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IC19 Workshop 11 - Wax on, Wax off: Lessons Mr. Miyagi Taught Us about Psychotherapy and Hypnosis - Marc Oster, PsyD

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Topic Areas:
Workshops |  Hypnosis |  Psychotherapy |  Storytelling |  Utilization
Erickson Congress |  Erickson Congress 2019
Marc Oster, PsyD
1 Hour 58 Minutes
Audio Only
Original Program Date:
Dec 13, 2019
Never expires.



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.


Educational Objectives:

  1. Explain and demonstrate a method for creating educational or therapeutic stories.
  2. Explain the various sources of their stories.
  3. Explain some differences between a seasoned practitioner and a novice and how they can move down the continuum toward mastery.
  4. Demonstrate/explain how utilization applies to both the clinician as well as their client/patient.

*Sessions may be edited for content and to preserve confidentiality*