Milton Erickson and  Linn Cooper in their book, ‘Time Distortion in Hypnosis’ conducted a series of experiments in order to explore the phenomena of expansion of one’s sense of time.  They would induce a trance whereby they would then give the person they were working with suggestions that were designed to give them the experience having more time than they really did.  They would then be assigned a task that they were to accomplish in a given hypnotic reality and told how long they would be given to accomplish the task.  They would then be given a starting signal and an end signal by which they were to immediately cease taking anymore action in their assigned task at which time they would then report back to Erickson and Cooper as to their progress.

For example in one experiment subjects would be instructed that they were in a room sitting at a table and that there was a box of pennies in from of them.  They were to begin to pull them out and put them one by one on the table and were to count the number of pennies as they put them on the table.  They were TOLD that they were going to be given ten minutes to accomplish this task.  In actuality they were given anywhere from 10 seconds – 1 second to accomplish the task through multiple trials.  With each trial the subject would make it into the hundreds when it came to counting.

During some other tasks some subjects were given similar counting tasks in which they were TOLD that they would be allotted a certain amount of time and then in ACTUALITY they were given far less quite often as little as 3 seconds to accomplish what they were suppose to do.  Quite often it was found that people could complete their task with as little as 3 second BUT when Erickson would cut their time even further people were unable to complete their task nearly as well as they had previously.  The interesting thing to me was when Erickson brought them out of trance everyone of them had elaborate explanations for why they had not fared as well in the completion in this task as previously.

I think there is an interesting parallel between these rationalizations that would occur when people were in hypnotic trances and with clients.  Whereas a client will come to a changeworker with very sound reasoning and logic and all sorts of explanations regarding their particular problem as subject in one of these hypnotic trances could explain what occurred in their situation in equally convincing terms.  In both instances their explanations are equally real and in both instances they are equally fabricated.
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