The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter, Summer 2006

The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter

Shared Couple's Trance
Michele Ritterman, PhD
The Hypnosis Network, 2005

In listening to this couple's tape, I had my first opportunity to sample Dr. Ritterman's work. While she skillfully incorporates the standard Ericksonian techniques into these trances, her wonderful style and approach also are uniquely her own. I enjoyed listening to her CD.

The two tracks can be used one after the other for an essentially healthy couple (free of apparent deep seated conflicts) to refresh and revitalize their appreciation for each other, and to establish an appropriate level of intimacy and healthy separation. Track one—"What's Love Got to Do With it?"—invites the couple to retrieve a memory associated with the time when they first met. The induction provides a focus on retrieving physical comfort, and once established, encourages the couple to "memorize those beautiful happy times….and play them over and over" while seeding the memories into the future. Ritterman manages to incorporate time distortion, conscious/unconscious dissociation, confusion technique, all possible alternatives, regression, amnesia, and a metaphor of desert flowers during this 13-minute trance.

Track two—"Separate track trance"—encourages the couple to consider the degree of separation in the relationship that "is comfortable and safe" while using metaphors of trees and plants growing the proper distance apart. She also provides reframing about criticism as sometimes being useful and sometimes representing the fire and passion in the relationship. The induction once again focuses on physiological functioning and relaxation and encourages the couple to simultaneously "relax the brain as an organ, engaging in its own natural biorhythms" by inhaling and exhaling from the skull. This encourages a person to become absorbed internally in a novel manner that I found quite effective. This track lasted approximately 21 minutes.

Overall, I highly recommend the CD for therapists to have as a resource in their libraries, for couples who want a "take home" tape for trancework, or for therapists who wish to sample Ritterman's approach.

Reviewed by
Kathleen Donaghy Ph.D.
Phoenix, AZ

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