Understanding Advanced Hypnotic Language Patterns

A comprehensive guide

By: John Burton


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 234mm x 156mm
Pages : 232
ISBN : 9781845900328
Format: Hardback
Published: February 2007

This book is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Hypnotic Language, ISBN 1899836357 (click here to view this title, £29.50).

In this new volume the author provides more depth and also elaborates on the concepts that comprise hypnotic language. The core idea presented is that a person’s level of cognitive awareness significantly determines his functioning ability in life. In Understanding Advanced Hypnotic Language Patterns Burton shows therapists how to expand the client’s cognitive awareness, specifically the cognitive and perceptual processes involved in meaning making. In doing so, the therapist is more able to identify the specific awareness limitations of the client and identify the specific cognitive perceptual ingredients that make up the client’s problem. Drawing on this insight, the hypnotherapist can then construct hypnotic language patterns that go right to the client’s issues, invoking positive change. Numerous case examples are presented that include client assessments and dynamics, selecting and constructing hypnotic language patterns and applying the language patterns in therapy.

Picture for author John Burton

John Burton

John Burton, EdD LPC holds a Doctorate in Human Development Counseling from Vanderbilt University as well as a Masters in Clinical Psychology. He is licensed as a Professional Counselor, Counselor Supervisor and holds certificates as a NLP Master, Clinical Hypnotherapist, and Reiki Master. He currently maintains his own counseling practice with over 30 years of professional experience. He also conducts regular workshops in the U.S. for The Sacred Sequence and Clinical Hypnotherapy. Dr. Burton co-authored one book and was sole author for two other books published by Crown House.


  1. I pick up a book and find myself wishing that I had written it.

    Understanding Hypnotic Language Patterns is just such a book. Well-researched and explained in simple terms it will become a must on the reading list of anyone who recognises the importance of understanding how the subconscious mind reacts to semantics.
  2. Understanding Advanced Hypnotic Language Patterns is a concise and accessible guide to a specialist subject and provides new perspectives in relation to the application of advanced NLP.

    The author successfully bridges the gap between communication theory and practice and demonstrates how 'language scripts' can be applied to complex counselling situations.

    Written in clear non-technical language this highly readable text will be recommended reading for advanced level NLP students and in fact anyone who seeks to understand the many factors involved hypnotic language patterns.

    This welcome book simplifies and explains the key steps involved in using hypnotic scripts and provides a useful guide and resource for those who already have a broad understanding of NLP but want to further explore it's possibilities as a change agent.

    The potential readership of the book is broad but it will be particularly useful for practitioners in the field of healthcare and psychotherapy. The author considers both the strengths and the shortcomings of the NLP model and identifies potential barriers to applying the techniques.
  3. This book is a follow-up to -˜Hypnotic Language'.

    Not having read this earlier work 1 feel unable to shed much light on how this new book moves on from the first.

    In this volume, the author takes us on a journey exploring the different -˜perceptual positions' a client may be taking, e.g. the -˜egocentric position'. He demonstrates how such a position will affect the client's experience of life or problems they are encountering.

    After exploring such a position, whilst drawing on styles such as Piaget and Gestalt, the author gives an example of the hypnotic language he would use to help move the client forward and help change their perspective or -˜perceptual position'. A great wordsmith, this is where Burton comes into his own, frequently injecting humour into the scripts. He addresses one client who held a belief, -˜everybody tells me it (her life) will never work' with a script including the following: - -˜Just who is this everybody' anyway, five people? How many of the Chinese are of this opinion? What about the Russians and the people living in the Middle East' - Priceless!

    He then moves on to examples of hypnotic language scripts set out in four different sections addressing: emotional states, perception, time and behaviour. However, this is not set out simply as a collection of scripts. This book clearly advocates the fine tuning and tailoring of language, encouraging the therapist to encompass the broad spectrum of a clients own experiences, wishes and needs into hypnotic language.

    One excellent chapter discusses smoking cessation. Rather than focusing purely on health risks etc. the author digs deep into the states the client may experience prior to lighting a cigarette and the altered states they may wish to achieve by lighting up. In one example he demonstrates the use of hypnotic language to guide the client to a highly pleasant state demonstrating they can achieve such a state without reaching for a cigarette.

    1 would not say the book was an -˜easy' read. For me, the highly detailed descriptions could be perplexing at first glance - however, 1 would then find the scripted examples of hypnotic language would help click my understanding into place.

    It would be easy to summarise the book's theme as -˜expanding a client's cognitive awareness through the use of hypnotic language'. However, that would only pay lip-service to the treasure trove of ideas and hypnotic language techniques that can be found within.
  4. Understanding Hypnotic Language Patterns by John Burton (co-author of Hypnotic Language: Its Structure and Use, published in 2000) is a valuable resource for any therapist interested in cognitive processes, hypnotic language patterns and how to combine both to facilitate client change. It contains a considerable fund of information and inspiration, with scripts, metaphors, stories and case studies complementing the theoretical sections.

    The book can be divided into three parts: The first three chapters focus on thinking styles (the continuum of awareness), levels of perception (Gestalt categories of framing) and cognitive development levels (as identified by Piaget). The second part is a collection of case studies and scripts addressing emotional states, perception, time, and behaviour. Unfortunately the interventions dealing with emotional states and behaviour are not set up in the first part and therefore seem disconnected from the rest of the book. The third part is a very useful compilation of Milton Erickson's hypnotic language patterns.

    The principal purpose of hypnotic language, according to Burton's book, is “to assist clients into a trance for the purpose of examining the contents of a particular focus, allowing the client then to adjust the contents, meaning, and influence in their life”. Thus, hypnotic language is not only a tool to introduce a trance state but also a point of entry into a client's logic and a vehicle to change this (problematic) logic through reframing, creating dissonance, distorting time, opening up uncertainty, re-categorizing, dissociating, to name just a few. The principal purpose of counselling or psychotherapy, following Burton's approach, is “to help move a person's awareness from a narrower to a broader perspective”. *

    Burton describes three forms of hypnotic language: the first addresses the cognitive aspects of a person's experience. The second form is a metaphorical way of communicating with the unconscious mind. And the third type of hypnotic language brings in a needed resource to the problem situation.

    Although appearing rather academic to start with and not always easy to read, Burton's book offers a lot of practical value, and its principles can easily be integrated into a variety of therapy styles.

    To give just one example: Transductive Logic entails believing that en event closely preceeding another in time, regardless of relationship, causes the second event (an erroneous causal link exists here). Someone who combines transductive logic with egocentricity believes they cause other people's behaviour and that their behaviour is about them. Through inductive logic an abused person may ironically come to believe they are -˜bad' because the other person is misbehaving! An example of a statement driven by transductive logic is: “Every time I care about someone they leave me.” Burton suggests loosing the logic by asking: “So do those people you don't care about stay with you, and have YOU ever LEFT anybody who CARES about YOU? But you think that your care causes people to leave you and this tempts you to abandon your care, leaving you with a void, which is a feeling you really want to a-void leaving your care, because caring never made anyone lea,-e. And if you could really cause people to leave, then you could also cause people to stay, now couldn't you? So this only proves that you neither cause people to leave nor stay, so your care is not guilty and you can keep )-our care and leave your worry to feel more care not worrying about caring. Why not let your care take care of you? Regularly fill yourself with care and then extend this outward to others. It's just sharing, with no obligation. you know? And now how do you feel about your caring, knowing it does not make people leave?”
  5. How good is it, that as you read this now I'm sure you'll be wondering what differences and similarities this book contains, and it has plenty of them? The author takes a top down look, very aptly, using the Gestalt model of perception, showing how these universal laws of perception track across form visual perception to linguistic perception. The minds constant search for meaning, or more accurately the minds constant inclination to create meaning, is the mechanism explained here by which the use of hypnotic language patterns you will enjoy when you read this book. That always helps more doesn't it?

    The final section looks at the Milton model, this is the identification of all the linguistic nuts and bolts tools for creating high quality communication with the sub-(un - ?) conscious mind. Around a dozen simple techniques are used to create almost the entire language structure of hypnotic communication helps you to enjoy understanding the way to change things for the better. For example on technique often used in jokes is to have a word or phrase that has two meanings, this is called the “phonetic ambiguity'. Incidentally, reading this book will give you a new appreciation of verbal comedy won't you? I've begun to notice it makes up the majority of the Two Ronnies comedy for instance (four candles / fork handles). Only one interpretation can be perceived by the consciousness at any one time, the other meaning goes straight into your (you are) unconscious.

    The central and largest portion of the book comprises many sample scripts along with their respective deconstructions through both the top-down and bottom-up models of hypnotic language. These “scripts' are very useful for learning the improvisational art of using hypnotic language, but only from time to time are they appropriate for use as simple read-off consulting room scripts ” but that's not what this book is about. This book is happiest outside the consulting room because the tran-scripts really go some way to show how the use of hypnotic language truly is an art form, best practised spontaneously and client specific. The transcript section is divided into only a few chapters such as “emotions, perceptions, time, behaviours, smoking' but they would have benefited from having each individual script denoted on the contents page.

    I know this book played a large part in my transition from response less script-reading therapist to the hypnotic language factory I am today. Some of the transcripts are so dense in their use of the language patterns that you will find it more difficult to read that section straight though finding that you are trancing out no matter whether you decide to read the script first or the linguistic rules.
  6. I found this book to be incredibly well structured and well researched. The author leads you through the ideas easily and with straight forward discussion and explanation. Later, in the second half of the book, there are examples of how the language patterns are put into practice in a variety of case studies,
  7. I really liked John Burton's book Hypnotic Language and this follow-up book didn't disappoint me either.

    Coming mainly from a cognitive standpoint, John explains how experience is categorised and sorted, and how our thinking shapes our behaviour and lives. There are several comprehensive case studies included to highlight the ideas in this book and also many scripts covering a wide range of issues to help professional to understand how to use the philosophies contained between the covers.

    John Burton provides a clear and thoughtful exploration of hypnotic language and this is a book that should be on your shelf.

    **** (4 out of 5)
  8. Dr. Burton's conceptualization that our perceptions bind our awareness to the resources or problems we find real in our daily life, is a brilliantly written and much-needed contribution to the field. His contribution regarding how we chunk and categorize experience is pragmatically useful to all therapists. I think every psychotherapist should read this book and learn how they can advance the field of therapy by applying its concepts.

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