Analyse either the CRC or Hartland Ego-Strengthening script to explain why they are effective if indeed you believe they are. How might you improve them.
The script "Calmness, Relaxation = Confidence" (CRC, see text in appendix) aims at giving the client calm and confidence. It is used during the therapy section of the trance on its own or as a primer for some more focussed therapy, e.g. smoking cessation (NCHP, 2011). In this essay, I'll analyse the script at two levels: structure and language. In the light of this analysis, I'll evaluate the script and suggest some modifications.
The script is supposed to last about 10 minutes. It can be divided into seven sections of roughly equal lengths according to their theme. The sections build on each other to deepen the client's relaxation during and after the therapy session. In chronological order:
Calmness: the client is given a post-hypnotic suggestion to remain relaxed when the trance is over.
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More positive perception of problems: the client should build up on his relaxation to deal more calmly and objectively with common stressful situations.
Energy conservation: Thanks to his mental relaxation, the client can now relax physically and use his body more efficiently.
Confidence: It is the consequence of the mental and physical relaxation.
Tensions disappear: During the second half of the script, the relaxation now encompasses both physical and mental tensions. This section includes a body check to ensure it is totally free of tension.
Coping: This section reinforce the post-hypnotic suggestion of section 2. The client shouldn't exaggerate the importance of his problems.
Wrapping up: The last three sentences conclude the script by repeating differently the main themes.
The analysis reveals three main themes: physical and mental relaxation (sections 1 and 5), confidence drawn from relaxation (sections 4 and 7) and efficiency in everyday life, both during normal activities and in stressful situations (sections 2, 3 and 6). The script cycles between physical and mental relaxation and builds on one to deepen the other. The quick body check at the end of section 5 makes sure the client doesn't tense up. By this time, the trance has lasted about 15 to 20 minutes and tension would be distractive for the rest of the script, in particular if the script is followed by further therapy.
At the language level, the Milton model of hypnotic language (Burton, 2007) is a useful tool for analysis. This model is generally used in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and is based on the language used by Milton Erickson, the father of modern hypnotherapy. The Milton model relies on the assumption that some syntax works better on the unconscious because it by-passes or distracts the conscious mind.
The main repetitive structure is the sequence of a modal operator (will) associated with an unspecified verb. According the model, "will" implies a positive consequence for the verb it refers to. The unspecified verbs describe either a positive evolution (become, prove, convince, assume, lose, find), the client's experience during the trance (feel), or the permanence of a positive state (keep, remain). The latter is used for post-hypnotic suggestions.
The second important aspect of the script is the linking language. Relatively unusual phrases are used to strengthen and link the suggestions. "As the days go by" is repeated 8 times and "so too" occurs 4 times. Together they create a mantra to which the patient can anchor. "As the days go by" reinforces the effect of the unspecified verbs about evolution. "So too" associated with other causal linking words (because, therefore) structures the progression of the script by creating a causal narrative between relaxation, calm and confidence.
The last language pattern of interest in the script is the use of negative concepts. They are especially common at the beginning (worries, problem, annoy, upset). Of course, they are always part of a sentence that implies their reduction or elimination for the benefit of the client. While the debate is still open on the use of negative concepts during trance, I feel that working on the ability to weaken problems can appeal better to the patient than aiming towards potentially unreachable ideals expressed by positive concepts.
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At the sentence level, most of the script is fairly straightforward. It's only in the wrap up that two more complex structures are used. A lost performative introduces a generic statement about the benefits of the session (you will find that this inner feeling [â€¦] brings many benefits). The conclusion is a presupposition with a simple analogy (it will be just as if a weight had been lifted from you [â€¦]). Their position at the end of the script forces the client's mind to work a bit harder. This probably improves the work on the unconscious during the deepest part of the trance.
Overall this script is quite simple and to the point. It is therefore adapted to clients who haven't done much hypnosis. It grabs their attention straight away and the linking words keep the conscious busy to let the unconscious do its work. It is also very authoritarian. Depending on the type of patient, it may be useful to offer less direct suggestions. For example, one could replace "will" by "can" and associate it with embedded commands (as your body is relaxing so well, you can notice that you use less energy) or double binds (as you're becoming more relaxed, you can feel more confident or more optimistic about the future).
To conclude, the CRC script is an effective and practical script than can be useful for mild cases of stress. In practice, the therapist can use it as a template in which he can insert specific problems that the client mentioned outside of hypnosis.
Appendix: Milton Model analysis of the CRC script
Cause and effect
"Because you are relaxing so well...when this session is over you will keep with you as much as you need of the feeling of calmness and relaxation that you have now...and this inner feeling of calmness and relaxation will remain with you...in fact...as each day goes by...you will feel yourself becoming more and more mentally calm...your mind will become crystal clear...your worries will seem less significant...your problems assume their true proportions. At times things and people may still annoy and upset you...that's perfectly natural...but nothing and no-one will worry you to the same extent...nothing and no-one will upset you to the same extent...your thinking will no longer be dominated by exaggerated problems and as the days go by and you feel yourself becoming more and more mentally calm...so too you will feel yourself becoming more and more physically relaxed...and this means that when you're working...it won't matter what job you're doing...it won't matter where you are...it won't matter who's with you...you'll only be using those muscles and that amount of energy necessary to do that job...the remainder of your body will be relaxing...and in this way you'll conserve energy...energy that you will need to enjoy life to the full...in the same way...while you're walking...you'll not be rushing...you'll be taking everything in your stride...using only those muscles and that amount of energy necessary for you to walk...the remainder of your body will be relaxing. Again...a further conservation of energy. Also...when you're sitting down...it won't matter where you are...it won't matter who's with you...when you are sitting down your whole body will be relaxing...as the days go by...and as you're becoming more and more mentally calm and more and more physically relaxed...so too you will feel more and more confident...because when we feel mentally calm and physically relaxed then we feel confident and free to be ourselves...so as the days go by and as you're becoming more and more mentally calm...more and more physically relaxed...so too you'll be feeling more and more confident. You will be more confident in yourself...more confident about whatever you're doing...more confident in your ability to cope with things and with people...but above all...more confident and more optimistic about the future...
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...as the days go by and as you're becoming more and more mentally calm...more and more physically relaxed...more and more confident so too you will be losing any trace of unnecessary mental and physical tension...because when you feel mentally calm...when you feel physically relaxed...when you have this inner feeling of confidence...tension simply cannot and does not exist...because tension is just the opposite of calmness...relaxation...and confidence...
...so as the days go by...and as you become more and more mentally calm...more and more physically relaxed...more and more confident...so you will lose all trace of unnecessary tension in your head...in your face ...in your neck...in your shoulders...in your arms and hands...in your chest...in your stomach...in your back...in your legs and feet. Therefore, as the days go by and you lose any traces of unnecessary tension...whether mental or physical...you will be able to cope with anything...with anybody...with any situation...more and more easily...because you will be coping in a more calm...more relaxed...more confident manner...and as the days go by...you will notice...possibly by only small things in the beginning...that you are indeed coping with anything...with anybody...with any situation...much more easily...this will show you...it will prove to you...it will convince you...that you are indeed becoming a more calm...more relaxed...more confident person. Above all...it will prove to you...that the problem that you have had is slipping away into the past and concerning you less and less...and you will find that this inner feeling of calmness...relaxation...and confidence brings many benefits. Yes...you'll find that nothing and no-one will worry you to the same extent...nothing and no-one will upset you to the same extent...in fact...it will be just as if a weight had been lifted from you leaving you free to enjoy life more fully...and to be more yourself."