Rubin Battino, MS

Pauses, Poetry, and Passion

Clients come to see us because they are stuck. So, our job as therapists is to provide them with choices in how they interpret stimuli in their lives and how they react based on that interpretation. A client typically says "I can't." Our job is to change that to "I won't." That is, to change what they think of as involuntary behavior to voluntary behavior. People are more suggestible in the hypnotic state. In hypnosis and out we make many suggestions, most generally via metaphors in the stories we tell them. Since there are a myriad of suggestions, which ones do they pick? Clients tend to pick and run with an idea or suggestion that matches their unique lives and needs. If you talk all of the time, then they have no time for processing these new ideas. Generally, novice therapists and hypnotherapists talk too much! It is important to put many pauses in what you are saying so that the client can explore and expand upon particular nuggets that they are hearing.

It has been said of Erickson that he was a master of the precise use of vague language. Poetry is also the precise use of vague language in that the poet gives us "images" that we convert uniquely with respect to our own lives, feelings, and needs. A hypnosis session without poetry is like a sandwich with nothing between the slices of bread. Somehow, manage to fit poetic images and snatches of poetry into your sessions.

If you are not passionate about what you are doing, if you do not believe congruently in what you do, why should your client have any faith or trust in you? There is a place for "passion" in therapy.

Rubin Battino received his master's degree in mental health counseling in 1978. (He has spent most of his professional life as a professor of chemistry, and still does some work in that area.) Since retiring from the university in 1995 he has written a bunch of books on psychotherapy. The two that are of the most interest to those working in the hypnosis field are: Ericksonian Approaches: A Comprehensive Manual (2005, with T.L. South); and That's Right, Is Is Not? A play about the life of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. (2008).

Rubin has a private practice in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Human Services at Wright State University. He is president of the Milton H. Erickson Society of Dayton, and was co-chair of an ad hoc committee to establish certification standards for training in Ericksonian hypnotherapy for the Milton H. Erickson Foundation. Rubin has done workshops and training both in the U.S. and overseas.