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Encyclopedia > Milton Erickson

Milton Hyland Erickson, MD (1901 - 1980) was a psychiatrist specializing in medical hypnosis. He was founding president of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis and a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychopathological Association.

He was noted for:

  • his often unconventional approach to psychotherapy, such as described in the book Uncommon Therapy by Jay Haley
  • his extensive use of therapeutic metaphor and story as well as hypnosis
  • coining the term Brief Therapy for his approach of addressing therapeutic changes in relatively few sessions
  • his conceptualization of the unconscious as highly separate from the conscious mind, with it's own awareness, interests, responses, and learnings. For Erickson, the unconscious mind was creative, solution generating, and often positive.
  • his ability to "utilize" anything about a patient to help them change, including their beliefs, favorite words, cultural background, personal history, or even their neurotic habits.

Erickson developed a type of hypnotherapy called Ericksonian hypnosis which was believed to be "the communication of ideas" to the patient at an unconscious level. This style of hypnosis often looked like a normal conversation that would induce a hypnotic trance in the subject.

Erickson was 'modeled' by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, the co-founders of Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).


Erickson was a prolific author. His prominent works include:

  • Hypnotic Realities ISBN 0829001123

Related topics

External links

  • The Erickson Foundation (http://www.erickson-foundation.org) is part of an international organization that carries on his work and promotes the Erickson approach to therapy. It has a biography of Erickson available here (http://www.erickson-foundation.org/early.htm) written by Haley.
  • The Hypnotic Handshake Induction of Milton H. Erickson (http://www.nlpweekly.com/index.php?p=35) plus more Hypnosis methods.

  Results from FactBites:
Milton Erickson (501 words)
Thanks largely to Erickson the subject of hypnosis has shed its shackles of superstition and is now widely recognised as one of the most powerful tools for change.
Milton Erickson was a great researcher into the extent and limits of hypnosis as a tool for personal change.
When Erickson was in his fifties he was struck by a second bout of polio that caused him a great deal of physical pain.
Milton H. Erickson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (6827 words)
Erickson was an avid medical student, and was so curious about and engaged with psychiatry that he got a psychology degree while he was still studying medicine.
Erickson believed that the unconscious mind was always listening, and that, whether or not the patient was in trance, suggestions could be made which would have a hypnotic influence, as long as those suggestions found some resonance at the unconscious level.
Erickson was an irrepressible practical joker, and it was not uncommon for him to slip indirect suggestions into all kinds of situations, including in his own books, papers, lectures and seminars.
  More results at FactBites »



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