Milton H. Erickson (1901–1980) developed a therapy style that differs from »classical« hypnosis in the therapist’s attitude and appreciation towards the human unconscious.

Instead of imposing ideas, solutions or suggestions upon the patient, the therapist trusts in the unconscious possibilities and thus gives the patient room to face own potentials, to learn to explore themselves, and to find the individually appropriate solution.

Erickson’s conviction was that everybody is already carrying the resources for necessary therapeutical change within and that, in the area of unconscious functioning, there are always reasonable processes which aim at preserving and improving life.

The person is always “unconsciously” choosing the options that are the best choice in a given situation, even though they may often seem unacceptable to the consciousness and its sense of values.

Basically, the hypnotic state is nothing special—it’s a completely normal appearance of the organism which already “knows” how to create trance: the normal ways of thinking and acting are seemingly repealed. This permits us to explore and use different ways of experiencing and acting which aren’t accessible when awake.

In order to perform trance induction, the therapist observes the patient and their indications of trance—which occure spontaneously and naturally—in order to amplify them systematically and to stimulate advancement and deepening of the trance.

In the process of orienting and exploring the person chooses possible solutions and the way of implementing them depending on the own personality structure. As these processes are taking place outside of conscious control, the person cannot always remember what happened during it and thus attributes the success to the therapist initially.

As self-awareness increases, after integrating fields of experience which were previously exluded from consciousness, the patient is able to find a conscious access to integral experience and to the sources of the own creativity.