A private girl’s school nearby my office referred a sophomore named Lana to my practice because of missed classes and academic problems.
Normally when a girl this age comes to a professional for the first time, she pays attention to her appearance. But Lana’s hair was disheveled, her sweat suit looked like it needed a trip to the washing machine, and her sneakers were worn. Her clothing was too big, meant to camouflage her weight. She was definitely not comfortable in her skin. If one looked closer, underneath all this baggage was an attractive, intelligent young lady. → Read more
Perhaps the most useful of Erickson’s remarkable techniques is the concept of utilization. Utilization harnesses the language and experience of the client. It allows clients to use their own knowledge, strengths and skills to explore useful solutions to their own problems. As such it is well suited to working with clients like the adolescent described below, who may not be particularly interested in “therapy” or in “self-examination.” → Read more
Cathy was a 55–year-old single client of a colleague. Her initial complaint was that, although she was very competent in her work, she repeatedly raged at her boss and at co- workers. It soon emerged that she had a history of sexual abuse from her father, and had a very difficult time separating her own experience from others. Hence, it was hard for her to know her own needs, and defend herself from the expectations and intrusions from others. She showed what is often called “co-dependence,” or “enmeshment.” My colleague had done a lot of work with her intermittently over a period of several years, and she had made a lot of progress, but they had reached a plateau. → Read more