What is direct vs. indirect suggestion?

By Søren Andersen http://kolding-hypnose.dk

The term "hypnotic suggestions" covers the things the hypnotist ask of the client to experience while being in the hypnotic state of mind. These suggestions can be very direct or indirect, also termed authoritative vs. permissive techniques. A direct suggestion could be something like this: "You're hand will become weightless and rise up high in the air", while the indirect would be something like this: "As you notice a difference in the weight of your hands, one of them may feel so light, that it rices slowly in the air". Even if I hadn't labelled these suggestions beforehand it's obvious to see which is which.

The direct suggestions represents the classical way of conducting hypnosis and this will most likely be the style of choice for the stage hypnotist, as it seems to portray that the hypnotist decides what should happen. Another label for the indirect permissive techniques is Ericksonian hypnosis. Milton H. Erickson is by some considered the father of the permissive techniques, and his great results with using hypnosis to treat various problems has made his name and techniques famous among modern hypnotist.

My personal oppinion is, that you should avoid hypnotists who state that they are old-school hypnotists or hypnotists who tells you that they are only using direct suggestion. The literature on hypnosis suggests that you are better of with the permissive techniques and/or the use of hypnotherapy. This is not to say, that classical hypnosis doesn't have any effect, but merely a personal belief that you're chances are better with the modern techniques as they involve more of the dynamics of thinking, that we didn't know about in the past.