During 1978 and 1979, Drs. Terry Argast, Richard Landis and Gary Ruelas visited Milton H. Erickson, M.D. at his home in Phoenix, Arizona, to study hypnotic techniques and methods. Drs. Argast, Landis and Ruelas brought audio and video equipment and taped Dr. Erickson to study his methods in depth.
For hours on end, Dr. Erickson would lecture, give anecdotes and discuss his methods by case examples. Every so often, Dr. Erickson would masterfully put one of them in trance, but his methods were so subtle that they needed to be studied carefully to understand how he elicited such phenomena so quickly. Finally, following repeated requests, Dr. Erickson decided to give a formal trance demonstration. Dr. Erickson chose as his subject Dr. Terry Argast and on December 8, 1978, he provided what is now recognized as one of the best archival audio-visual examples of trance demonstration by Dr. Erickson.
In 1980, Dr. Erickson passed away. As a result, all of this video material went into storage and was not viewed again for a number of years. In 1985, Dr. Ruelas began viewing the video tapes and determined that this particular piece would make a valuable teaching tool. The doctors began to transcribe Dr. Erickson’s “Trance Demonstration.” Finally, in 1986, following months of viewing and reviewing the video, the final transcription was completed. Dr. Ruelas, with technical support, then added subtitles to enhance its quality as a learning tool.
The recorded demonstration with these subtitles was first shown in 1986 at the Third International Ericksonian Congress. Although response was overwhelmingly positive, Drs. Argast, Landis and Ruelas were dissatisfied with the audio portion of the presentation. In 1990, Dr. Landis re-discovered an original audio portion of this particular session. The audio had been taped separately but simultaneously with the video taping. The audio portion was taken from a lapel microphone that Dr. Erickson was wearing. In 1991, the taped audio portion was re-dubbed onto the video portion of the teaching tape, Now, You Wanted A Trance Demonstrated Today, to complete the final presentation. Subsequent portions were also redubbed and offered as the audio and video teaching materials presented in this series.
In addition to this demonstration and analysis and other case studies and discussions with Dr. Erickson recorded by Drs. Argast, Landis, and Ruelas, SCSEPH was granted permission to offer recordings from the Edwin Yager collection that include the recording of a private training workshop presented by Dr. Erickson in 1960 and additional presentations on general anesthesia and using hypnosis with children.