Home PageBlogWounded Healer: Remembering Milton Erickson

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Forty-one years ago, on March 25, 1980, Milton H. Erickson, MD passed away. On that day we remember the genius life of Milton Erickson and the innovative techniques, powerful wisdom, and inspiration he passed on to so many people.

Milton Erickson suffered from many physical ailments from contracting polio at a young age and then being diagnosed with post-polio syndrome. Instead of letting his condition get the best of him, he turned it into a positive, powered through, and used it to further help his patients with their own struggles. He became known as the quintessential “Wounded Healer.”

Dr. Erickson used many techniques to help his patients and tailor the therapeutic experience to the individual patient. Some of the techniques he used were tailoring, utilization, storytelling, metaphors, strategic, destabilization, experiential, and naturalistic. A project, The Core Competencies of Ericksonian Therapy was created so other fellow therapists could learn the foundational principles of Ericksonian Therapy and master techniques like these ones.

He continues to inspire seasoned therapists and newcomers to the Ericksonian community through his rare case videos where you can see him in action, genius knowledge of his techniques from his books and books written by others, and the trainings held by us at the Erickson Foundation where you can continue to learn about Milton Erickson and Ericksonian Therapy. Last week we asked our followers from social media what drew them to Milton Erickson and what did they most enjoy about Milton Erickson and his work. Here are some of the thoughtful responses we received:

“His innovation.” -Joshua Mclaughin

“The way he used words and his dedication.” -Abdullah Alhaddad

“His deep respect for relationship.” -Kathleen B. Shannon

“His revolutionary techniques such as positive reframing and paradoxical interventions.” -Cigdem Yumbul

“Opening up new horizons. Whatever he did, all that he did it worked.” -Hakan Bilgen

“His willingness to help in any natural way that he discovered and to make it feel like a healing magic!” -Hai Sitbon

No matter if you were one of Milton Erickson’s mentors like Dr. Jeffrey Zeig, you’ve been a loyal supporter of his work for years, or you’re just now learning about this brilliant man and his work, we can all agree he persevered through all he had experienced and used it to help his patients heal in any way he could. He shared so many examples of innovative thinking and exceptional psychotherapy techniques with the world and his legacy continues to live on because of it. Here is a video of Dr. Jeffrey Zeig sharing a special tribute to Milton Erickson and to honor the anniversary of his passing.

You can also read a wonderful tribute blog post from last year that gives you a backstory to Milton Erickson’s life and includes words of gratitude from two therapists he mentored. Read it here.



“Six Core Competencies of Ericksonian Therapy.” The Milton H. Erickson Foundation, www.erickson-foundation.org/core-competencies.

“Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Milton Erickson.” The Milton H. Erickson Foundation, 25 Mar. 2020, www.erickson-foundation.org/celebrating-legacy-milton-erickson/.

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