Posts Tagged ‘Reframing’
When I was a child, my father was attending graduate school at USC, working toward his doctorate in educational psychology. Each time he would learn a new theory, he’d enthusiastically come home and try to apply it with my younger brother and me. It was kind of hit-and-miss in terms of efficacy, but we seemed to have turned out okay.
One of the things I notice in retrospect is how, as he grew in experience, his understanding of these theories, and application of that understanding, became more fluid, more nuanced as he shifted from learning to knowing. When he first started studying under Erickson, it felt (from my admittedly limited perspective) that Dad’s focus was on acquiring techniques: How do you tell a story? What tone and cadence of voice and choice of words do you use to help the client slide into a trance state to best facilitate an induction? → Read more
For two years, teachers from the Milton H. Erickson Institute of the San Francisco Bay Area have conducted masters degree classes in strategic family therapy and Ericksonian hypnosis at Universidad Autónoma Gabriel René Moreno (UAGRM), the largest Bolivian university. Recently, it was my turn to teach.
After the first class I conducted, two women, who were part of a group of six close friends who attended the courses, approached me. One spoke for the other: “She is afraid to drink water, afraid to bathe or shower in water.” I replied, “I have little time to talk. I have a meeting in a few minutes.” I asked the spokeswoman, “What does she drink?” “Tea?” “No!” “Does she drink milk?” “Oh, yes!” I turned to the silent woman, “Here’s what I want you to do: When you go home today, take a bath in milk. → Read more
The following is an excerpt from the biography on Milton Erickson and was taken from an interview with Paul Lounsbury and Nancy Winston in May 1993.
Paul C. Lounsbury and Nancy Winston were married from 1987 to 2003. They live in New York. Lounsbury is a marriage and family therapist and Winston is a clinical social worker and therapist. → Read more
In December of 1973, when I was 26 years old and had recently earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology, I met Milton Erickson. I was working in the San Francisco Bay Area as a couples and family counselor and serendipitously the opportunity to visit Dr. Erickson presented itself. (The transcript of this initial meeting is in my book, Experiencing Erickson, Zeig, 1985.) → Read more
Edgar, a child of five, is the oldest son of a marriage that has lived with great economic and family pressures. The mother began going to therapy two years ago for her distress because of her pregnancy. She left treatment. A short while later, she asked for an emergency appointment. She told me by phone that she had just gotten Edgar out of the hospital, and he did not want to return home because he was afraid of his father who, in an attack of fury and impatience, had hit him against the wall, fracturing his cranium.
I met with the whole family in therapy because that permitted me to understand the family situation, to perceive their emotions, and to explore their resources. Once I have an idea of the family structure and the context in which the problem occurred, I can tell a story (or build a story together with the children) that represents the problem and different solutions. In an abuse situation, it is necessary to censure actions, not the persons implicated, trying to see them as parents who make mistakes. In this case, I constructed the story because the child was immobile in a chair, not wanting to look at anyone, much less participate. → Read more
A woman told Milton Erickson about her eight-year-old daughter, Ruth, who hated EVERYBODY:
A very MISERABLE kind of girl. I (Erickson) asked the mother what she thought made the girl hate herself and everybody else.
The mother said, “Her face is a solid freckle. And the kids call her, “Freckles.” → Read more
The very first time we met with Milton Erickson there were just five people present: Three physicians and the two of us sitting with the awesome Dr. Erickson. A woman walked into the room with her husband. She wanted to be hypnotized so that she could comfortably pass a licensure examination free from the anxiety often generated by such a test.
Erickson asked her husband if he was a qualified professional with a degree. The husband nodded his head affirmatively and said, “I have a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering.”
Dr. Erickson’s response surprised all of us: “You’ll have to leave. Come back in an hour.” → Read more