History of Embedded Commands
Embedded commands were first discovered by Dr. Milton Erickson early in his career in psychotherapy. During this phase of his life he was working in a mental hospital and in a wing that specialized in patients who were schizophrenic. In the schizophrenic ward there were many patients who spoke what Erickson described as “word salad”. Instead of forming coherent sentences they would simply spout one unrelated word after another into a sort of word salad that made no sense to anyone listening. Erickson began to wonder what the motivation behind such speech was and hypothesized that there was a coherent message embedded within these random speech patterns.
In order to test his hypothesis Erickson devise and experiment. He too began speaking word salad when talking to these patients that spoke like this. He spoke a mix of random words but slipped in some very intentional commands that he marked by changing his tone of voice on those words. When he communicated with these patients he would sit and talk with them both speaking nonsense word salad while Erickson embedded commands such as “speak correctly” and “Talk right” into his salad.
The results were outstanding on one occasion while Erickson was having a word salad with a patient who had been speaking this way for years the patient suddenly stopped and looked at Erickson and said “Talk right Doctor, I can’t understand you”. This was the first time this patient had formed a coherent sentence since his admission into the hospital and thus embedded commands were born.
Development of Embedded Commands
After Erickson success with schizophrenic patients he decided to devise another experiment to see how these embedded commands would work on normal people hidden within everyday normal conversation. At this time he had a secretary who suffered from frequent migraine headaches. These headaches were made worse by having to take dictation and often times were so bad that she had to go home. Ericson waited till a day when his secretary had a particularly bad migraine then asked her to come take some dictation that he needed done urgently.
During the dictation Erickson cleverly weaved in embedded commands such as “free from pain”, “feeling great”, etc. into the dictation. He marked these words from the rest by changing his tone of voice or pausing before and/or after stating the command. Within minutes the secretary noticed that her headache had completely resolved. This happened on several more occasions and the headache always resolved within minutes.
On one particular afternoon the secretary had a horrible headache and thought “I always feel better when I take dictation” so she sought out Dr. Erickson to see if he needed any done. He was not in the office that day so she went and found someone else and them if she could take some dictation for them. They agreed and within minutes her headache was worse than ever. She thought that perhaps it was something in the words Erickson used. So she went and got an old document that Erickson had dictated to her earlier and had someone read that to her. No success. The difference was the marking of the embedded commands. It was not just the words that were important it was the way the embedded commands were given or the way they were marked to stand out.
Analog Marking Within Embedded Commands
Marking the embedded commands you use is called analog marking and this can be achieve in a number of ways. You simply make a word or command stand out from the rest of your conversation. This is a subtle thing and is never noticed consciously. You can change the tone of your voice when you say the command words. You can make eye contact when you say them and look away on other words. You can raise your hand when you say them. You can pause before. You can pause after or you can pause before and after. There is no correct way, there are a million ways.
In fact there are so many ways that Milton Erickson was famous for using multiple levels of embedded commands. He may lower his voice and give you embedded commands concerning self confidence while at the same time pausing before and after commands to stop smoking. At the same time he would make eye contact with you or touch your hand while giving embedded commands to go into a trance state. This is an amazing task. How he kept up with each one and used them all simultaneously all while telling a humorous story.
Using Embedded Commands
Embedded commands are constructed so that the outcome that you desire is contained within it. When embedding a command first think of the command that you wish to give to the person who you are talking to. For example if you wanted people to register for your marketing course then the command word would be register. When you give the command use analog marking in some way to mark that word for the unconscious mind.
Here is an example of how we can use embedded commands to embed the command register into a sentence: (We will drop our tone on the embedded commands)
You can – register - right now for our three day coaching course and receive the benefits -Now-.
When embedding a command you want to choose less than five words at a time to embed. Commands are almost always given as short, sharp statements like “Stop that” or “Help me”. So keep the embedded commands short and simple they should contain as few words as possible. When you first start using this technique it feels like it is obvious to you that you are using embedded commands and you think other people will notice. I promise you they won’t and I encourage you to go out and try to get caught. Go out with some friends and practice this and go over board. Drastically change your tone of voice on your commands and analog mark them with some flare and see if anyone notices. They won’t. So go out and practice your embedded commands with peace of mind knowing this is a covert technique that gets amazing results.
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