The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter, Summer 2006

The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter

Sammy the Elephant and Mr. Camel
By Dr. Joyce Mills
The Hypnosis Network, 2005

Dr. Mills' CDs come as a set of two—one for children that contains metaphoric trancework to retrieve resources, and the other for parents to use for fostering their own mental health. The format takes into account the fact that any concern affecting a child naturally also affects the entire system, so the second CD addresses parents' needs for managing their stress and emotional reactions to their child's situation. The parents' CD is fairly brief—about 10 minutes long—and contains an induction followed by guided imagery that serves as a "Mini Mind Vacation."

To the untrained listener, the children's CD is just like any other bedtime story one might tell a child, but, those schooled in Ericksonian trancework will quickly come to appreciate how masterfully Dr. Mills weaves classical Ericksonian techniques into the story to accomplish an unconscious parallel retrieval of resources that would result in an enhanced esteem and sense of empowerment in the listener. She incorporates the use of a simple induction using breath work and a focal point. The story keeps the conscious mind occupied and entertained while the unconscious retrieves memories to personalize the learning. She demystifies the concepts of naturalistic trance and heightened internal absorption in a straightforward and comprehensible way.

One thing I noticed right off the bat was that Joyce's voice and pacing are soothing and pleasant to listen to, even for adults. This is good to know since chances are, once a child starts listening to the CD, he or she will want to make regular use of it and parents will not find it difficult or offensive to listen to repeatedly.

The target audience goes beyond children with bedwetting problems, even though this was the original intended audience. By simply fastforwarding to the beginning of the induction, one could essentially use this CD as a means of augmenting the work already being done with a child within their clinical sessions so that the feelings of enhanced personal worth, tenacity, and learning could continue in between sessions by having the child listen to this CD at home. It could also serve as an excellent model for training parents to foster a positive attitude while interacting with their child.

Listening to the CD also may serve as a training tool for therapists who want to learn how to apply Ericksonian techniques to their child psychology practice, and how to pace trancework with children. From my perspective, this CD set is excellent and I recommend adding it to your library.

Reviewed by
Kathleen Donaghy Ph.D.
Phoenix, AZ

Published in:
The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter
Vol. 26, No. 2 Summer 2006