Posts Tagged ‘MDIV’

By Marta Campillo, MA

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 29 seconds

A concerned father brought his 7- year-old daughter to psychotherapy because she had recently started to have tantrums, was very unhappy and moody, and answered badly when spoken to. She was not sleeping well and she refused to go to school. During the first play therapy session, she told me that before she had always liked school where she sang, laughed, and enjoyed playing with her friends. Now she felt sad and scared. She said, “My father would not love me anymore.” She feared she would no longer be her father’s “princess.” Her brother was born last month and now she felt her family was not the same.

The present story used a metaphor about “The Heart” and it was narrated during that first session. I ask her to close her eyes while she listened to a story.

“I am going to tell you a story that comes from old legends about life. This is a story about how each one of us, in that place where life is created, was given a heart, and life with it.” I asked her to place her hands together, palm to palm, and softly I opened them and told her: “This is your heart: a unique and irreplaceable place in the universe”…living for you, loving you, creating, and enjoying all that you do and want. And as you imagine your heart, you can feel it beating within your hands and can softly place it in your chest. This heart represents your vital essence, that which allows you to live, it creates all the possibilities to learn, to love, to imagine, to be all that you can become, to suffer and overcome hardships, to learn and to create alternatives to improve your life and what you want to be.”

The story continued on, narrating in detail many of the possibilities of that unique journey that is life, using indirect language, “yes sets,” truisms, and presuppositions. It included embedded suggestions about the uniqueness of her life/heart so that she can make her life grow, enjoying it, and she can teach her heart all the good things that she needs to be strong and independent. I emphasized that her heart occupies a unique and irreplaceable place that only can be occupied by her own heart. I also said, “You are the keeper of this heart that is life within you, to care for, to protect it and make it grow.”

The story explains that we are born and continue to grow, and even though we do not remember that moment where we were given life, the strength of the love for life can be felt in everything we enjoy. At the same time, the young girl was asked to imagine all the things she has learned to enjoy and to feel the love generated when discovering relationships with other family members and children, school, play or nature. Also described with indirect language are other steps to take to be able to learn ways of overcoming pain or problems, including embedded suggestions of knowing how to care for our heart, and the joy associated and felt when feeling safe and happy.

The story places the listener as the “Keeper of the Safety of the Heartlife.” It describes the experiences of caring for oneself, the patience and the strength to learn from mistakes, and the kindness to forgive others as part of the richness of the experiences and joy of the heart as life in an inner-self life process which we own by the fact of being alive.

While the child was listening to the story she was asked to imagine, remember, and identify the feelings of life experiences she had had in the past, in which she learned new things, and to enjoy that experience. Before concluding, she was asked to imagine the shape her heart would have, to picture its details in her imagination. Then she opened her eyes and was given the option to draw it or make it with play dough. She chose to draw it.

The next session her father said, “We came to tell you everything is fine, my princess is going to school, sleeping well, and playing and caring for her brother at home.”

A dialogue with Ernest Rossi Ph.D By Kathryn Lane Rossi, Ph.D. and Roxanna Erickson-Klein Ph.D Estimated reading time: 7 minutes, 56 seconds.

How did he do it?

How did he develop his artistry?

How did his work unfold as seemingly simplistic? Or was it, really? What was behind the thinking of this great man?

What directions would he take if he were with us today, a generation after his passing?

Kathryn Rossi (K): I never met Milton H. Erickson in person but I feel I know him through his written words, audio recordings, videotapes, family and students. It took more than a decade for all three of us (Ernest Rossi, Roxanna Erickson Klein and myself) to reacquire the rights to republish the seminal books of Milton H. Erickson. That journey contained, for all of us, every possible emotion from great despair to ecstatic elation when we succeeded.

The steadfast belief we three shared is that it is imperative that the cornerstone of Milton H. Erickson’s original papers, seminars and workshops, and textbooks co-written with Ernest Rossi should be available for everyone at a reasonable price. This is why we have initially created three updated Neuroscience Edition CD’s that contain 15 books in a reedited format, along with many papers never before published by Erickson. What makes this a “Neuroscience Edition” are a number of recent papers by Ernest that provide a current neuroscience perspective on many of Erickson’s essential themes throughout these three CDs. It is hard to imagine a better format for learning about Erickson since the three CDs include videos and audios of Erickson for an intimate understanding of the profound and timeless master that he was. Ernest, can you give us some reflections of your work with Erickson and how you have developed it more recently?

Ernest Rossi (E): Oh Gosh, I thought no one would ever ask! I was in despair when he left us back in December 1980. I felt I had failed to grasp the wholeness that was Milton Erickson, and now it was too late. I had but one clue that was an important fact, but I did not really understand why. Erickson always had unusually long psychotherapy sessions, about 90 – 120 minutes in contrast to the usual fifty-minute hour of psychoanalysis. I found an important scientific clue where chronobiologists were reporting that there was a natural ultradian psychobiological rhythm of 90 – 120 minutes throughout the 24-hour circadian cycles. When I asked Erickson if he had ever heard of the Ultradian Basic Rest- Activity Cycle (BRAC), he replied that he had not. However, tears came to our eyes when I showed him how the list of typical trance-readiness signals and indicators of trance development that we summarized in chapter nine of our first book, Hypnotic Realities, was almost identical with the behavioral indicators of the 10-20 minute rest phase of the Ultradian Basic Rest-Activity Cycle. This was our first clue that Erickson’s careful observation of the “minimal cues” of a patient’s behavior could pay off in facilitating empathy, rapport and mind-body healing. By inducing quiet, traditional type hypnosis during the low phase of the BRAC, for example, Erickson could be facilitating the rest-healing part of the ultradian cycle. When Erickson used a more active approach to hypnosis, such as hand levitation, he could be focusing the patient’s high performance side of their natural ultradian rhythm, thereby optimizing their efficacy when high energy and concentration were required in active inner or outer work, or play.

Roxanna Erickson-Klein (R): Oh, so that is why you wrote all those papers on mind and body rhythms that were supposed to be related to hypnosis in the 1980’s. You actually got that idea originally from Erickson! Many people could not understand why you seemed to be going off on a wild goose chase at the time.

E: Yeah! I really wasn’t being so original. I was only hanging on for dear life to the only scientific clue I had about the essential neuro-psycho-physiological basis of your father’s work. So I published the first edition of The Psychobiology of Mind-Body Healing in 1986 to explore mind-body communication, and how to facilitate it, with Erickson’s indirect suggestions and what I called “Basic Accessing Questions,” and so forth. But why was the 90 – 120 minute BRAC important? It took me seven more years before I was able to understand the significance of the evolving neuroscience of genomics. By 1993 I was able to publish the second edition of The Psychobiology of Mind-Body Healing. In that book I was able to assemble the scientific evidence to establish that it requires about 90 – 120 minutes for genes to respond to important environmental events, like trauma and stress. The genes do this by producing the proteins that are the basic building blocks generating hormones, growth factors, immune system factors, neurotransmitters, etc. as an adequate healing response to the trauma and stress that initiated the gene expression/protein cycle. This is where I was perhaps a bit original: I realized that the gene expression/protein synthesis cycle was the ultimate source of mind-body rhythms that Erickson may have be utilizing in his fantastic success with psychosomatic problems and rehabilitation.

K: This all seems so obvious now. But why don’t I see or hear anyone else besides you getting excited and jumping up and down about this “essence” of mind-body healing? We always read about psychoneuroimmunology and the deleterious effects of the post-traumatic stress disorders, but no one except us true believers seems to realize that Erickson’s therapeutic hypnosis can deal with these problems at the fundamental molecular genomic level.

E: Aye! There’s the rub! How come the reporters from The New York Times who covered our recent Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference have completely missed this really new perspective in the article they published on The Future of Psychotherapy? How many researchers do you know in the hypnosis communities who are doing research in this area? Very few, indeed, are working on the genomic level!

R: It’s as if the current generation of academic and laboratory researchers in therapeutic hypnosis and psychotherapy simply don’t even believe in the possibility.

E: Yes, Exactly! That’s the problem – and the current generation of researchers in hypnosis do not have the very specialized laboratory skills in genomics to do such work. That’s why I published The Psychobiology of Gene Expression in 2002; A Dialogue with Our Genes in 2004; Cinq essais de psychogénomique – Exploration d’une nouvelle démarche scientifique axée sur l’interaction entre l’esprit et la molécule [Five essays on psychosocial genomics: Exploration of a new scientific approach to the interaction between mind and molecule] in 2005; and now our three set of CDs on the Neuroscience Edition of Erickson’s work.

R: It may seem a bit overwhelming, but I hope we will get all of it published as an evolving series of books continually updating the scientific aspects over the next few years. We also have a great deal of previously unpublished material in the Ericksonian archives. Books are very expensive to publish! Who do you suppose could help us with the funding of such a long-range project?

K: We should ask Jeff Zeig – he always seems to know about these things. On the other hand, perhaps we should welcome any readers of this newsletter who have an interest and possible experience in fund raising to help our nonprofit Milton H. Erickson Foundation in this long-term, humanitarian publication effort.

R: Well, as of this moment, you have helped us all come a long way with this new understanding, Ernie, since my father told me the story about when you asked him that provocative question during one of his workshops in the early 1970’s before you began to study with him. You were in the audience and asked him something like: “What is the relationship between hypnosis and consciousness, and can hypnosis help us investigate consciousness?”

E: I have only a vague memory of that. It seems like a lifetime ago. Of course, I now believe that consciousness is a novelty seeking modality. We can facilitate consciousness with implicit processing heuristics via therapeutic hypnosis. Therapeutic hypnosis can activate the gene expression/protein synthesis cycle and brain plasticity to facilitate problem solving, mind-body healing, and rehabilitation. Art, beauty, and truth are also numinous (fascinating, mysterious and tremendous) experiences that can likewise activate the gene expression/brain plasticity cycle, that facilitates and encodes yet another creative transition in consciousness.

K: But wait – you forgot the part about mirror neurons!

E: Oh, yeah! My role in this reflections article was to casually mention that Kathryn and I have just had our first paper together accepted for publication by

The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis on “The Neuroscience of Observing Consciousness & Mirror Neurons in Therapeutic Hypnosis.” In the article we present research by scientists that suggests how our mirror neurons can be tickled by psychological experiences of novelty, enrichment, and exercise (physical and mental) so that they turn on their gene expression cycle and activate brain plasticity. This induced-plasticity can facilitate all sorts of good stuff like love, as in relationships, sexual bonding, family dynamics, etc., as well as art, beauty, truth and consciousness itself.

This is the awesome perspective that I now believe is Milton H. Erickson’s most profound legacy to us. For the first time in human history we actually understand the types of psychological experiences that can facilitate the evolution of consciousness. This induced evolution can effect creativity, rehabilitation, and healing on all levels from mind to gene. We now have a new research paradigm and philosophy of a truly effective approach to psychotherapy and rehabilitation of which previous generations could only dream.

Connection with the Milton Erickson Foundation By Marilia Baker

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes, 49 seconds.

It is with immense pleasure that I present to you the engaging interview below, conducted by Dan Short with Jeffrey Zeig, founding director/president of the Erickson Foundation. The Foundation is celebrating 40 years since it was established in 1979, while Erickson was still actively practicing as a clinician and teacher. The first Erickson congress took place in Phoenix, December 1980, and was just completed the 13th Erickson Congress this past December. Throughout these past four decades, the Erickson Foundation – whose two of its Board of Directors are the Europeans Camillo Loriedo and Bernhard Trenkle – has advanced the development and expansion of the fields of hypnosis and psychotherapy. The Foundation has also promoted many international gatherings, including the Evolution of Psychotherapy conferences, to further not only Milton Erickson’s therapeutic methodologies, but also to honor the relevant pioneers and proponents of diverse theoretical and clinical practices. Jeff Zeig ponders and expands on those pioneers throughout the interview with Dan Short.

Both Jeff and Dan are well known to European professionals through their lectures, workshops, and publications. The most recent by Zeig is a group of four books, part of his Empowering Experiential Therapy Series published by The Erickson Foundation Press (2019).

Dan Short: The Erickson Foundation, which you founded, has acted as a vehicle for education, as well for the spread of Ericksonian institutes around the world. Could you tell us something about your original plans for the Foundation, 40 years ago?

Jeffrey Zeig: To tell you the truth, I did not know it would become so robust. I couldn’t have predicted that it would become integral to the incredible interest around the world in learning about Erickson’s contributions. But the Erickson Foundation is not solely dedicated to the work of Milton Erickson. The Foundation is a psychotherapy organization that began in 1980 to help organize Ericksonian congresses. But then, in 1985, I organized the first Evolution of Psychotherapy conference, which brought together 26 distinguished leaders of different schools of psychotherapy.

The first Evolution of Psychotherapy conference was a seminal event, timed to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of psychotherapy’s conception. Some of the leaders of various schools of psychotherapy met for the first time at that conference. For example, I saw 78-year-old Joseph Wolpe walk over to 83-year-old Carl Rogers to say hello. The titular founder of behavior therapy and the titular founder of humanistic therapy recognized that they had never met before.

The  first  Evolution   conference   was  designed around the schools of psychotherapy. It provided a forum in which leaders could talk about their developments and be honored for what they had offered to the field. Since then, the underlying theme of Evolution conferences is consilience: Finding the commonalities that make psychotherapy work. It is my belief, my hope, and my continued goal that the Evolution conferences continue to serve as a vehicle for the integration of psychotherapy.

According to some historians, psychotherapy began in 1885 when Freud became interested in the psychological aspects of medicine. Up until World War II, there was a tight therapeutic community, based on understanding the Freudian, Adlerian, or Jungian perspective.

But after World War II, when Europe was decimated, psychotherapy found a new home in the United States. There was a proliferation of different schools and streams of psychotherapy, including the humanistic school, the behavioral school, the family system school, the cognitive school, and now affective neurobiology. So, after World War II there was a wild proliferation of approaches, by some estimates there are currently more than 800 different schools of psychotherapy. But after so much expansion, I believe that there needs to be some contraction. We need to search for integrative principles that help explain what makes psychotherapy work. I hope that the Foundation has been instrumental in that endeavor.

DS: What do you see happening in the field of hypnosis?

JZ: The United States used to be the most fertile bed for interest in hypnosis. Today, the interest and growth has shifted to other countries, including Italy, France, and Germany, as well as other European countries which are bringing a new vibrancy and life to hypnosis. The European audience in France and Germany is especially strong, and in these countries as well as others, there are more developments and experts. Over the course of its history, there has been a mercurial rise and fall in interest in hypnosis. Because of this, I imagine that people in the U.S. will once again be stimulated into learning about it.

DS: Of all the people that you have met, who has inspired you most?

JZ: When I think of all the master therapists that I have been fortunate enough to know and study with, Erickson has been the one who has spoken most deeply to me. He was instrumental in helping me improve who I am as a person and as a professional. Of course, I will never be his equal in experiential wizardry, but I have trained myself to be less left-hemisphere dominant, operating instead from the right-hemisphere, which enables me to be more evocative.

I also had the good fortune to spend time with Carl Whitaker,  who  conducted consultations with me as I met with families. And, I learned a lot from Viktor Frankl. In fact, I use logotherapy regularly in my practice. I’ve had exceptional training in gestalt therapy because I attended a doctoral program that was influenced by Joan Fagan and Norma Shepard who are first-generation students of Fritz Perls.

I have a background in transactional analysis and was a clinical member of that society at one time. I also had a year of training with Bob and Mary Goulding who profoundly influenced me in understanding parts of the human psyche. I developed a great rapport with Salvador Minuchin, whom I adored. I am now the curator of one of Minuchin’s archives.

If you go to you can see some of Minuchin’s clinical work. It was his wish to make his archives available to people around the world. But of all these individuals, Erickson has been the most profound influence on me both personally and professionally. His precision, his humanism, his way of orienting toward, his strategic nature, his evocative experiential way of approaching things, his basis in utilization, are all things that have intrigued me. To this day, I continue to learn a lot from Erickson.

DS: What are some of the resources available to people who wish to learn more about Erickson?

JZ: We have an expansive archive at the Erickson Foundation with hundreds of hours of audio and video recordings of Milton Erickson. And we are just at the cusp of being able to launch this resource on the internet for the professional world, so that people will have the opportunity to see footage of Dr. Erickson doing teaching seminars in the latter half of the 1970s. We also have videos of me discussing Erickson and offering my perspective on his work.

The best video of Erickson that we have is titled, “The Artistry of Milton Erickson”.

It is available in several language on our store at:

For those who visit Phoenix, we offer tours of the Erickson Historic Residence, so that people can see where Erickson lived and worked the last decade of his life. The Erickson children have been especially active in developing the historical residence as a museum, so that visitors get a feel for the modest way in which Erickson lived and practiced.

The Erickson Foundation has also published the Collected Works of Milton H. Erickson, which is a 16-volume set of the written work completed by Erickson across five decades. This resource can be found at the Foundation’s web store. In addition to these resources, I am the author of several books on Ericksonian hypnotherapy. I have written four books that are the corpus of what I teach, including one on hypnotic induction, one of the Ericksonian model of brief psychotherapy, one on therapist development, and one on the evocative nature that I think is essential to skillful psychotherapy.

DS: I know that you are currently working on a biography of Milton Erickson. Could you tell us more about this important project?

JZ: Over the years, I have conducted 200 interviews with colleagues of Milton Erickson. I have also interviewed all eight of his children and three of his siblings. Before Erickson died, I spent a significant amount of time with him, seeking to know and understand him as best I could. Jerry Piaget, who is one of the leaders in promoting psychotherapy education, has provided a grant, which is helping to make it possible for me to write the Erickson biography.

When I first met Erickson in 1973, he seemed that he just took all of this wisdom off the top of his head. He just seemed to be so complete. But as I came to know him, I realized that he was very diligent about crafting what he would say and do and how he would be in therapy.

He worked hard to develop his incredible skills; his remarkable perceptiveness, his ability to communicate with such loving precision, as well as his impressive ability to overcome adversity.

While seeking to utilize all of his limited faculties, he tried to make other people’s lives a little bit better. Erickson suffered from the degenerative effects of post-polio syndrome, but he was still an inspiration. If you had limitations, he certainly had more. If you had pain, he certainly had more. Yet he was laughing all the time. It seemed that he wanted to make the world a better place by virtue of his presence on this planet.

When I first visited Erickson, my thought was that he would train me to be a better psychotherapist, but in a sense, I was wrong. It became apparent to me early on that the time I spent with him was an experience about life and learning to be a better Jeff Zeig. It was not about being trained to be a better therapist.

Without knowing Erickson and experiencing him, I wouldn’t be here today. I actually don’t know how my life would’ve turned out had I not spent those years in the ‘70s traveling to Phoenix to see Erickson. In fact, I’m living in Phoenix because I moved here 40 years ago to be closer to him.

Now my desire is to encapsulate the inspirational spirit of Erickson on the written page so that people around the world can experience him.

DS: Thank you Jeff. I am grateful for your insights and for what you have done through the work of the Erickson Foundation.


Article compliments of European Society of Hypnosis in Psychotherapy and Medicine from their newsletter here: