Mr. Miyagi (The Karate Kid, 1984) taught his student, Daniel many things. Among them, things are not always as they seem and about functionality. Simple day-to-day activities can also be karate moves, which Daniel wanted to learn. Milton Erickson, a Western version of Mr. Miyagi, introduced us to his concept of utilization in psychotherapy, or functionality. So important was this discovery that the concept of utilization is now a part of virtually every form of talk therapy and healthcare fields in general; it is now common sense. This presentation will focus on applying the utilization principle in hypnosis and psychotherapy to enhance the alliance, focus on strengths rather than pathology, reinforce the patient’s sense of competence, and encourage hope. The presentation will include various therapeutic and educational stories aimed at meeting the patient’s needs and the student/clinician’s needs as they evolve. I will address how to create such stories and how to apply them to achieve the above goals. For example, Mr. Miyagi shows Daniel how to trim a Bonsai tree. He tells Daniel to close his eyes, picture the tree, open your eyes and make the picture. This is how I teach karate skills – you know how the skill is supposed to end up, picture that, now let your body make the picture. This is also how I create therapeutic stories. I know the outcome I’m looking for based on the patient’s presentation, then I search for a story to tell that completes the picture.
*Sessions may be edited for content and to preserve confidentiality*