Home PageBlogBook Review: The Anatomy of Experiential Impact Through Ericksonian Therapy

By Jeffrey K. Zeig, Ph.D.

Reviewed by Roxanna Erickson-Klein, RN, Ph.D.

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 37 seconds

The Anatomy of Experiential Impact Through Ericksonian Therapy is one in a trilogy written by Jeffrey Zeig. The other two books in the trilogy — The Induction of Hypnosis (2014), and Psychoaerobics (2015) — emphasize different elements of the psychotherapeutic connection, but I enjoyed The Anatomy of Experiential Impact the most. Each of the three books stand on their own in content but reading them in sequence has greater impact and offers the reader more insight.

In the Preface of The Anatomy of Experiential Impact, Zeig recalls his own professional journey. In 1973, after earning his master’s degree in clinical psychology, he met Milton Erickson, and that meeting changed the trajectory of his life in ways that were unimaginable to him at that time. Even today, 45 years later, Zeig continues to be fresh and full of ideas, and hungry for wisdom to fulfill a greater vision. What seemed beyond reach to him in 1973, has been surpassed many times over, more quickly and expansively than initially envisioned. Now it is Zeig who reaches out to those who seek wisdom, and he offers this by artistically drawing from his own experiences. His deep familiarity with the concepts and expansive awareness of other approaches to psychotherapy, as well as his artistry as a teacher, come together with his vision and clarity to offer his students and intellectual heirs the best of Erickson — past and present.

This book is fundamentally Ericksonian — meaning that it is based on the principle ideas of Milton Erickson — but it also goes beyond Erickson’s foundations and style. Zeig does a beautiful job of graciously crediting Erickson for all that he learned, although he has developed his own perspective on what Erickson taught and puts those ideas into a pragmatic form. Zeig uses a plethora of ways to explain the concepts in this book — through models, examples, exercises, constructions and deconstructions, discussions, comparisons, reflections, and even a transcript. Each approach offers different facets of the larger whole. Readers are given a buffet of choices from which to learn. What shines throughout this book, and the entire series is Zeig’s strong intellect and his exceptional ability to absorb new ideas, ponder a diverse input of phenomenological perspectives, and bring together opportunities to learn. And, his depth and clarity in doing this is rare.

At 269 pages, this book is surprisingly comprehensive. Zeig efficiently ties together his explanations of hypnosis, therapy models, and Ericksonian principles. Both the seasoned clinician and novice can glean information, food for thought, and ideas and techniques to enhance clinical practice. Erickson became more efficient with age, and it is evident that Zeig also illustrates the beauty of honing and refining what he has learned over the years.

What is presented in this book may seem simple and perhaps easy, but it is Zeig’s mastery that creates such an impression.

The Anatomy of Experiential Impact Through Ericksonian Therapy is part of The Empowering Experiential Therapy Series, which can be found here.


This book review has been extracted from Volume 38, Issue No. 1 of The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter.

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