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,
Keith, I wish this framework were part of the operating system of every therapist. Thank you for putting this out here where we can all benefit by it, and pass that benefit along to our clients.
Sir, you are a master of taking a complex subject and reducing it to clear, concise key concepts– the essence of a true master.
Loving Erickson loving your work!
“A problem is an accomplishment that requires abilities. Those same abilities are very likely useful in solving the problem.”
This in itself is a liberating thought. Time to start turning my problems into accomplishments!!!