Given the numerous current available models of hypnosis, we chose the Ericksonian path because of its therapeutic sensibility and respectful approach to clients. In addition to being inspired by Erickson’s victories over significant personal challenges (see below), we believe that his approach most closely matches the needs and resources of clients suffering from a variety of problems including chronic pain and illness. Moreover, his focus on the future and facilitation of the unique resources of the client make it a perfect complement to its offspring, Solution Focused therapy.
Milton H. Erickson, MD was profoundly influenced by his own personal story of addressing chronic pain and illness. This not only informed his hypnotherapeutic approach, but his personal values and common-sense philosophy as well. A Wisconsinite, like de Shazer and Berg, he was struck at the age of seventeen with polio. Isolated, many miles from any rehabilitation clinic, he had no choice but to invent his own self-care routine if he were to recover from this devastating illness. Unacquainted with hypnosis, through trial and error, he learned to evoke of a variety of helpful altered states of consciousness with the hope of improving his physical and emotional condition.
During this rehabilitation period, Erickson discovered an ability to convert his past memories (a classic hypnotic phenomenon) of muscular movement into extremely small motions while he sat in his rocking chair. As a means to reduce his pain he recalled memories of becoming fatigued after exercise and vigorous activity. Ultimately, after achieving many very small daily victories, he was able to learn how to walk again. These experiences of observing, accessing, and utilizing resource states would later become the foundation of his pioneering work in the field of psychotherapy and hypnosis.
Milton Erickson was the Leonardo da Vinci of modern psychotherapy. During his long and varied career Milton Erickson was generally acknowledged to be the world's leading practitioner of hypnosis. He authored over 150 professional journal articles and worked with over 30,000 patients as well as authoring and co-authoring numerous books. Additionally, he was widely considered to be a major innovator in the practice of Strategic and brief psychotherapy and influenced Family Systems Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, NLP, and even EMDR . He was the founding president of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis as well as the founder of the Society's professional journal. Today, the Milton H. Erickson Foundation, located in Phoenix Arizona continues to carry on his work, teachings, and research.
Milton Erickson’s work, both hypnotic and psychotherapeutic, integrates seamlessly with the solution focused therapy and self care strategies presented in Recrafting a Life. In addition to the sheer brilliance of his hypnotic techniques, his respect for unique resources, specific context, and values of the client remind us of the importance viewing the him or her as a person and not a diagnosis.