The Milton Model

Milton Model Selectional restriction violation

A selectional restriction violation is a Milton Model hypnosis pattern. It’s about giving things and beings human qualities they can’t by definition possess. Trees cannot feel sad and men can’t get pregnant. Rocks aren’t actually pets.

tomato-plantThe person’s unconscious mind then needs to find some way to make sense out of statements like this so may apply the statement to itself. Trees can’t feel sad, so this must relate to me. The man can’t be pregnant so it must be a metaphor.

A butterfly takes its time coming out of the cocoon; it knows there’s no rush. The tortoise keeps going, knowing it will get there in the end as long as it perseveres.

When creating metaphors, we often use this pattern. It is a powerful way to induce trance – we can’t use logic and normal conscious processes, so the unconscious has to deal with it. The unconscious knows you are not really discussing butterflies but something to do with the problem.

Milton Erickson once used this pattern with a terminal cancer patient. “A tomato plant can feel good, Joe”

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