The following stories demonstrate various techniques for hypnotic anaesthesia. The case study “Go Away” involves taking the pain as a starting point and then rapidly minimising it through a plausible chain of associations. It illustrates a typical feature of verbal pacing and leading, namely that the pain (the problem) is referred to directly at the beginning, but only mentioned indirectly as an “inconvenience” by the end.
I: Hypnotic anaesthesia, pacing and leading (example, positive model), reversing the focus of attention
A woman attending a psychotherapy session suddenly developed a bad headache. She explained that it was linked to a problem with her cervical vertebrae for which she was undergoing medical treatment. Her face was screwed up in pain, and it was clear that she was struggling to focus on anything else. I told her, “That must really hurt. It must hurt a great deal, and you must be wishing that it would go away soon, that it would perhaps go away in three minutes or in two minutes, or that it would go away in one minute or in half a minute, or perhaps even sooner. When do you think this inconvenience will go away?” “It has almost gone already,” she answered very calmly.