Ericksonian versus Kappasian Hypnosis

Spread the love

This post is to express my thoughts about the difference between Kappasian and Ericksonian Hypnosis. This is not to pass any judgement. This is what works for me based upon my study and experience with both methodologies.

When I think about Kappasian and Ericksonian Hypnosis the first major difference I see is the way suggestibility is categorized in Kappasian methodology.

George Kappas discovered that all people are not equally suggestible. He categorized suggestibility in two categories – Physical and Emotional Suggestibility. A physical suggestible person is like a child (w.r.t suggestibility and not maturity). All children are physical suggestible when they are born. They take suggestions literally. So “your hand is resting” actually makes them feel that their hand is resting. An emotional suggestible person is one who has got a critical mind. A mind which double guesses suggestions. So “your hand is resting” suggestion makes the Emotionally Suggestible person to first check and analyze whether their hand is resting or not. And this undermines the hypnotizability of the subject. Such a person understands the suggestions inferentially.

Kappasian Hypnosis uses suggestibility scale to determine Emotional or Physical suggestibility of the subject. There are people who are in the middle of the spectrum which are called somnambulists.

Ericksonian Hypnosis doesn’t have such kind of differentiation. Ericksonian Hypnosis uses complex language patterns, voice intonation and utilization to induce trance. It calls for techniques like use of metaphors and nested loops to create deeper states of hypnosis and amnesia. The method works same for Emotional as well as Physically suggestible subjects (as categorized according to Kappasian methodology), due to vague language patterns.

As one can guess, the Ericksonian Hypnosis takes time to master. But the journey is joyful.

Kappasian Hypnosis on the other hand gives scientific touch to the explanation of why certain subjects respond to direct suggestions while others respond to indirect suggestions. However there is a huge spectrum of Emo/Physically suggestible people for whom both inferential or literal suggestions will work.

Also physical suggestible person will respond to both literal and carefully crafted inferential suggestions. The challenge lies in hypnotizing highly Emotional suggestible subjects, for whom literal suggestions don’t work.

The Ericksonian approach uses indirect language and utilization and works for both kind of suggestible people. For example none of physical or emotional suggestible subjects can deny if the hypnotist observes and mentions that their “breathing has changed”. Or they are “feeling more relaxed”.

Further, once in deep trance both emotional and physically suggestible tend to respond to literal suggestions. Hence the challenge lies only to get the subject to trance.

Second difference is in the way the sexuality of the person is defined in Kappasian method. Kappasian method defines physical and emotional sexuality. This is a very good insight which is missing in Ericksonian methodology. This explains a lot of relationship troubles that people go through. This is my believe that if someone selects their match based upon sexuality evaluation then that relationship will work like a charm.

Hence Kappasian philosophy has got a respectable place in relationship counseling.

So which one is better? Ericksonian or Kappasian? The answer is whatever works best for you.

I personally prefer to mix and match stuff. My more inclination is towards Ericksonian method due to the artistic touch associated with Ericksonian Method. This also helps me to improve my communication skills. The more I practice Ericksonian Hypnosis the better I communicate, and the better I am able to communicate the more clients I get. And for relationship counseling I like to switch entirely to Kappasian explanation.

In any case I find it useful to keep suggestibility score handy to fine tune my suggestions just in case required. They also give me a brief idea about how easy or challenging it is going to work with a client. A high physical is easy to work with and working with high emotional would require to use a lot of metaphors and vague sentences.

Also, while working with even Kappasian approach, using voice intonation can amplify the effect of suggestion on the subject.

As I mentioned in the beginning, these are my own thoughts and the idea is not to pass any judgement. Both approaches have been found to be effective and people have their personal inclinations towards one of them, based upon their individual personality types.