Classic Hypnotic Phenomena




As part of the trance induction Erickson would develop various hypnotic phenomena. This would help to demonstrate to the subject that they were indeed in a trance, but it would also provide important clues as to the direction of the eventual therapeutic suggestions.


There are twelve principle phenomena.

  • Hallucinations can be positive (something is there that is not real) or negative (something is not there that actually is) in any given representational system (sight, sound, touch etc.)
  • Anaesthesia Insensitivity to pain. Loss of feeling
  • Analgesia Reduction of sensitivity to pain.
  • Catalepsy Unable to consciously move but have a waxy flexibility if repositioned.
  • Ideomotor behavior As someone thinks about a movement or response it actually happens.
  • Ideosensory behavior As someone thinks about a sensory response they experience it
  • Automatic behavior Automatic writing or drawing. Just happens, no volition
  • Post hypnotic suggestion This is a suggestion that happens after hypnotic experience on a particular cue.
  • Time distortion Time can be experienced as longer or shorter (slower or faster).
  • Amnesia Forgets something that actually happened
  • Hyperamnesia Remembers very vividly something they hadn't realized that they remembered.
  • Age regression The patient actually gets so absorbed in an experience that they begin reliving the experience.