Archive for Milton Erickson

Continuing the theme of Padraig Harrington’s swing change and unconscious golf, I was really amused by this video about Padraig trying out the Happy Gilmore approach of running up to the ball and hitting it. Now I don’t know how long Padraig took to learn to do it, but it looks form the video like he took to it like a duck to water.

What’s more important, in the context of his much reported and lengthy annual swing changes, is that it seems that Padraig’s unconscious golf mind simply knew instinctively how to do it. Sure it took a few tries to get the hang of actually doing it, but he seemed to be learning the technique by trial and error. Not unlike Milton Erickson learning to walk, as described in my earlier article entitled Milton Erickson Learned to Walk as Tiger Woods Learns to play Better Golf.

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I’m really looking forward to watching Padraig getting back into his natural and instinctive unconscious golf swing at Bethpage Black this weekend in the US Open. With the narrow fairways and thick rough, let’s hope Padraig’s forgotten all about playing like Happy Gilmore!

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Thinking further on my recent post about Tiger Woods apparently using an unorthodox form of anger management, to help him release bad shots, got me thinking. The way we learn anything useful in life tends to be on the basis of trial and error. We try something new and it works, we learn from it. We try something new and it doesn’t work, we learn from that too – possibly even more,

Milton Erickson, the father of modern hypnotherapy, often used the story of how he learned to walk again, at the age of 18 after severe bout of Polio, by watching his baby sister learning to walk. He describes it in his book The February Man. …
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Giving my clients homework tasks to improve their golf and get the most effective results from golf hypnosis sessions is one of the keys to my success. It’s also something that I use to good effect with my clinical hypnotherapy clients as well. Homework can also be used very effectively with golf hypnosis recordings and with self-assigned tasks for self-hypnosis as well.

So what do I mean by Golf Hypnosis Homework

Well don’t worry; it’s not like going back to school. This homework is often just a task that changes your routine or increases your awareness of something you do …
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I was working with a client recently who wanted golf improvement without formal hypnosis for a destructive problem he had when playing golf. Let’s call him Alan for the sake of client confidentiality. I’ve changed a few other details as well for the same reason. Alan’s an enthusiast at everything he does – from work to golf to family. The priority sequence changes, but the enthusiasm’s consistent across all three. He’s also as honest and true to his friends as the day is long.

So let’s focus on golf. Well Alan’s a hard-working golfer, practising or playing most days, somehow. He has a good swing, is excellent around the greens and is an instinctively superb putter. He’s good at visualisation as well and practices stepping into the shoes of his golfing heroes. He often practices on his own with two balls – one played in his mind by Tiger Woods and the other by Jack Nicklaus. He also works hard on his physical fitness with long cross-country walks and almost daily workouts in the pool – whatever the weather.

Alan’s problem in golf is that he consistently scores much worse than he should due to unforced errors – accidents you could say …
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Scratch Golf Ball Rocket
Photo by Steve Jurvetson

I just seem to keep coming across different versions of what I suspect are a series of articles about hypnosis as a secret weapon for golf and I disagree most strongly with that – now that’s a surprise coming from me, the Golf Hypnotist!

Well, I fully agree with the idea of golf hypnosis as a secret weapon for better golf and I support many of the author’s opening arguments. If he’d put his name in the article, I’d even go so far as thanking him here.

Anyway, here’s some of what he says that I agree with …
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An anchor in NLP is a stimulus fired off by one or more simultaneous trigger signals using one or more of the 5 representational systems – visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, gustatory and olfactory. When fired, an anchor triggers a set of memories and the associated feelings, states, behaviours, reflex actions and unconscious programmes that were happening at the time the anchor was set.

A good example of Anchors in my own life comes from my late teenage years, when I went through a sad, lonely and confused phase. The feelings were strongest when I regularly walked along a sea wall on the East Coast quietly humming the latest Beatles record – Hey Jude. The whole repeated experience strongly anchored those memories to the song, the location, the feelings, the smell of the sea, the plants along the walk, the sounds of the boats, etc. Now 40 year’s later, the whole scene, the emotional feelings, all the smells, sounds, images and my state return whenever I experience one or more of those sensations. Sometimes it’s a mixed feeling, when one of the stimuli fires of another memory. If I hear the Hey Jude song, I get those sad feelings mixed with the pleasure of growing up in the 60’s and all those wonderful Beatles songs.

If these anchors can be set up automatically, as in the example above, I can set up anchors deliberately …
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