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The Milton Model in NLP

Ericksonian Conversational Hypnosis

The Milton Model – Modeled from Milton H. Erickson, M.D.

1.      Mind Reading:  Claiming to know the thoughts or feelings of another person without saying how you knew, as if you were reading their mind.

  • "I know that you’re wondering..."


2.      Lost Performative:  Sharing a value judgement on someone or something, but not saying who is did the judging.

  • "And it’s a good thing to wonder..."


3.      Cause and Effect (C>E):  Implying that one thing causes or caused another. It’s not necessary for it to be true, only to sound plausible.  Implied Causatives include:

  • "Because..."
  •  “Makes”
  • “If..., then...”
  • “As you... then you...”
  •  “Since…”
  • Any C>E relationship, regardless of the language used to imply it.


4.      Complex Equivalence (CEq):  Referring to two things as being equal, as in their meanings being equivalent.

  • "That means..."


5.      Presuppositions:  Any of the presuppositions from page 35 or other presuppositions.

  • "You are learning many things..."


6.      Universal Quantifiers:  Universal generalizations that don’t specify who or what you’re referring to.

  • "And all the things, all the things..."


7.         Modal Operators:  Words of possibility or necessity.  These words usually form the rules in life (can/can’t, should/shouldn’t, must/musn’t, will/won’t, etc.)

  • "That you can learn..."



8.         Nominalizations:  Verbs or processes that have been frozen in time by turning them into nouns. The test is, “Can I put it in a wheelbarrow?”

  • "Provide you with new insights, and new understandings."


9.         Unspecified Verbs or Unspecified Predicates: Verbs that don’t specify the action taken.

  • "And you can wonder…"


10.      Tag Question:  A question added after a statement, designed to displace resistance.

  • "Can’t you?"


11.      Lack of Referential Index:  A phrase where the subject is not a specific person or thing.

  • "One can, you know..."


12.      Comparative Deletions (Unspecified Comparison): Comparison to someone or something that’s not specified.

  • "And it’s more or less the right thing..."


13.      Pacing Current Experience:  Describing the client’s experience in a way which is undeniable.

  • "You are sitting here, listening to me, looking at me..."


14.      Double Binds:  Offering the illusion of choice to make sure the client does what you want them to, because both choices are the same.

  • "And that means that you can learn this easily, or without any effort at all.  It’s totally up to you."


15.      Conversational Postulate:  A permissive command that sounds like a question.

  • "Would you feel more comfortable if your eyes were closed?"


16.      Extended Quotes:  Quoting a person, who quotes another, who quotes another, etc, becoming impossible to tell where one quote leaves off and the next begins.

  • "Last week I was with Michael who told me about his training in 2006 in Orange County when he talked to a student who said that her mother learned from a magazine article that change is easy.”


17.      Selectional Restriction Violation:  Personifying an inanimate thing.  For example, a body part.

  • "And I wonder how your ears feel, having heard such a thing…"



18.      Ambiguities

  • Phonological:  Words with different meanings that sound alike.
  • “Hear,” “Here”
  • “There,” “They’re,” “Their”
  • “Son,” “Sun”
  • Syntactic:  Words with ambiguous syntax – where you can’t tell what part of the sentence a word applies to.
  • "They are visiting relatives"
  • "Speaking to you as a child..."
  • Scope:  Words with ambiguous scope – where you can’t tell how much of the sentence a word applies to.
  • "The old men & women..."
  • "The disturbing noises & thoughts..."
  • "The weight of your hands & feet..."
  • Punctuation:

Run on sentences:

  • "I want you to notice your hand me the glass."

Pause at improper places.

  • “Can you please pass out (pause) the flyers?”

Incomplete sentences:  The sentence is left unfinished (forced mind-reads)

  • "Would you rather go into a nice, deep…”


19.      Utilization:  Using what the client has said, done or related from their model of the world.

Client says, "I am not sold."

You say, “That's right you are not sold, yet, because you haven’t asked the one question that will have you totally and completely sold."


Putting it all together:

"I know that you’re wondering... and it’s a good thing to wonder... because... that means... you are learning many things... and all the things, all the things... that you can learn... provide you with new insights, and new understandings.  And you can wonder, can’t you?  One can, you know.  And it’s more or less the right thing.  You are sitting here, listening to me, looking at me, and that means that you can learn this easily, or without any effort at all.  It’s totally up to you.  Can you feel this is something you understand?  Because, last week I was with Michael who told me about his training in 2006 in Orange County when he talked to a student who said that her mother learned from a magazine article that change is easy.  I wonder how your ears feel, having heard such a thing.  You can hear that here...



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