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Stengel, E. (1956). Time Distortion in Hypnosis: By Linn F. Cooper and Milton H. Erickson. (Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins; London: Bailliere, Tindall and Cox, 1954. Pp. 192. 31 s. 6 d.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 37:497.

(1956). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 37:497

Time Distortion in Hypnosis: By Linn F. Cooper and Milton H. Erickson. (Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins; London: Bailliere, Tindall and Cox, 1954. Pp. 192. 31 s. 6 d.)

Review by:
E. Stengel

Time distortion in dreams is well known; a period of seconds or less may be experienced as very much longer and may be crowded with events. The same phenomenon was produced experimentally in the hypnotic state by the first-named of the authors. He distinguished 'experiential' from 'world time', and 'seeming duration' from 'clock reading'. Subjects were trained in producing trance states with time distortions. Then they were assigned definite tasks which they had to hallucinate. The experiments suggested that it was possible, by means of time distortion, for a subject to experience a stipulated number of events in a clock time interval of the experimenter's choosing.

Milto H. Erickson reports on the clinical and therapeutic application of time distortion, which he found to offer a method by which access could be gained to the experiential life of the patient. He succeeded in making the patient re-experience events in very short periods. One of his patients 'had in 20 seconds achieved a sufficiently comprehensive recollection of her life history to be able to see it in meaningful perspective'. When accompanied by catharsis this process appeared of therapeutic value in several cases. The author is cautious in the evaluation of his observations, but he believes 'time therapy' to be worthy of extensive study. It is to be hoped that the remarkable experiments reported in this book will be repeated in many places. Even if their therapeutic use should prove disappointing they deserve most careful study.

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