. The computers without visible screens are strongly influencing people regardless of what is in awareness. Hypnosis was a means of observing and influencing what was occurring at both the conscious and unconscious level. That drew me to it as a viable tool. It is both a suggestion to the client and the therapist that there are both conscious and unconscious/subconscious minds there, and that we need to make use of them all and be aware of them all.
Self-hypnosis was a means by which people could address their own inner minds. Thus began years of study into the various schools of hypnosis and study with a great number of master teachers. Milton Erickson, M.D., considered by many to be the most influential teacher in clinical hypnosis, was a very significant influence on my approach and view of hypnosis and hypnotic technique. Dr. Erickson found that all humans are able to use hypnosis if the format is very flexible and adaptable to the individual. The concept of “indirect” hypnosis rather than directive or authoritative hypnosis makes hypnosis a viable tool for almost everyone. “Stage” hypnosis is usually a very direct method which, although exciting and interesting, only works for a small percentage of people. This is the “Look into my eyes you are getting sleepy” version. And those people on stage are only doing what they want to do.
Dr. Erickson found that metaphors and stories that send the human brain/mind off to search for solutions and approaches that work for that individual work much better. He became famous for his teaching stories that worked on many levels, the surface level and many levels of unconscious underneath. I have has used the teachings of Milton Erickson and many of his peers and colleagues to create hypnosis patterns that allow the listener’s brain to both learn and search for new solutions, old solutions, and healthy solutions. These are solutions that work for the individual in their own special way. We might not even know exactly what a person is doing that works, only that it works. The person themselves most likely won’t know how their own unconscious is doing it. Only that it is. The teaching stories in these programs have been very effective for many people who failed with other methods. Part of the reason for this is the built-in flexibility.
The teaching stories and metaphors in the SuccessWorld programs allow each listener’s brain to find pathways to change without feeling like they are being ordered or commanded to do something in only one way. Direct orders are somewhat likely to bring out resistance rather than change. More “permissive” suggestions will be listened, considered, and more likely followed by the unconscious. “You may wonder how your brain accomplished that success…..” will be more effective than: “You will do it this way…..”
There are also many levels of meaning that talk to both conscious and unconscious levels of the listeners mind. The programs also call upon all of the healthy resources that a person has access to, even when they’re unaware of them. These might include mind, body, spiritual aspects or even other healthy resources. Whatever is healthy and healing.
The SuccessWorld hypnosis programs do give guidance to the brain/mind of the listener to seek out and use only healthy healing patterns and to let go of old unhealthy patterns. The suggestions do create boundaries that attempt to keep a person within safe areas. For example, the weight loss programs have multiple suggestions that won’t allow the listener to lose weight to the point of being unhealthily thin. Healthy thin is ok. Sickly thin is not ok. Underweight persons’ would not lose weight, they most likely would gain weight to reach their “healthy” weight.