Last updated: 5 March 2018
You’re about to discover what made Milton Erickson the modern day legend that he is. But first thing’s first, let’s bring you up to speed. Before we dive into Erickson’s magic… we’ve got a rather unusual story to tell you about Erickson. Buckle up, because it’s a trip.
Legend has it that a college professor helped two misfit college students take the mental health world by storm.
Anthropologist Gregory Bateson was secretly peering into the work Richard Bandler and John Grinder were doing with a few top notch therapists. He grew curious as to how they were able to repeat seemingly impossible therapeutic miracles with people… with little to no training.
What was going on? Were they geniuses? Nope. Not by a long shot.
While they were not geniuses, they were really good at one particular skill.
And what was this skill?
They were top notch at uncovering what made someone an expert in their field.
Bandler and Grinder studied the best and brightest counselors and therapists at the time. We’re not talking about just anybody. We’re talking about the legends – Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir, Gregory Bateson, etc.
It’s even been rumored that Bandler came out of this project speaking and acting like Fritz Perls.
Soon Bandler and Grinder were studying a few therapists that seemed to rise above everyone else in their fields. And not long after they developed the Meta Model… a tool to help narrow in on a client’s true problems at hand.
Richard Bandler and John Grinder thought they had cracked the code with the Meta Model.
That was until their mentor, Gregory Bateson, introduced them to Milton H. Erickson… the grandfather of modern hypnotherapy. If it wasn’t for this chance meeting, the Milton Model wouldn’t exist.
Erickson had a reputation for having an almost magical way of speaking with his clients. It’s as if his words were rich with a magical tapestry.
It wasn’t until they had the chance to watch and observe Milton work his verbal magic that they discovered his “secret sauce.”
It was at this point they were able to extract the golden nuggets from Milton’s language…
What Is The Milton Model?
Simply put – the Milton model is the hidden magic that fueled near all of Erickson’s hypnotic interventions.
It’s a set of linguistic patterns to guide people into a hypnotic trance. And to help them overcome their problems at the same time.
Now for the kicker that may surprise you:
Milton Erickson didn’t even know what he was doing!
Let us explain – listen carefully. Erickson knew how to trust his unconscious to guide people into trance.
And even to help them to overcome their deepest emotional struggles… but he wasn’t aware of how he was doing it.
That is until Bandler and Grinder stumbled into his world. After a period of some time, they successfully modeled Erickson’s rich and vibrant language patterns.
Fast forward to today…
Here’s what it means for you – you’re about to receive a succinct breakdown of what Erickson initially, and unknowingly, formulated.
When you master the Milton Model, you’ll be able to work directly with your subject’s unconscious.
So let’s get this show on the road!
There are 15 Milton Model language patterns, which deserve their own mini-book if we’re going to get down to the nitty gritty details of each.
But to get a brief breakdown of what these famous language patterns are, keep reading!
1. Cause And Effect
One thing will cause another thing to happen. It’s linking two things together.
“Breathing in and out will cause you to feel more relaxed.”
NOTE: The word because can lead to a cause and effect.
“Because you’re breathing in and out you can relax more deeply now.”
2. Complex Equivalent
One thing means another thing.
“The fact that you’re reading this article means you’re learning these patterns at a deep level.”
3. Mind Reading
When you state something you don’t know is absolutely true. Done well, it appears as if you’re reading someone’s mind. We’ll give you an example to prove this point…
“You might be wondering…ok what’s next?”
“I know that you’re eager to learn these language patterns.”
4. Lost Performative
A value judgement where you’ve lost the performer. You don’t know who’s made the value judgement. Ever have a gut reaction of: “Says who?” Good chance you’ve come across a lost performative.
“Boys will be boys” vs. “My friends mom said boys will be boys”
“Relaxation is good for you” vs. “My yoga teacher said relaxation is good for you.”
“Hypnosis is great for your mind” vs “Igor said hypnosis is great for your mind.”
“You can relax deeply when you close your eyes” vs. “My therapist said you can relax deeply when you close your eyes.”
“I can’t lose weight!” vs. “My mom told me I can’t lose weight!”
5. Modal Operators
There are two modal operators. Necessity and possibility.
Necessity – words you can use are must, need, should, have to and shouldn’t.
- “I have to win”
- “You need to close your eyes to relax deeply”
- “You have to want to quit smoking for hypnosis to work”
- “You need to master these language patterns to become more influential”
Possibility – words you can use are can, might, could, can’t and won’t.
- “You can’t resist going into trance”
- “You can allow yourself to drift deeper into trance, can’t you?”
- “You might be able to see a bright future ahead of you”
- “You can become more influential if you master these language patterns”
6. Universal Quantifier
A strong generalization that is always true or never true. There’s no middle ground. Words to use are never, everyone, nobody and always.
- “I can never do anything right!”
- “I always mess up!”
- “Everyone can go into trance!”
- “Nobody can resist relaxing deeply when the right conditions are met!”
- “You can enjoy this relaxation”
- “You might notice your depression melting away”
- “You’ll enjoy this comfort filling up your body”
And next…we’ve got…
8. Unspecified Verb
A verb that isn’t properly described. You don’t tell people how.
“Close your eyes and relax.”
“You can close your eyes and relax.”
“You can become amazed at your positive changes.”
9. Tag Question
A tag question helps to weaken and soften resistance. These are commonly used in sales.
“You want to master language patterns, don’t you?”
“You can imagine using tag questions, can’t you?”
“You’re getting a better grasp on language patterns, aren’t you?”
“You’re going to finish this article, aren’t you?”
10. Lack of Referential Index
A statement that fails to identify a part of the listener’s experience.
Example: “A person can go into trance.”
11. Comparative Deletion
This is a verbal deletion of what one thing is being compared to. There isn’t a specific reference to what or whom is being deleted.
“You’ll enjoy drifting deeper into trance.” Which begs the question – deeper or more than what?
“This is better direction to move in life.” Better than what direction?
12. Pace Current Experience
This is simply stating what is happening in someone’s current experience. NOTE: You’re not guessing what’s happening. You’re only mentioning/saying what’s verifiable.
Let’s explain this with an example.
“You’ve been reading this article on the Hypnosis Training Academy blog. You’ve either read the entire article up to this point or you’ve skimmed it a bit… and you’ve just read about pacing statements… perhaps you can imagine using pacing statements in the future, can you not?”
If you look over that again, you’ll notice a pattern. There were 3 verifiable statements. It was then followed up with a statement of possibility.
Pacing statements help to “grease the track.” Which is just another way of saying they move the conversation down the path of least resistance. You’re getting an unconscious yes with each verifiable statement. When you follow them up with a mind read it’s more easily accepted as true.
Perhaps you want another example.
“You’ve been reading about the milton model patterns (yes). You’ve made it to this section about pacing statements (yes). You can feel the temperature of the air on your skin (yes). And you might be wondering whats next? (yeah I guess you’re right).
13. Double Bind
A double bind is an illusion of choice. Two or more possibilities lead to the same outcome.
These are very common in a sales situation.
“Do you want to pay with cash or credit card?”
“Do you want to sign the paperwork out here or in my office?”
“Do you want to sit in the trance chair or the hypnosis chair?”
“Do you want to go into trance quickly or slowly?”
Take New Hampshire’s State Motto for example – “Live Free Or Die!”
14. Embedded Commands
An embedded command is a verbal command that sticks out like a sore thumb to your unconscious. What’s the purpose? To seed a particular idea in your client’s unconscious mind.
Let’s stop here for a second. These are truly some of the most misunderstood aspects of Hypnotic language. Some people treat them like a “one and done”.
Here’s where most people get tripped up. Using one embedded command will not have as strong as an effect as a series of embedded commands.
It’s more of a pattern for your unconscious to follow. The more you embed commands the more your client’s unconscious will take notice. It’ll see these as a separate message.
Thats a long winded explanation. Here’s the short and thick of it:
“You’ll be able to go into a trance when your unconscious drifts off…I’m not sure how deep you will drift into trance…or if you’ll even notice a shift in your breathing…and as you continue to listen to the sound of my voice you can become more relaxed…”
After a while of hearing these commands your unconscious would catch on and pay close attention. It would start to follow these suggestions.
When using embedded commands it can help by using a downward inflection.
15. Conversational Postulate
These are a command disguised as a question. Its requesting an action while asking a question. Unconsciously you answer yes. As soon as you’re answering yes, you’re already completing the action. As with embedded commands a downwards inflection can make these even more powerful.
“Can you open the door?”
“Can you go into a trance now?”
“Do you have the time?”
“Can you get the phone?”
“Can you get the door?”
“Can you imagine all of the possibilities?”
Let’s have a quick recap:
You’ve read all or some of the information in this article. We’ve got examples of the various patterns you might have read. And you might have been exposed to some new information on language patterns. Maybe you want to leave a comment below using some of the patterns you’ve just read, which means you’re getting a deeper understanding…