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Generative Trance
by Stephen Gilligan, Ph.D.
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Generative Trance

Stephen Gilligan, Ph.D.

This is an edited version of the opening remarks Dr. Stephen Gilligan made to his 12-day course in Ericskonian Hypnosis held near Hamburg, Germany, in January 2007. The transcript of the whole workshop will be published in a book entitled, "Generative Trance" (by Stephen Gilligan). All copyrights belong to Stephen Gilligan.

            Good morning, everybody, and welcome to Trance Camp. I would like to emphasize from the outset this notion that trance is a very naturalistic experience; that is, it doesn't come from the hypnotist or his/her suggestions, it comes naturally from every human being's experience. In the traditional view, the word "trance" is often used interchangeably with the word "hypnosis"; in the naturalistic approach, they are quite different.
            In the traditional view, trance is thought to be an artifact of hypnotic suggestion. That is, trance develops because the hypnotist says something like, booga booga booga. (Laughter). It's assumed the subject is more or less passive, being controlled (hopefully in benevolent ways) by the hypnotist. You can imagine what it would do for a client if they had this belief. At the very least, it certainly would not activate their own generative intelligence; in addition, it would probably make the subject wary of the hypnotist's control, or interested in regressively succumbing to it. None of this would be good for generative trance work. Hopefully hypnotherapy is a process of learning a greater sense of control in yourself; control not in the rigid sense, but in the generative sense of having the power to transform identity, create wonderful futures, develop great relationships, and heal old wounds. Being controlled by another person is part of the problem, not the solution. So from the outset I want to emphasize trance as a process of learning self-generativity. This requires that we consider both the role of the subject and the hypnotist in ways radically different from the traditional view
            Milton Erickson's approach to generative trance was indeed a radical difference that made a difference. It might be helpful to emphasize from the beginning that it came from within his own personal experiences. It came from his own struggles, and the opportunities that he saw within them to learn some amazing things. I mention this at the outset because this is how we're presenting generative trance to clients: as an opportunity to deeply accept every part of your life in ways that allow amazing new learnings and

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