Posts Tagged ‘Erickson’

The following was a Christmas gift from Mrs. Erickson to Jeff Zeig in 1986. Mrs. Erickson wrote this to Zeig, penned by hand.

It is her account of Milton Erickson’s extraordinary talent in being able to diagnosis a psychiatric patient by looking at the art he or she produced:

“Milton was always deeply interested in the manner in which neurotic and psychotic symptomatology, and ways of experiencing and interpreting the world, were manifested in the artistic productions of the artist. → Read more

By Allan Erickson Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes, 57 seconds  With comment by Betty Alice Erickson

Recently, I was in Gent, Belgium talking about my father’s early career work. I was shocked by the myths and misconceptions that seem to have been perpetuated about my father. I was stunned to discover that my father is often viewed as physically feeble by a large percentage of his followers. From the perceptions expressed, it seems that most of the people who are writing books and giving talks about my father met him in the 1970s when he was confined to a wheelchair and had changed his practice to align with his physical limitations. This perspective has clouded the true picture of how my father was when he was younger. I remember my father quite differently; he was a vigorous man. The following story sheds light on my view. → Read more

By Steve Andreas, MA Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes, 57 seconds 

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 coworkers. 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 “codependence,” 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.

Cathy’s sense of herself was still wobbly and unclear, and she often felt numb, as if she were “just going through the motions,” and she wanted to feel “solid in my skin.” My colleague knew that one of my specialties was working with self-concept, so she asked me to do a session with Cathy while she observed. → Read more

Pictured: From L to R Carl Whitaker, John Weakland, Jay Haley and Carlos Sluzki

The following was presented by Jay Haley in December 1980 at the First International Congress on Ericksonian Approaches to Hypnosis and Psychotherapy:

I have published my views of Erickson’s therapy extensively, but to me he remains a mysterious person. In hundreds of hours talking together, I explored his life and work; yet I know him less well than other men I have associated with more briefly. Having learned many of his therapy techniques, I applied them in my practice and teaching. Not a day passes that I do not use something that I learned from Erickson in my work.

Erickson was by no means secretive about his work…For many years he gave seminars and workshops to large audiences in this country and abroad. He wrote over one hundred publications. Thousands of visitors came to talk with him, individually and in groups. His lectures, demonstrations, and conversations have been recorded more than those of any other clinician. He gave generously of himself and his knowledge to anyone who was interested. Although Erickson liked to show you that you still had much to learn, he did not attempt to be mysterious or obscure. Often, he was frustrated when his ideas were only partially understood…I don’t know how many times over the years I asked him why he did something in therapy, and he answered, “That’s obvious.” I would say, “Milton, it’s not obvious,” and I pursued him only to find a new and unexpected complexity in his thinking.

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By Betty Alice Erickson Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes, 58 seconds 

These rules were compiled by Milton Erickson’s daughter, Betty Alice Erickson. It should be noted that these are not going to be found elsewhere in the Ericksonian literature. You are getting them here, exclusively, at www.Ericksonian.info. These are ten “Rules of Life” that Milton Erickson lived by and taught his children.

These are not “Presuppositions of Ericksonian Hypnotherapy and Psychology.” These are the rules of life that Milton himself lived by and were, arguably, the backbone of his philosophy. And, because they are rules like “what goes up, must come down,” they are essentially true whether you like them or not.

As Betty Alice put it “Nobody has to follow them, but rules of life, of physics, exist regardless of whether or not you believe in or follow them. People can’t flap their arms and fly. Believe it or not.”

 

Milton Erickson’s innovative way of working with people is legendary. But like the childhood game of “telephone” where the end result is often far from the original message, some of what he believed and taught is not true to him. Years ago, my mother and I were discussing that. We were both distressed that so much of what he was, what he did, was being so misunderstood, so different than his basic beliefs. Nobody was doing it on purpose; it was just that nowhere was there basic information about his core beliefs. So my mother and I wrote “ten rules.” They seem simple, and they are. But most of life, Most of therapy, is simple–or as I say, when I am teaching Daddy’s work: “Erickson was profoundly simple and simply profound.”

 

1. Life is hard work.

We all know this—but we don’t know how deep it really is. We are the only creature on earth who looks for hard work. Nothing else climbs a mountain “because it’s there” as George Mallory is famously quoted. No other living thing trains for a marathon—to run 26 miles faster than someone else merely for fun. People are hard-wired for hard work—we complete one task and look for another.”

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By Terry Argast, Ph.D. Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes, 44 seconds 

Juanita was a 31-year-old Marriage and Family Intern who had twice failed the oral examination for her license. She wanted hypnosis to reveal sabotaging herself so she could pass her orals. We would only have time for one session.

Juanita had no prior experience with hypnosis. I asked to get in touch with the body sensations she experiences when she was in the oral exam. She was able to do this easily. I then had her focus all of her attention on this feeling. I had her imagine that she was inside her body, inside that feeling and then I asked her to turn the feeling or sensation into a room so that when she was inside that room, she was inside the feeling.  I  then asked her to imagine a doorway at the end of the room, a doorway to an elevator. I had her get in the elevator and imagine it going down as she went back in time, back to a  time in the past when she had the same feeling. When she got there the elevator door would open and she would share with me the contents of what she became aware of.

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By Terry Argast, PhD Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes, 28 seconds

Rick was a 17- year- old boy who had stuttered since he started to speak. He and his mother came to Arizona from Massachusetts to see Erickson, who said, “I took one look at the mother, and Rick and I recognized the ethnic group.” He got a history. The parents were both from a certain community in Lebanon. They came to the United States and married and became citizens. Erickson explained, “Now, in that culture, man is a lot higher than God, and woman is a low lower than low. Now, a man’s children live with him, and as long as they live with him, he is an absolute dictator. And girls are a nuisance. You try to get them married and off your hands because girls and women are fit for only two things–hard work and breeding. And the first child of the marriage should be a boy. If it isn’t a boy the man says, ‘I divorce you,’ three times, and even if his bride brought a million dollars in dowry, her husband confiscates it…Because the first child should be a boy.”

In this case, Rick was the third child with two older sisters. Erickson continued, “Rick was broad-shouldered and sturdy, about 5’10” and his father was 6′ and slender. So Rick was an insult also, not only because he was the third child, but because he didn’t resemble his father.” → Read more

By Steve Andreas Estimated Running Time: 6 minutes, 21 seconds 

When children paint the sun, they often draw a circle with rays coming out. You’ve all seen that; you probably did it yourself when you were young. A year or so later, a child might paint the sun partly behind clouds. Several years later, they might paint rays coming out from the clouds, but the sun is not visible — what a friend of mine calls a “God sunset.” Even subtler is to paint only the scattered reflection of sunlight on water. An accomplished artist doesn’t paint the sun at all but suggests where the sun is by painting a tree with a little more light on one side than the other, and a subtle shadow to indicate the sun’s location. I think that’s a good metaphor for implication: indicating something without ever explicitly stating it. One of my favorite quotes is: “The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.” (Ralph W. Sockman) Knowledge and wonder are stated; the ocean of ignorance is implied.

On the first page of the first volume of Conversations with Milton H. Erickson, (in which the word “implication” appears about every third page) Jay Haley says, “I have a whole week, so I suspect I can learn all about psychotherapy in that time. I wouldn’t expect that anywhere else but here.” Erickson laughs and says, “Well, we can have our dreams.” That’s a polite way of implying, “You are wildly optimistic!” → Read more

By Joel Samuels, MD Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes, 26 seconds 

Stone carving transformed my life of chronic pain, depression, and drug dependency into a life of renewed vitality with the ability to work, dance, and feel whole again.

After 25 years of working as an emergency room physician, I underwent several back surgeries, which resulted in many hours of physical therapy and treatments with never-ending pain and limited mobility; my life was reduced to bed rest and hot baths. So, I pursued several treatment options, including tapping into my creativity as a way of healing chronic pain. → Read more

mother and son

Jan 29

Heroes

By Jhassel Arellanes, LPC Estimated reading time: 9 minutes, 17 seconds

Every boy has heroes. Growing up, I found mine on TV and in comic books, but what I didn’t realize then was that my biggest hero was an arm’s length away.

I was born on an October afternoon, and my mother says that I was much anticipated. She suffered no pain during labor, and after giving birth, the doctor released her two hours later. → Read more