REPLACING REFERENCE STRUCTURE FOR ANALGESIA AND ANAESTHESIA
Erickson said: When I want a patient to develop an analgesia, I'm very likely not to mention this question of analgesia. I'm very willing to let the patient tell me all about that pain until I can see from the expression on his face that he thinks I understand. I'm not averse to saying a few things, little things that makes the patient think I do understand. And then I'm very likely to ask him some simple question that takes him far away from this question of the pain: Where did you spend last summer? The patient can be rather surprised at that question about last summer. Last summer he didn't have that pain. We can go into the question of the pleasures and joys and satisfaction of last summer. Emphasize comfort, physical ease, joys, and satisfactions, and point out to the patient how nice it is to continue to remember the joys and satisfactions of last summer, the physical ease of last summer. When the patient seems to be getting just a little bit edgy, I remind him of when he was rowing the boat and got that blister on his hand. It hurt quite a bit but fortunately healed up. I haven't been afraid to mention hurt or pain or distress, but it is far away from that backache the patient started telling me about. I've mentioned pain from a blister due to rowing a boat last summer and I haven't been shocked by that uneasy expression on his face. Because you see in hypnosis your task is to guide the thinking and the association of ideas that the patient has along therapeutic channels. You know very well that you can have a painful spot on your body and go to a suspenseful movie and lose yourself in the action on the screen and forget all about that pain in your leg or the pain in your arm, aching tooth or wherever. You know that, so why not do exactly the same sort of thing with your patient? If you are operating on a patient in your office and you are aware of the fact that it can cause pain, you can direct your patient's thinking to an area far removed from the pain situation. Taken from Milton H. Erickson & Ernest L. Rossi, Hypnotherapy – An Exploratory Casebook, pag. 121, Irvington Publishers Inc.