Sometimes "things", situations or events happen to people that are either beyond their realm of words and experiences or exceeds the boundaries of their current identity. These events can be good or bad depending on how the person frames the events, their history and their tolerance for change.

Births, marriage, death, divorce and the loss of a job can be either the best resource or the biggest emotional loss in a person's life. When these events occur, sometimes, the emotions that are experienced are perceived very differently by different people. One experience that might change a person life permanently for the good, another might sideline a person from their life for a few hours or days; it may affect another for years of their life without some type of therapeutic intervention.

There are many types of interventions. Traditional therapies and their medications, hypnosis, NLP or the one most people use; time and maturity. Before you start thumbing through the yellow pages for the same reason everyone else does; have you ever considered an alternative method as a way of reaching down into the center of your soul for a solution that cannot be had by conventional means? How about poetry?

In therapeutic coaching and hypnosis, the primary mindset is that no one can be induced into trance without their permission. That's what "they" (the experts) say. What if there really wasn't a trance for people to go into in the first place? What if people were already in whatever trance that they were going to be in and there was nothing for you to induce? If that part of your job is already over, what do you do next?

Not all trances are created equal. Many people who have come to me for therapeutic hypnosis spend a lot of time wanting either to be convinced that they can be "hypnotized" or the flip side; are they 'doing it correctly'? Never mind the fact that they are already walking around in a full-on eyes-open somnambulistic trance that is so profound you could probably put a nail through their hand and they wouldn't notice. They want to know: are they going into trance deeply enough, are they entering or exiting trance fast enough, etc? The answer always is "yes" there is no hard and fast rule for what is the perfect trance; it's what's the perfect trance, for them.

What really gets them out of that over-evaluation state and into "something else" that is infinitely more useful is poetry. Poetry brings them out of those states and into a state of possibilities. That's what really makes hypnosis fun: creating possibilities and lasting change.

I have always loved poetry. At first, I though it was just because I liked it and it makes me feel good, sad, happy, loved, etc, but I never thought about poetry as an induction, until I learned about Ericksonian hypnosis.

Ericksonian hypnosis is a help technology primarily designed to match the language and thinking patterns of the subject and the presenting problem that the subject is experiencing. What seems really interesting to me is that their "normal" everyday patterns are even different from the pattern of the "problem" that they are experiencing. It is this difference that is causing them distress; the reason they haven't been able to "fix it" and it the solution to the problem itself. Poetry is one of the possible inductions that can be used.

Poetry is known throughout the world as way of expressing a person's inner knowing or inner feelings that usually defy our normal ways of thinking and cause us to go into the realm of the unconscious to experience the world. It is a way of naming "beauty" in a way not possible by our normal routine. That also just happens to be the best explanation for hypnotic trance that I've encountered. The unconscious mind is a wealth of skills and resources that span not only our lives but connect to a much larger internal world beyond the scope of our 1 plus 1 equal 2 conscious minds.

Our conscious mind thinks very linearly, black and white, and asks why? Our unconscious minds cannot be bothered with "why" since it already has the answers before you ask it a question. Try to explain that one to your accountant.
For that reason I believe that the unconscious mind created poetry to give the conscious mind a clue about what is possible beyond our normal everyday constraints and deadlines.

It doesn't matter to me what poetic author(s) you like. Whether the author uses strict poetry guidelines, Haikou, or if it's the worst cheesy beat poetry that you ever heard; the point is abstraction from your daily routine. For me, some of our best poets are songwriters. They have a wider reach into the world and can affect people with both their words and the rhythms of the song; which to me is the same thing, but whatever. Even reading to my daughter at night before bed gives me an opportunity to connect with a world beyond my day-to-day routine; I even take a stab at writing poetry, occasionally.

Here are a few of my favorite poets: Rummi, Kahlil Gibran, Antonio Machado, Mary Oliver, Jewel, Kurt Cobain and John Lennon. Each have a special meaning to me that is important enough for me to revisit their writings and songs. Sometimes to ground me, or to inspire and sometimes just because I like a particular way their word phrasing works just perfectly for a specific situation and I can't think of anyway to say it better.

The next time you are working through a personal or business problem that may seem as if there isn't a simple solution. Just STOP and go to your bookshelf and pull out a book of poetry. Spend a few minutes just reading or better yet read the words aloud so you can get the tonality of the words to vibrate through you down the strings of your heart and soul. It is there the solutions reside. More laterĀ¦

Michael Harris, PhD