David Gordon – Therapeutic Metaphor Training


Published on: December 10, 2020
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David Gordon, Co-Developer of NLP reveals
Therapeutic metaphor

The legendary Milton Erickson, the famed Hypnotherapist, was renowned for his ability to assist people in making dramatic personal change. For people who didn?t recognize what he was doing, Erickson simply told stories, parables, or jokes. Others recognized there were deeper patterns at work.

Erickson made it look so easy he even fooled the experts. Erickson?s student Ernest Rossi watched Milton work with a client and recorded the hypnotic induction step by step in the book, ?Hypnotic Realities.? But when it came to observing work with the client, Rossi abruptly broke off the transcript and wrote? at this point Dr. Erickson began to tell a story.

Even one of Erickson?s top students didn?t recognize these brilliant patterns when they were used?and neither will the people you work with.

Many years ago, in one of his classic cases, Erickson had a client with a severe case of premature ejaculation. He was unable to enjoy a normal sex life because of his problem.

The man was very embarrassed about his problem and was unable to openly discuss his problem with Erickson?so the master told him a story.

Erickson discussed the case in an article ?A Study of Experimental Neuroissis Hypnotically Induced in a Case of Ejaculato Praecox? which was published in the British Journal of Medical Psychology in 1935. Those were fancy words for Erickson telling the man a specially constructed story.

Erickson stunned the research world with his paper. Luminaries such as Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson begged Erickson to explain exactly how he developed his complex story. Erickson devoted an entire article in 1944 revealing his process and yet?

his process was so difficult and complex virtually no one was able to use Therapeutic metaphor as a treatment modality other than Erickson.

Until David Gordon came along and cracked the code and made Therapeutic metaphor accessible to all.

The Power of metaphor

metaphors are more than a way to talk about an experience. metaphors are our experience. They set the filters through which we perceive and make sense out of the world. Because of this fact, metaphors serve as powerful levers capable of shifting perception and experience. As a result, you can transform people?s behavior.

Therapeutic metaphors are specially designed stories which are a simple yet ideal tool for overt or covert change. You see, people see themselves in the stories they hear and become part of the story.

So the real power of Therapeutic metaphor is designing an elegant story which can ignite great personal change.

Telling Stories?For A Change

Erickson discovered when he told stories, he totally bypassed conscious resistance. Telling Therapeutic metaphors is very similar to planting a seed. Some spring forth immediately while others only work over time.

The real beauty of Therapeutic metaphors is their ability to affect deep and lasting change in an indirect and even covert manner.

This means when you tell the Therapeutic metaphor, no one need ever be aware of your intent. And you can help people make profound changes in their lives, without them ever knowing you did a thing.

Here?s how metaphor works. There are two kinds of metaphors: isomorphic and universal. In an isomorphic metaphor there is a one to one relationship between every event in the story and the real world situation.

True Life Application of Therapeutic metaphors

Although I?ve used Therapeutic metaphors countless times, there was one case which worked out so well, it surprised me as well. A family contacted me because their son joined an extreme cult and cut off all connections with the family. He cut off his telephone because he considered it the work of the Devil. He would only communicate through the mail.

One day, he invited his brother for a visit. The you


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