From Therapeutic Metaphors & Clinical Hypnosis, by David Puchol Esparza:
[Milton] Erickson told many stories and told them to a variety of clients. As he said of his treatment for a young, anorexic girl, “My treatment for Barbie was to tell her short stories, metaphors, suspenseful stories, intriguing stories, boring stories. I told her all kinds of stories, little stories” (Zeig, 1980). He illustrated the experiences he wanted his clients to retrieve as they fixated their attention upon the dramatic aspects of an unfolding story line about someone else. Clients were free to create their own meaning from the stimulus offered and even have learnings too painful for the conscious mind to tolerate. After all, it was “only a story.”
As such, metaphor can be considered an altered framework through which a client is free to entertain novel experiences.
To an outsider not extensively trained in hypnotherapy, it would undoubtedly have appeared that Erickson’s stories were “aimless rambling.” Yet somehow Erickson’s clients got results. (Despite him?)