This portrait of Milton Erickson’s wife reveals her unique contributions to his work, as well as her own productive life. The author follows the tapestry of Elizabeth’s life, beginning with childhood, the circus, and the first moment of courtship, when Milton spotted Elizabeth as he looked out the window. Then and there he declared with certainty that he was going to marry her!
The interviews that make up this volume share Dr. Erickson’s methods of dealing with whole families, and his therapy of children. Taken from recorded conversations by Jay Haley and John Weakland from 1958 to 1961, they present the techniques and processes of a therapist who had already been pursuing methods of therapy the rest of the world had barely begun.
Indirect communication is the overall concept we use to cover what we have variously described as two-level communication, the naturalistic approach, and the utilization approach. The common denominator of all these approaches is that hypnotherapy involves something more than simple talk on a single, objective level. The readily apparent, overt content of a message is like the tip of an iceberg.
In my original Foreword to this volume I expressed the opinion that, with Milton Erickson, Ernest Rossi “has done the best job to date in clarifying Erickson’s ideas on the nature of hypnosis and hypnotic therapy, on techniques of hypnotic induction, on ways of inducing therapeutic change and of validating this change.” Many books have been written about Erickson’s approaches to therapy in the 33 years that have passed since this book was published, yet I will still stand with that opinion.
Milton Erickson Lives! A PERSONAL ENCOUNTER by Peter NemetschekMilton H. Erickson Lives has the feel of an impressionist painting. In its details and broad strokes, the book brings to life a time long ago that has natural resonance in this time. The book focuses on an unusual man—from the perspective of an unusual man. Original transcripts, rare photographs, and the special tone and palette of memory draw the reader into the vivid experience of what is being described.
Imagine spending an evening with the icons of a profession and you begin to appreciate what Rubin Battino has fashioned in his literary play on the life of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Using this dramatic device, like a Greek dialogue, Battino applies the same approach he used in his highly successful bioplay of Viktor Frankl: Meaning. The voices of Dr. Erickson, his family, Margaret Mead, Stanley Milgram, John Weakland, Jay Haley, and many, many others resonate in the reader s mind. Using Erickson s own words, and the words of his contemporaries, the scenes cover his early life and professional development, his family experiences, his professional interactions, and even some classic cases.
Erickson’s experimental and therapeutic explorations with the hypnotic modality span more than 50 years. His successful rejuvenation of the entire field may be attributed to his development of the nonauthoritarian approaches to suggestion wherein subjects learn how to experience hypnotic phenomena and how to utilize their own potentials to solve problems in their own way. The contents of this volume can be best understood as working papers on a journey of discovery. There is little that is fixed, final, or permanently validated about them. Most of these papers are heuristics that can stimulate the mind of the reader and evoke the awe of discovery, which is unlimited in the realm of human consciousness.
In these papers, written over a period of several decades, we see a renaissance of new approaches to hypnotherapy and a remarkable creativity in facilitating symptom relief, depth psychology, and the actualization of personal potentials. One intuits in Erickson’s innovative approaches an unusual respect and appreciation for the complexity of the human psyche. We see him as an explorer who is constantly mindful of his own limitations, while fully aware of the patient’s own potentials for self-cure and development. We see in these papers his efforts to break out of the limiting assumptions that underlay many “schools” of psychotherapy.