Institute of Semantic Restructuring

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Semantic Restructuring is the pursuit of enlightenment, enlivenment, empowerment through the creative re-arranging of the building blocks of meaning. For a better description, Start Here.

When is Language Not Hypnotic?

Hypnosis and it's Opposite

What is Semantic Restructuring? Elsewhere I've stated Semantic Restructuring is:

Literally, "Semantic Restructuring is the re-arranging of the building blocks of meaning. Pragmatically it is the pursuit of behavioral change, behavioral excellence via perceptual and conceptual flexibility and agility.

That definition, from Brief Therapy with Achilles, is not all bad, at least not in context as part of the conclusion of my story of Achilles. But there is more.

Insight therapy can be thought of as getting data out of the client's unconscious so they can do something with it consciously. Hypnosis can be thought of as putting data into the client's unconscious. And, not too surprisingly, there is a tight relationship between the way an insight therapist will use language and the way a hypnotist will use language.

Before the fire-walking fads and the get-rich-quick schemes and the get-insta-laid camp appeared on the Neuro-Linguistic Programming scene, before, in fact, there was even anyone calling anything "Neuro-Linguistic Programming," there was a modest book called "The Structure of Magic, Vol. I" (Structure I), with a companion "The Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D., Vol. I" (Patterns I). Much of what this article discusses is strongly related to the material in these two books.

Perhaps the most facile (and thus a highly suspect) way to describe matters is to say all language is hypnotic, at least to the extent that it works. Either your mind focuses on the sounds I make, which defeats the purpose of communicating, or your mind puts the literal sounds in the background, in favor of the meanings of those words, with meaning being a melange of more words and sights and sounds and other sensations that come along for the ride. When communication works the communicator is altering the state of consciousness, the awareness, of the communicatee.

That is a facile description indeed; take with a accordingly measured measure of salt. But it serves as an opener to the notion, and it set the stage for a simple observation offered by the authors of the aforementioned books: The language constructs that an insight oriented therapist might challenge in the speech of a client are the same language constructs that a hypnotherapist will use. Semantic Restructuring reworks the listings of language patterns offered in Structure I and in Patterns I, calling them respectively "Deductive Language Patterns" and "Inductive Language Patterns," about which more elsewhere on this site.

Email: rl (at) robertlink (dot) org.

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