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THE CONFUSION TECHNIQUE Milton's Confusion Technique as printed in "The Collected Papers", Volume I pgs.

258, 259 It is primarily a verbal technique, although pantomime can be used for confusional purposes as well as for communication. As a verbal technique, the Confusion Technique is based upon plays upon words, an involved example of which can be readily understood by the reader but not by the listener, such as "Write right right, not wright or write." Spoken to attentive listeners with complete earnestness, a burden of constructing a meaning is placed upon them, and before they can reject it, another statement can be made to hold their attention. This play on words can be illustrated in another fashion by the statement that a man lost his left hand in an accident and thus his right (hand) is his left. Thus two words with opposite meanings are used correctly to describe a single object, in this instance the remaining hand. Then, too. Use is made of tenses to keep the subject in a state of constant endeavor to sort out the intended meaning. For example one may declare so easily that the PRESENT and the PAST can be so readily summarized by the simple statement, "That which now IS WILL soon be WAS yesterday's FUTURE even as it WILL BE tomorrow's WAS." Thus are the past, the present, and the future all used in reference to the reality of "today". The next item in the Confusion Technique is the employment of irrelevancies and non sequiturs, EACH OF WHICH TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT appears to be a sound and sensible communication. Taken IN CONTEXT they are confusing, distracting, and inhibiting and lead progressively to the subjects' earnest desire for an actual need to receive some communication which, in their increasing state of frustration, they can readily comprehend and to which they can easily make a response. It is in many ways an adaptation of common everyday behavior, particularly seen in the field of humor, a form of humor this author has employed since childhood. A primary consideration in the use of a Confusion Technique is the consistent maintenance of a general casual but definitely interested attitude and speaking in a gravely earnest, intent manner expressive of a certain, utterly complete expectation of their understanding of what is being said or done together with an extremely careful shifting of tenses employed. Also of great importance is a ready flow of language, rapid for the fast thinker, slower for the slower minded, but always being careful to give a little time for a response but never quite sufficient. Thus the subjects are led almost to begin a response, are frustrated in this by then being presented with the next idea, and the whole process is repeated with a continued development of a state of inhibition, leading to confusion and a growing need to receive a clear-cut, comprehensible communication to

which they CAN MAKE a ready and full response. VALUE OF CONFUSION TECHNIQUES Amongst my learnings of hypnosis and NLP, two of the most powerful tools I have found available would be "anchors, and the art of controlled confusion. Our membership seems to be most interested in "Covert Methods" of hypnosis. To even begin hypnosis in a covert manner both of these two skills MUST be mastered. What makes these two skills so powerful is the fact they they drive a person "INSIDE" on a "transdiravational search". Remember that term "Transdiravational Search". What is a transdiravational search, it is a search for meaning, which can be interrupted by the operator (hypnotist) with whatever you choose. Anchors are one of the most useful and easiest tools for causing these searches, and the confusion technique is another. This transdiravational search is an automatic trance, it is the basis of the famous "Handshake Technique", and once understood, the hypnotist can learn how to utilize its function. You cannot have Covert hypnosis without it, and with it your possibilities of bringing on profound trances jumps trough the sky. I will be writing much about anchors and the confusion technique with its many varieties throughout the upcoming months. Feel free to play with your friends, but be careful and don't get to carried away. The following is an excerpt from Milton Erickson's "The Nature of Hypnosis" Volume One of the Collected Papers. The values of the confusion technique are twofold. In experimental work it serves excellently to teach experimenter's a facility in the use of words, a mental agility in shifting their habitual patterns of thought, and allows them to make adequate allowances for the problems involved in keeping the subjects attentive and responsive. Also it allows experimentors to learn to recognize and to understand the minimal cues of behavioral changes within the subject. A final value is that long and frequent use of the confusion technique has many times effected exceedinly rapid hypnotic inductions under unfavourable conditions such as acute pain of terminal malignant disease and in persons interested but hostile, aggresive, and resistant. The following was used by Milton on two separate accounts with different patients. Capitalized words were originally printed in italics indicating tonal markings. The approach was: "You KNOW AND I KNOW and the doctors you KNOW KNOW that there is ONE ANSWER that you KNOW that you don't want to KNOW and that I KNOW but don't want to KNOW, that your family KNOWS but doesn't want to KNOW, NO matter how much you want to say NO, you KNOW that the NO is really a YES, and you wish it could be a good YES and so do you KNOW that what you and your family KNOW is YES, yet they still wish it were NO. And just as you wish there were NO PAIN, you KNOW that there is BUT WHAT you DON'T KNOW is NO PAIN is something YOU CAN KNOW. And no matter what you KNEW NO PAIN would be better than what you KNOW and of course WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW is NO PAIN and that is WHAT you are GOING TO KNOW, NO PAIN. [All of this is said slowly but with utter intensity and with seemingly total disregard of any interruption of cries of pain or admonitions of

"Shut up".] Esther [John, Dick, Harry, or Evangeline, some family member or friend] KNOWS pain and KNOWS NO PAIN and so do you wish to KNOW NO PAIN but COMFORT and you DO KNOW COMFORT and NO PAIN and as COMFORT INCREASES you KNOW that YOU CANNOT say NO TO EASE AND COMFORT but YOU CAN say NO PAIN and KNOW NO PAIN but YOU CAN say NO PAIN and KNOW NO PAIN but KNOW COMFORT AND EASE and it is SO GOOD to KNOW COMFORT AND EASE AND RELAXATION and to KNOW IT NOW AND LATER and STILL LONGER AND LONGER AS MORE AND MORE RELAXATION occurs and to KNOW IT NOW AND LATER and STILL LONGER AND LONGER AS MORE AND MORE AND MORE RELAXATION AND WONDERMENT AND SURPRISE COME TO YOUR MIND AS YOU BEGIN TO KNOW A FREEDOM AND A COMFORT YOU HAVE SO GREATLY DESIRED AND AS YOU FEEL IT GROW AND GROW YOU KNOW, REALLY KNOW, that TODAY, TO-NIGHT, TOMORROW, ALL NEXT WEEK AND ALL NEXT MONTH, and at Esther's [John's] 16th birthday, and what a time that was, and those WONDERFUL FEELINGS that you had then seem almost as clear AS IF THEY WERE TODAY and the MEMORY OF EVERY GOOD THING is a glorious thing " (IF YOU THINK THAT WAS TOUGH, YOU SHOULD TRY RE-TYPING IT WITH ONE FINGER) One can improvise indefinitely, but the slow, impressing, utterly intense, and quietly, softly emphatic way in which these plays on words and the unobtrusive introduction of new ideas, old happy memories, feelings of comfort, ease, and relaxation as presented usually results in an arrest of patient's attention, rigid fixation of the eyes, the development of physical immobility, even catalepsy and of an intense desire to understand what the author so gravely and so earnestly is saying to them that their attention is sooner or later captured completely. Then with equal care the operator demonstrates a complete loss of fear, concern, of worry about negative words by introducing them as if to explain but actually to make further helpful suggestions. Once the patients begin to develop a light trance, I speed the process more rapidly by jumping steps, yet retaining my right to mention pain so that patients know that I do now fear to name it and that I am utterly confident that they will lose it because of my ease and freedom in naming it, usually in a context negating pain in favor of absence of diminution or transformation of pain. Then one should bear in mind that these patients are highly motivated, that their disinterest, antagonism, belligerence, and disbelief are actually allies in bringing about the eventful results, nor does this author ever hesitate to utilize what is offered. The angry, belligerent man can strike a blow that hurts his head and not notice it, the disbeliever closes his mind to exclude a boring dissertation, but that excludes the pain to, and from this there develops unwittingly in the patients a different state of inner orientation, highly conducive to hypnosis and receptive to any suggestion that meets their needs; sensibly one always inserts the suggestion that if ever the pain should come back enough to need medication, the relief from one or two tablets of aspirin will be sufficient. "And if any real emergency ever develops, a hypo will work far greater success than ever." Sometimes sterile water will suffice. Unfortunately this most amazing series of books "The Collected Papers of", seem to no

longer be in print, but you might be able to order a used copy through the link below. HYPERLINK "" I just checked amazon and presently they say that they Vol. 2, and Vol. 3. It is really sad but other book dealers I checked with say that The collection Volumes 1, 2, 3 & 4, are all out of print, so who knows how many of volumes 2,&3 amazon has left, but it doesn't surprise me that Volumes 1, & 4 are out of stock because they are the best of the series. It is a real shame that these books are off the market because they are the treasure of treasures when it comes to hypnosis books. Almost everything we know today comes from these four books, and if you can get yourself copies they are invaluable and worth whatever it takes to get them. I'll provide the old links to the books below in cosecutive order for anyone who wishes to check about ordering. All the pages also have connections for ordering used copies as they come up. Good luck. Volume 1: HYPERLINK "" Volume 2: HYPERLINK "" Volume 3: HYPERLINK "" Volume 4: HYPERLINK "" THE BIRTH OF ERICKSONS CONFUSION TECHNIQUE One windy day as I was on my way to attend that first formal seminar on hypnosis conducted by Clark Hull in 1923, a man came rushing around the corner of a building and bumped hard against me as I stood bracing myself against the wind. Before he could

recover his poise to speak to me, I glanced elaborately at my watch and courteously, as if he had inquired the time of day, I stated "It's exactly 10 minutes of two," although it was actually closer to 4:00pm, and I walked on. About a half a block away I turned and saw him still looking at me, undoubtedly still puzzled and bewildered by my remark. I continued on my way to the laboratory and began to puzzle over the total situation and to recall various times I had made similar remarks to my classmates, and acquaintances and the resulting confusion, bewilderment, and feeling of mental eagerness on their part for some comprehensible understanding. Particularly did I recall the occasion on which my physics laboratory mate had told his friends that he intended to do the second(and interesting) part of a coming experiment. I learned of this, and when we collected our experimental material and apparatus and were dividing it up into two separate piles, I told him at the crucial moment quietly but with great intensity, "THAT SPARROW REALLY FLEW TO THE RIGHT, THEN SUDDENLY FLEW LEFT, AND THEN UP, AND I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THAT." While he stared blankly at me, I took the equipment for the second part of the experiment and set busily to work with the equipment for the first part of the experiment. Not until the experiment was nearly completed did he break the customary silence that characterized our working together. He asked, "How come I'm doing this part? I wanted to do that part." To this I replied simply, "It just seemed to work out naturally this way." "Don't you just love this man. MY HERO" The above clip from history can be found in Milton Erickson's Collected Papers-Volume I. Thanks for the great explanation of the confusion technique. Just one little question, do you have to wait for a critical moment to start confusing your subject or is it OK ANYTIME to use the technique. by critical moment, I mean is there a special combination of the enviroment, the subject's own mentality and all the surround circustances that would make the confusion more easily achieved? I'm glad you are enjoying this. There is alot to the principles of the confusion technique, and to simplify it to greatly would limit the possibilities. The critical moment you question about, can be either created or you can wait for it. I will be writing extensively on the principles of confusion, and what one should realize is that it all ties into anchors. Everything in life is an anchor, or a relation to some previous experience whether it be words or actual happenings, and even the happenings become broken down. What happens in life all of your learnings build upon each other creating to your understanding due to a previous experience. In NLP, we say that your learnings take on what is termed a 4-tuple of meaning. That is you have a verbal, kinesthetic, auditory, and a visual association to everything. By noticing which of these is in the background, that is the subconscious part of your subject, while they are paying attention to their conscious element of the information presented, one can interrupt the pattern causing a need from the subject to continue with

something. We require understandings, to continue our communication, otherwise we turn inside on a trancediravational search for meaning. During this search the operator can input anything that seems somewhat sensible and the subconsiuos accepts it due to the need for understanding. Example. You ask a child to ckose her eyes and begin to watch her favorite show from beginning to end. As the child begins to watch her show, she is consciously aware of her visual identity. As she is viewing you gently raise her arm and say, "your arm will lower only as quickly as it takes you to watch your show thourly and enjoyably". Now the child is not paying attention to her arm because her kinesthetics are out of her consious awareness, so her arm has become catalyptic, and her subconsious is controlling it due to your direction. As her arm begins to lower you can stop it. This will cause her show to stop, until the movement continues because her memories require the entire 4-tuple to continue. At this point you whisper some kind of direction for later which goes straught through the the consious to the subconsious kind of like a commercail. Then as soon as you let go of the arm the show commences until the end. What kind of fun can we have with this? Can you amagine the havic you can cause with your friends kids if you werte to babysit. Anyhow there you have it, in a nutshell. What matters is that what is expected becomes interrupted through an out of consious point of awareness, then you provide anything reasonable such as "that right, you can now close your eyes as you sit in that chair, there, and go into a deep trance now". OVERLOAD There are many ways of producing confusion in order to depotentiate a clients conscious mind. The handshake technique is a classic, disorientation is another method, or one can use overload with a rapid pacing involved. The induction below comes from Roger Allen's "Scripts and Strategies in Hypnotherapy Volume II", and a link to the book will be listed below. An induction for those clients who are extremely analytical, rigidly controlled. Now I know how difficult it can seem to someone with your intelligence to recognize that it can make a pleasant change for me to have the privilege to work with someone of your intellectual ability instead of some who come HERE and sit in that relaxation chair THERE and even they with their eyes closed can be so small minded always appearing mad at the world and never giving a moment for themselves to relax Those are the ones who just feel that they have no need at all to listen to what is said or not said putting values that have no place HERE no value THERE as they refuse to learn anything that will help them to see the world in a different light that will allow them to care that they can care for themselves and be comfortable too It is so comforting too .. to know that you have capacity to use

your ability in that way to learn and to accept that it can be such a relaxing experience to allow that drifting into a trance to occur without concerning yourself as you try to be aware of al that is said the exact meaning of all the words and of all those events that occur in your own thoughts or awareness You can know too that you can choose to forge to choose to pay that attention to all that happens HERE in your experience or not THERE or what changes or stays the same and what about that man who set out to travel to a place where he needed to be? He knew that he had been told the right way to go keep to the left for the first part that's right so easy at first and then take that turn to the right that's right not the left because what is right is to take a right then what is left cannot be right until the turn that is next that is left the turn to the left what will be right that takes him straight to the next turn that is right and if that turn is right then he would be turning left onto the right road and then all that was left was to relax and be totally unconcerned because all that was left to do now was to continue right on down that road that went up the hill to the right of the white house on the left and then go right and then left to be absolutely right It really can seem to be too much effort at times to be so concerned about what is right that can best be left to those who need to know that which may turn out to be that or perhaps something else entirely which could be right too if that was all that was left And I know that you will be only too pleased to remember that . when you consider that so many things can be the same but different too like one and one are two which can be also too and then two and two are four but then what for if not to relax and begin to recognize that you really do not know what is no HERE and yes THERE where to go to where you can let go and allow those things to occur in their own time as you let go while holding on to that new recognition that what you know is that which is that there is nothing that you require to do or not do as your ability allows you to be totally relaxed and comfortable as you recognize that which I say can mean so many different things It can be so easy to accept all those things and to be completely comfortable and relaxed with all that is so right and be left with that train of thought that could allow you to stay on track and recognize that too was not worth the effort that takes so much effort as you try to remember so many things and to understand NO need for understanding The conscious of your mind can do anything go any place it wishes to without that need at all for you to be so concerned that your subconscious is concerned to her all that is important to you as you continue to listen to the sound of my voice that drifts down with you now into that calm drifting drifting of thoughts and of experience too that can go so slow so quickly now as that relaxation that is yours becomes more and more as you can allow the subconscious of your mind to take too the responsibility for guiding your thoughts and your experience into a quiet calmness that follows when dreams can be turning within as the wheel turns and the world turns all on its own nothing at all for you to do or be concerned with at all as you drift effortlessly down into that drifting place where nothing is left but only what is right for you to where your own inner mind waits too with those wisdoms that are yours and those things needed too.

THE MAGIC NUMBER 7+2 Short-term memory (STM) is limited in the number of items it can hold. The small capacity of STM was pointed out by George Miller in a famous paper called "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information". Miller noticed that people could recall only about seven items in tasks that required them to remember unfamiliar material. The common thread in these tasks, Miller argued, was that they required the use of STM. When short-term memory is filled to capacity, the insertion of new information often displaces some of the information currently stored in STM. For example, if we are memorizing a ten-item list of basic chemical elements, the eighth, ninth, and tenth items on the list will begin to "bump out" earlier items. Similarly, if we are reciting the phone number of a pizza parlor we're about to call when someone asks, "How much is this pizza going to cost?" our retrieval of the cost information into STM may knock part of the phone number from our STM. We can increase the capacity of short-term memory by combining stimuli into larger, possibly higher-order, units called chunks. A chunk is a group of familiar stimuli stored as a single unit. The effect of chunking can be demonstrated by asking someone to recall a sequence of 12 letters grouped in the following way: FB ITW AC IAIB M As you read the letters aloud, pause at the hyphens. Our subject will probably attempt to remember each letter separately because there are no obvious groups or chunks. But a string of 12 letters is too long for STM, so errors are likely. Now we may present the same string of letters to another person, placing the pauses in the following locations: FBI TWA CIA IBM The letters now form four familiar chunks that should occupy only four slots in shortterm memory, resulting in successful recall. The hypnotist can use this knowledge by creating an overload i.e. by offering a person more pieces of information than the person can process consciously, or by engaging a person in more tasks than the person can process consciously. As this state creates a tension and/or confusion, the person is open to follow suggestions offering a way out of the situation. Thus, the hypnotist can lead a person easily into a trance. One way of creating an overload is by engaging the person in activities that utilize all representational systems at once while at the same time using each system in an activity unrelated to the others. Another way of creating an overload is by having two people communicate different messages into each ear of the person. There will be more on this method of induction

"Double Induction" another time if the panel has interest. SEVEN PLUS OR MINUS TWO - by Terence Watts Use this induction with analytical or intellectually orientated clients. It contains elements of confusion and since it is almost impossible to resist, it works particularly well with those who tend to find 'normal' relaxation inductions uncomfortable. Use a 'standard' preparation to begin. All right, just allow yourself to be as lazy as you want to be... listening quietly to the sound of my voice... and while you're listening quietly to the sound of my voice concentrating for a few moments on your breathing... breathing slowly and steadily, just as though you were sound asleep, or pretending to be sound asleep... and imagining, perhaps, just how comfortable you might look while you're relaxing there in the chair... using the power of your mind to see yourself in your mind's eye... and then using the power of your mind to do whatever has to happen to make you look even more relaxed... and still thinking about your breathing, making quite sure that each breath in lasts the same length of time as the last breath in... and each breath outwards lasts the same length of time as the last breath out... even though each breath in will probably be slightly shorter than each breath out... and while you're thinking about your breathing, noticing, perhaps, the weight of your head against the back of the chair... and still listening quietly to the sound of my voice... And while you're listening quietly to the sound of my voice, it maybe that you'll become aware that you've forgotten to think about your breathing... but that's all right, you can just simply start thinking about your breathing again while you're listening quietly to the sound of my voice and what I'm saying to you here... and in psychology, there's a rule called... seven plus or minus two... and that means that most people can think of seven things all at once... plus or minus two... so you should be able to think of at least five things all at the same time... the sound of my voice... the steadiness of your breathing... the weight of your head against the back of the chair... and how you might look from the outside... and that's four things... so you can think of those four things while you're listening to the sound of the music I'm playing in the background... so that's five things, now... and I wonder if you can think about those five things and then at the same time notice the way your feet feel on the footrest of the chair... and perhaps how your arms feel... and that's seven things now... the sound of my voice... the weight of your head against the back of the chair... the music playing in the background... they way you look while you're relaxing... and your breathing... and your arms... and your feet on the footrest... and I wonder if you can now add an eighth thing into all of that... I wonder if your mind is powerful enough to think of seven plus one things... adding in, perhaps, an awareness of the temperature of the room... and then just testing to see whether you can add yet another input to your senses... so that you're thinking of NINE things all at once... that's seven plus two... thinking about all those eight inputs to your senses and then maybe adding an awareness of the way your eyes feel while you're thinking about all those other things... the weight of your head... your breathing... the music in the background... how you look from the

outside... the temperature of the room... your feet on the footrest... your arms... the sound of my voice... and how your eyes feel... The weight of your head... your breathing... the music in the background... how you look from the outside... the temperature of the room... your feet on the footrest... your arms... the sound of my voice... and how your eyes feel... and of course, when anybody thinks of all these things, what they are really doing is scanning round them one after the other... very quickly... so quickly, it feels as if you're thinking of them all at once... and in the world of computers, that would be called timesharing... sharing your available resources between the different tasks you are attempting to perform all at once... and that's why some people can think of only five things... because it's the limit of their memory... while others can actually think of nine things... and I wonder how well your memory is working as you struggle to remember those nine things... the weight of your head... your breathing... the music in the background... how you look from the outside... the temperature of the room... your feet on the footrest... your arms... the sound of my voice... and how your eyes feel... And now you can think how good it will feel...when you simply allow yourself to think of only the most important thing of all...concentrating all your energies onto that one most important thing of all...which is going to be so easy to think of, now that you are going to allow yourself to think of only one thing instead of nine... and that one thing is how good it feels to think of only one thing... thinking how relaxed you can be now... that you're only thinking of how relaxed you might like to be... relaxing in your mind... and in your body... no need to think anything at all, really... no need to do anything... nobody wanting anything and nobody expecting anything... and absolutely nothing whatsoever for you to do except to... relax. Looks like a good one Daryl. I wonder if anyone has thought along the line of interspersed marked wording for hand levitation with such a script. I think it might be a nice touch. That way the analytical type of thinker one might use such a script on would be able to provide a demonstration as to when they really are giving way to their unconscious. Just a thought for something to play with. The one thing a hypnotist has to keep in mind with such a script is that he/she has to pay attention to the listener, and look for signs of trance, or at least the lack of signs. If your subject goes down quickly any addition of confusion will tend to lighten the trance because your subject is yearning for something to grasp, yet if the person has decided to follow and isn't quite there yet once you get close to the end, some further confusion will be required, so the hypnotist will have to be adaptable with his work. Have you played with this induction yourself? > Have you played with this induction yourself? Yes Frank, I have improvised my way through it and it works like a charm. Important to have a "cheat sheet" list of 9 things you want them to remember otherwise you can lose track yourself because, as you point out, you are monitoring many things at the same

time. Their conscious mind just gives up in the end and they find thinking of "one" thing such a relief, they just slide into a deep trance. However you have to be selective about who you use it on as it can be a stressfull experience for some clients and can be counter productive.

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