In Conversational Hypnosis the term future memories is a useful and important principal. This is yet another powerful and very useful tool that will assist you in creating resolutions to the problems that the people around you are experiencing.
Future memories can help a person set out how they would realistically handle the problem that they are experiencing, in a way they tell you how to solve their dilemma and you help them to put that into action by installing the future memory as if it were a true event.
Another way to look at future memories is that it is a point in the middle between the PCAT Formula and the suggestions you will drop in for the actual resolution of the problem. It is a very powerful tool that you should learn to use well as it will help you in your practices.
Dr. Milton Erickson was a big fan of future memories. He would often take the clients that he was unsure of how to help and move them into an altered state of mind. In this hypnosis he would propel them into the future where their problem was already solved and then simply ask them what they did to solve the problem.
In doing this Dr. Erickson was basically getting an overview of how to solve the problem straight from the person with the problem themselves. After have attained the information of how they imagined they had overcome their problems he would simply use that as the plan of action to conquer the problem and work it into the suggestion phases of their sessions.
Future memories are a sneaky sort of way in finding out how to resolve an issue or set of issues that a person is having. The fact that they are essentially coming up with the answers to their problems themselves is a little like cheating, but can be very useful when you are unsure of how to proceed with a particular person and their problem.
You may be wondering how the unconscious mind knows how to solve the problem yet has not put that into action yet. Part of this is simply because the problems have not been attached to the solutions that you have from other experiences that you will recall more clearly in a well led hypnosis.
Future memories are a way that the hypnotist can create an imagined future and then lead the person to it by way of formatting the unconscious mind with the right steps to take. The process of future memories lay the path to the solution which will come in your suggestions to the unconscious can take action on the false memory and make it a real memory.
There are some specific skills that you can use in order to apply the concept of future memories. The three skills that you will involve in these processes are stories, direct suggestions and leading questions.
The first future memory tactic is to use your story telling skills in order to get what you want. You have read about this several times and you know how to tell great stories already so this should be an easy concept to apply. Use a story or set of stories to bring a future memory into the unconscious of the person you are working with.
The second tactic for future memories is to use direct suggestions. This is again something you have been doing and learning all along through your training in Conversational Hypnosis. In the idea of direct suggestions you can use it in a very direct manner such as first getting them into the future then simply stating the memory or suggesting it.
You can also use a still direct but less direct approach of techniques such as the ‘my friend John/Jane’ to call to mind a future memory. The only catch with any of these is you must first be sure to get your subject into a future state of mind or the memory won’t really be a future memory.
The final tactic that you will want to apply in using future memories is to ask leading questions. These are simply questions that will lead the person into the future and get them to thinking about how they would or how they could handle the problem. You will want to use questions that are phrased in a certain way, these are ‘as if’ questions.
Some good examples are ‘what would it be like if…’ or ‘imagine what has happened after this is solved’ and finally ‘what happens when…’ These are all questions that will take your listener into the future and get them to start visualizing how things will look when the problem is solved and how they may go about getting to that point.
The language patterns here are all going to get your subject oriented toward the future. You can use techniques that will also look back on the problem from a time when you know it will have already been solved. If you can estimate that in a year this will all be resolved then ask them how things will be or seem a year from now.
As you use future memories it is important to keep in mind to use your sensory rich language as much as possible. Your descriptions and language needs to create a clear future memory so that it is clear when it is accessed. You should also use curiosity to your advantage, the more curious you seem about the future and how the problem will be solved the more interested and curious the listener will be.
Now the more you work with future memories the more you will begin to realize that it is better to offer many different solutions rather than just one. Remember you are outlining how to solve the problem, most problems will have more than one way to resolve and giving options will better the chances for choice and success. As you get good at this you can include double binds in the process so the person feels they are getting different options, but there is really only one choice to choose from.
Future memories should seem like real memories to the person you are working with. The only catch is they haven’t quite taken place yet. Make your memories believable and attainable, a regular memory is not going to be something they could never do as it is by definition something they have already done or accomplished.