Vol. 7 – February 14, 2005

Ericksonian Hypnotic Language Patterns

Pattern 8. Pacing and Leading —
In an expanded form, ‘Pacing and Leading’ can be used as a trance induction in and of itself. The general concept of pacing and leading is central to Erickson’s work. You establish a rapport with a person when you pace their experience.

In this language pattern, you make note of true, experiential facts (or ‘wonder’ about them) then connect them with a suggestion. Salesmen might say that you are setting up a ‘yes’ frame. People will tend to go with the flow of affirmative responses.

I used this pattern frequently when I used to work at New York’s Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital’s Department of Complementary Medicine. I was there as a Hypnotherapist to assist people in feeling better about their operations, facilitate healing and recovery, develop new, healthier patterns of living (e.g. becoming a non-smoker) and to help manage pain. Often I would walk into the patient’s room and say, “Hello, my name is Doug (easily verifiable due to the nametag on my lapel), I’m with the Department of Surgery (also on the tag), and I’m here to help you with your pain.” The two verifiably true statements set up the following statement to be accepted as true, too. By the way, did you notice that the patient was not in a formal trance at the time?

Some Connecting Words or Phrases:

and, as, while, so, since, you can also, like, at the same time, such as, begin to, meanwhile, being, as you know, also, then, etc.

A. Basic form

“You can feel the chair, you can feel your feet on the floor, you can hear the sound of my voice, and drift off into a nice, comfortable trance.”

B. ‘Might notice…as…’

“You might notice the sensations in your hands as you continue to drift deeper.”

C. ‘Might notice how good…feels…as…’

(In many of these patterns it is always a good idea to suggest that they will enjoy whatever they’re going to experience) “You might notice how good it feels to relax deeply as you close your eyes and breathe comfortably.”

So as you read these words and make sense of the material, you might already be imagining how you will use these in your real life.

Drop me a line, I’d be happy to find out how you do use them in your real life.

Meanwhile, see you next week. Have fun!