In order to get the results Erickson got, we must (to an extent) think as Erickson did. Here are some important tenets that help guide us toward a more Ericksonian approach. Keep in mind that this is my interpretation of what I’ve teased out of Erickson’s work. Feel free to add your own, comment or ask questions…
- The therapist helps the client define what they wish to accomplish and holds this outcome in mind.
- The therapist’s job is create an environment in which the client can accomplish his or her goals.
- Each client has the resources to solve their own problem.
- The therapist’s job is to evoke those resources and help the client bring them to bear to solve the problem (link the resources to the problem context).
- Each client is an individual and is allowed their individualized responses. No response is “wrong.”
- Problems are often the result of limiting/rigid beliefs and habitual patterns. Help the client remove/reframe/alter those beliefs and patterns and the client can get out of their own way.
- Shock, confusion and hypnosis are valid tools for helping loosen beliefs. They can all help “de-potentiate conscious mind-sets.”
- Hypnosis can help a person more easily alter unwanted patterns and beliefs.
- Trance occurs naturally. Clients have had trance experiences already. To hypnotize clients, simply evoke earlier trance experiences/phenomena.
- Change is natural. People change throughout their lives. Patterns, beliefs and behaviors are all changeable.
- Use what the client and the situation give you. “Resistance” should often be encouraged or even amplified.
- A problem is an accomplishment that requires abilities. Those same abilities are very likely useful in solving the problem.
- The past is over. It can not be changed except as to how the client perceives/relates to it. Therapy, in the main, should focus on the present/future.
Erickson was remarkably ahead of his time in terms of his solution orientation, client-centerdness and practical, “theory free” approach.
Looking forward to your comments,