Hope and Resiliency (paperback edition)

Understanding The Psychotherapeutic Strategies Of Milton H. Erickson

By: Roxanna Erickson Klein , Dan Short , Betty Alice Erickson


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Size: 234 x 156mm
Pages : 288
ISBN : 9781785831584
Format: Paperback
Published: October 2016

Milton H. Erickson is recognised as one of the most innovative clinicians of our time. Known as the father of modern hypnosis and the source of inspiration for many forms of family therapy and brief therapy (including the increasingly popular solution-focused therapy), Erickson's influence has reached far beyond the perimeters of any one country or culture.

Much of the scientific and popular literature is beginning to focus on the themes of hope and resiliency – Erickson worked from a philosophical position that is best explained using these two concepts.

Although Erickson is most commonly examined through the lens of hypnosis, this book takes a much broader approach and defines several key components that made him successful as a therapist. The fundamental strategies described are relevant to all mental health care professionals, regardless of their theoretical orientation. The book is written by leaders and experts in the field of Ericksonian therapy.

Click here to view the hardback edition, ISBN 9781904424932.

Picture for author Roxanna Erickson Klein

Roxanna Erickson Klein

Roxanna Erickson Klein PhD is a member of the Board of Directors of the Milton H. Erickson Foundation. She is also co-editor of the 17 volume set of Collected Works of Milton H. Erickson.

Picture for author Dan Short

Dan Short

Dan Short is currently in private practice in Scottsdale Arizona and a member of the graduate faculty at Ottawa University. He was Associate Director and Chief Archivist for the Milton H. Erickson Foundation in the USA, former Editor for The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter and was the Editor and Designer for Milton H. Erickson: The Complete Works.

Picture for author Betty Alice Erickson

Betty Alice Erickson

Betty Alice Erickson was an international teacher of Ericksonian psychotherapy and hypnosis, and a licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist in private practice for over 25 years in Dallas, Texas.

Her published works include the co-authored Hope and Resiliency, as well as chapters contributed to numerous other books, and articles in various professional journals. Recipient of an honorary Ph.D. from the Republic of Armenia Ministry of Education and Science in 2012, she received a number of awards and honours during her career - including the Milton Erickson Gesellschaft (Institute) (MEG) Prize for Excellence in Teaching and Promoting Ericksonian Hypnosis and Psychotherapy in October 2001, and the Premio Internazionale Franaco Granone Award given by the Centro Italiano di Ipnosi Clinico-Sperimentale in October 2003. She was also an honorary member of the Swedish Society for Clinical Hypnosis and of the Milton Erickson Gesellschaft of Germany (MEG).

Read Betty Alice Erickson's obituary posted on the Erickson Foundation website here.


  1. The keys to truly being able to help another human being include:

    Hope that they can get better, belief that they can change

    Willingness to enter into and empathise with their client's reality, their models of the world

    A structure or framework for wholeness, within which to work

    Flexible strategies and techniques to help move a person towards wholeness

    A willingness to -˜go first' or experience the techniques and tools of therapeutic change oneself.

    The authors of Hope and Resiliency cut through the vast amount of written material by and about Milton H Erickson MD's therapeutic work, to present the functional principles and framework for how change happens.

    The authors are amply qualified for this task: Dan Short spent two years reorganising and preserving the Erickson archive; Betty Alice Erickson and Roxanna Erickson Klein are two of Dr Erickson's daughters, both professionally accredited with years of experience.

    They identify and present 6 key clinical strategies in detail, well illustrated by Erickson's own words and case examples.

    Milton Erickson suggested that “you should read a good book backwards”: start with the last chapter and read back to the first, “then re-read it front to back and you will have a marvellous experience.” Do this with this book, and you will have a good overview and working knowledge of Erickson's work. Then make sure you do the exercises in Appendix A at least twice, and you will gain greatly in understanding and facility with these techniques.

    This book is recommended for: Therapists, counsellors, psychotherapists, NLP practitioners and master practitioners, hypnotherapists, life coaches. Also for any helping professionals and anyone wanting to gain a greater understanding of their own psyche and how to create positive change.

    Summary: Hope and Resiliency is clear and accessible, while still providing satisfying depth.
  2. Hope and Resiliency comes from a collaborative effort among three Erickson experts: Dan Short, Ph.D. a psychologist and former Associate Director for the Milton H. Erickson Foundation, and two of Erickson's daughters; Betty Alice Erickson, MS, LPC a professional counselor and international Ericksonian educator, and Roxanna Erickson Klein, RN, Ph.D., a practicing nurse and member of the Board of Directors of the Milton H. Erickson Foundation. The book draws on the authors' personal experiences as well as on immersion in hundreds of hours of audio recordings by Erickson. It includes several previously unpublished case vignettes.

    This book adds to the cornucopia of publications explicating Erickson's work, but it brings accessible, broad, encompassing strokes to his treatment philosophy and methods. The authors' draw on their well articulated conviction that, “Without having sufficient hope or resiliency, vast amounts of external resources can be poured into what is essentially a vacuum of despair and surrender” (p. xi). The scope of the book is expansive in that the authors have included formal explications of Erickson's fundamental therapeutic values and strategic approaches, copious and often original case examples as well as an almost homespun narrative biographical account of his life. In addition, the book includes a didactic structure with chapter summaries, caveats on limitations and contraindications for specific techniques and a series of “Self-Development Exercises” in the appendix. This suggests that the book is conceived of as a stimulating tutorial for the reader who is presumed to be a clinician but not necessarily an Ericksonian practitioner. But the authors warn that Erickson's techniques are presented not to be uncritically imitated when they write that “An understanding of clinical strategies fosters less dependency on predetermined procedures and greater use of clinical judgment” (p. 36). In addition to all of this, as noted in the excellent forward by Stephen Lankton, the process of creating the volume intentionally involved a novel approach to international collaboration, in that colleagues from several different countries were invited to modify drafts of the book to create culturally specific adaptations which would make it internationally accessible.

    The book is organized into two main sections. The first section is a personal biographical sketch of Erickson's life. This insider's view presents a Mark Twain-like narrative of Erickson's childhood. This gives the reader a warm, human understanding of the man, as well as several illustrations of how his life experiences germinated and grew into the vital structure of his work. For example, the authors tie Erickson's use of confusion strategies and “therapeutic shock” to an early lesson in spelling courtesy of a beloved teacher who understood both Erickson's reading disorder and his hunger for reading. “His teacher highlighted the most important features of the symbol -˜3' by turning it on its side. Erickson explains that in a blinding flash of light he suddenly saw the difference between a -˜3' and an “m' (p. xvii). The thrust of the biographical narrative section of the book is an object lesson of how the adversities and challenges of Erickson's formative years (including dyslexia, color blindness, tone deafness, and in late adolescence, poliomyelitis) informed both the personal and professional cultivation of dogged determination, Hope and Resiliency.

    The second section, which is by far the larger part, creates and fleshes out an armature of the basic strategic principles and treatment approaches that Erickson developed. It seeks to present his therapeutic strategies and techniques not from a schematic overview but rather from the inside out: this is accomplished by using copious case examples that stimulate the reader to review and associate to his/her own clinical experiences. The authors have also used a wide angle lens in a chapter entitled “A Philosophic Framework” to conceptualize Erickson's vantage point in the realms of philosophy and history. This is done with a wide range of references that include among others, Aristotle, explanations of the meaning of meta - teleology, an anonymous Saudi poet, and Viktor Frankl.

    The organizing principle of this section of the book is the authors' own nomenclature which they employ in order to delineate the principles, philosophy, and therapeutic applications of what they call Erickson's Six Core Strategies. Through this framework, the reader is led through the various cases which provide clarification of these approaches from many different angles. The authors call the six strategies Distraction, Partitioning, Progression, Suggestion, Reorientation, and Utilization, and they have allocated a chapter to each.

    The specific definitions ascribed to these are beyond the scope of this review. Although some of these terms form part and parcel of hypnotic terminology (Suggestion and Utilization for example), others seem to have been appropriated and re-defined by the authors. I wonder why they felt it necessary to do this, as it is the only significant drawback, in my view, to this otherwise illuminating book. For example, the strategy the authors have dubbed “Reorientation” the shift in vantage point, sometimes called “re-framing,” which allows the patient to deeply see his/her dilemma through a new perspective. This experience can then lead to a therapeutic shift from self-denigration to self-affirmation and to the patient being able to find a previously unseen path through a personal roadblock. As An example, the book cites a delightful Erickson case recounted by Haley in which a medical student and his bride were seeking an annulment because of his inability to obtain an erection to consummate the marriage. By “re-orienting” the bride and groom to the notion that the husband was paying her a compliment, because undoubtedly his difficulties stemmed from his excess awe at her beauty, the story proceeds to say that “the young couple nearly stopped the car on the way back to Detroit in order to have intercourse” (Haley, 1985, Vol. II, pp.118-119, as cited on p.162)). This kind of case provides the delightful “shock and awe,” a kind of one trial learning for the reader who can only aspire to such brilliance.

    The only problem with this, in my view, may be that students of hypnosis will have previously associated the conceptual meaning of “reorientation” with the emergence from a trance state. A similar confounding word use is implicit in the chapter on “Progression,” which is used in this book to describe a large schema resulting in paced therapeutic progress. In this chapter, the authors illustrate techniques of geometric progression, progressive desensitization, progressive relaxation, pattern interruption, and Erickson's' famous pseudo-orientation in time. But again, potential confusion arises for the reader accustomed to associating the term with age progression.

    In sum though, in this lovely, scholarly and heartfelt book the authors emphasize the heart and soul of Erickson's work. It is not so much a book about hypnosis but more one about the genesis of healing.

    Throughout, the authors emphasize that the foundation of Erickson's healing work was his ability to convey his deeply held belief in the “goodness and resourcefulness of the mind, the understandable innocence of childhood, and/or the miraculous construction of the body” (p 159). Although broadly and deeply conceived, this book is neither chaotic nor overwhelming. Indeed, it succeeds very well in drawing the reader into a permissive and immersive experience of a learning trance as it moves through the myriad panes and vantage points of a delightful Ericksonian hologram.
  3. Possibly one of the most influential decisions taken by the original co-developers of NLP was their (understandable yet controversial) choice to emphasise the pragmatic rather than the theoretical foundations of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Controversial in that, whilst is has certain points that recommend it, in the long run it has led to the swamp of mediocrity known as: “If it works, it's NLP.”

    In the first place, this epigram is such a huge generalization that it is quite obviously not true. For example, cars, telephones, the woman on the till at the supermarket and felt tip pens all “work” (at least until they run out of ink - the felt tip pens, that is) - but none of them is NLP.

    Secondly, the word “works” is so vague that there is no way of telling what “If it works it's NLP” actually means. It is, in fact, yet another useless piece of sloganizing of a kind that is becoming so commonplace that the credibility of the NLP techniques as a whole is in question.

    With this background in mind serious NLPers will be likely to welcome this new book on the practical aspects of the work of Milton Erickson with open arms.

    On the front flap of the cover we are told that the book, subtitled: Understanding the psychotherapeutic strategies of Milton H. Erickson, “defines several key components that made [Erickson] successful as a therapist”. And it does, with considerable insight. Which is hardly surprising given that the authors of the English-language version of the book* are a one-time Associate Director of the Milton H. Erickson Foundation (Dan Short), together with two of Erickson's daughters (Betty Alice Erickson and Roxanne Erickson Klein).

    (* Other authors have been involved with the preparation of the book in other languages.)

    After a fairly brief Biographical Sketch, the majority of the book is given over to what the authors describe as Erickson's Six Core Strategies - namely Distraction, Partitioning, Progression, Suggestion and Reorientation.
    Each strategy gets its own chapter, each of which starts with a brief case history and continues with a thorough discussion of how Erickson used the strategy, along with variations on the basic theme where relevant. The book ends with a fairly brief summary, and a final chapter which sets out a practical exercise for each strategy which readers can try out on themselves.

    It seems to me that this book, which the authors describe as “a brief introduction” to Erickson's clinical work, has the very practical purpose of providing readers with a deeper understanding of a selected subset of Erickson's techniques rather than a rather superficial review of everything in sight - and makes a very good job of carrying out that task.

    In my opinion the book is indeed a useful, and very practical introduction to Erickson, and in particular, from an NLP perspective it gives a far clearer picture of why Erickson developed and used certain techniques that are all too often taken for granted in the NLP community. Indeed, with all due respect to the original developers of NLP, I was reminded of Erickson's comment, late in life, about the results of Bandler and Grinder's modelling of his work: “They have taken the shell,” he is reputed to have said, ” but they have left the nut behind.”

    At a time when some NLP trainers seem to have carried this process even further and have reduced the techniques to a series of “mechanical” actions, this book is all the more welcome for helping to remind us what was originally inside the shell.

    Highly recommended: * * * * * *
  4. Followers of Dr. Milton H. Erickson are sure to find pleasure and education in Hope and Resiliency, a new analysis of his philosophy and work. Dr. Dan Short has teamed up with two of Erickson's daughters to write this book that is based on case histories, Erickson's own writings, and personal anecdotes from Betty Alice Erickson and Roxanne Erickson Klein. The book begins with a biographical history of Erickson's life and then explains six therapeutic strategies that the authors consider to be the basic cornerstones of his professional success with clients for whom he was often a “last resort.”

    Biographical History: Milton H. Erickson was born in 1901 in the Nevada Sierras in a log cabin with a dirt floor, the second of nine children born to Albert and Clara Erickson. His was a farming family. At age 19 he was stricken with polio and the paralysis left him an invalid; so ill in fact that at one point the family doctor told his mother that her son would die by the next morning.

    Through an arduous year of self-rehabilitation, the young Erickson learned to walk again and attended the University of Wisconsin, graduating in 1927 with a medical degree in psychiatry. He held many appointments at prestigious institutions; his last spanned 14 years at Wayne County Hospital near Detroit.

    He had three children by his first marriage and five more by his second wife, Elizabeth, his life-long partner. In the late 1940s he moved to Phoenix, Arizona and began a private practice. He also traveled as a lecturer, writer, and consultant and was a nationally-recognized expert on clinical hypnosis. In 1957 he founded the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.

    During the last three decades of his life, post-polio syndrome brought constant, debilitating pain and paralysis. Nevertheless, he continued working from his home, even while confined to a wheelchair. Throughout those years he exuded a love of life, a delight in simple pleasures, a quick wit, a sharp mind, and a keen sense of humor. His life was characterized by Hope and Resiliency and these were the gifts he gave to colleagues, patients, and students.

    Erickson's Approach to Psychotherapy: Part II of Hope and Resiliency describes Erickson's therapeutic approach: the fundamental dynamics of healing and the clinical relationship as Erickson saw them and applied them. Erickson, for example, did not promote the concept of “cure”. Instead, he was interested in helping people adjust to their circumstances. While he worked to reduce suffering, he did not expect perfection from his patients. He encouraged them to make small changes that often led to bigger accomplishments.

    He recognized that learning requires effort and exhorted his patients to take action to solve their problems, no matter how small or insignificant those actions might seem. Erickson took a holistic view of physical and mental health, always working from within each patient's frame of reference. He respected the right of personal choice. He re-educated his patients through experiential learning.

    Erickson favored and fostered a relationship of trust and collaboration with his patients (even children) believing that the therapist should “always let patients follow their own spontaneous ways of doing things.” His style was to offer possibilities, support individual growth, and let each person find a unique path to healing. Respect for individuality was Erickson's hallmark.

    Six Core Strategies:

    “It is difficult to find another single approach to psychotherapy that incorporates as many strategies for healing as the Erickson approach.” (p. 37)

    The authors delineate six core clinical strategies that Erickson used as the foundation of his work. A chapter is devoted to each strategy. These six strategies are listed below, with brief definitions.

    Distraction: This strategy relies on directing the patient's attention away from the problem toward a seemingly irrelevant task, another problem or challenge, a capability, or another aspect of the problem previously not considered. The shift in attention often solves the original problem or causes the patient to move beyond a limitation, by doing something that previously seemed impossible.

    Partitioning: This process involves re-chunking and restructuring the symptom in terms of complexity, goals, duration, resources and attention. By breaking the problem into smaller unites, small successes are more easily achieved. One example is “splitting”: proposing the existence of opposites as two or more components of the problem or solution, each of which can be addressed separately.

    Progression: This method employs the incremental use of assignments and/or instructions to increase the patient's response. Erickson had his patients start out with small successes and discoveries that gradually led to larger ones. He once stated, “Even the smallest breakthrough can serve as the foundation on which other accomplishments are built.”

    Suggestion: Essentially, suggestion is the basis of all therapy. Erickson made the point that the therapist's confidence in his or her ability conveys a powerful suggestion that the patient will be helped.

    Reorientation: This is assigning new interpretations of events, creating new meanings and asking questions that create insights. Additional methods include externalizing the problem, and changing one's perspective with respect to time (age regression, age progression, and time distortion).

    Utilization: This is recognizing and using the patient's behavioral, emotional and intellectual predispositions as a fundamental treatment component. “A previously unrecognized potential is employed to achieve any outcome that will be helpful or appealing to the individual.” (p. 189)

    The authors note that the six strategies are not mutually exclusive and do not constitute an exhaustive list of Erickson's methods, but are only a “brief introduction” to the full range of Erickson's work. The authors prudently discuss contraindications for each strategy. They remind readers of the principal directive of Erickson's teachings: Structure each therapeutic intervention for the needs and personality of the individual.

    Referring to the title of this book, the authors point out that hope promotes healing and reduces suffering. Erickson inspired hope by engaging patients in the therapeutic process-”-giving them tasks to perform and implying that by performing such tasks the client would derive beneficial results. Erickson encouraged resiliency by helping patients find an inner source of personal strength and capability, even in the face of disability.


    Erickson-inspired therapists will truly enjoy Hope and Resiliency as an addition to the ever-expanding body of literature on the world's best known hypnotherapist. This book's unique contribution is the thorough description of the six core strategies of Erickson's work. The case studies and anecdotes from the Erickson archives make for good reading as well as apt illustrations of the strategies.

    This book shows that Erickson used more than hypnosis in his approach. His ability to align himself with his patients, assess their personalities and eccentricities, put their symptoms and strengths into new perspectives, and his creativity in prescribing solution-oriented assignments were as essential to his many successes as his skill in clinical hypnosis. The authors give insights into Erickson's reasoning as well as the manner in which he laid the groundwork to ensure each patient's compliance and acceptance.

    Even 25 years after his death, there is still a fascination with the genius of Milton Erickson and as Short, Erickson, and Klein prove, there is still more to learn about this remarkable physician.
  5. A book that takes a great step towards explaining the process of therapeutic change is Dan Short's Hope and Resiliency, recently published by Crown House. Short, in collaboration with two of Erickson's daughters, has extracted some basic principles of the work of Erickson. The subtitle of this book is Understanding the Psychotherapeutic Strategies of Milton H. Erickson, MD.

    Milton Erickson (1901-1980) was one of the most innovative therapists of the twentieth century. He was a founding father of clinical hypnosis, and one of the inspirational models of excellence for NLP. Richard Bandler and John Grinder wanted to know what made him so successful, and analysed the language patterns that Erickson used. Dan Short does more. From studying the vast quantity of Erickson's published work, and through personal anecdotes from Betty Alice Erickson and Roxanna Erickson Klein, the authors have devised a simple descriptive model of the kinds of interventions Erickson would make. However, this is not a book about -˜technique.' We are warned in the very first paragraph of Chapter 1 (page 3) that:


    What is more important, technique or understanding? If after reading this book the reader is mostly excited about the new techniques that have been discovered, then the book should be read again in order to arrive at the main point.

    We are intensely curious about other people, especially when they do things that we cannot. When someone does something outstanding, we may wonder “is it magic?” or “is it something that I could learn to do in time?”

    Actually, young children don't bother much with detailed analysis; if they want to do it they pretend that they can. They don't bother to find the reasons why not. That's more an adult thing; getting older and wiser seems to be about telling ourselves that we are no good at doing certain things. In other words, we stop learning from our -˜mistakes' and limit the directions we take in life. We lose the ability to laugh at our own -˜out-takes.' Hence the growing market for self-help and personal development - the aim of which is to reunite us with our abilities and help us achieve our desires. As adults we need to understand the story.

    The art of modeling is to find the -˜hidden' key to successful action, and that means seeing beyond appearances and finding the pattern. It is a talent that we all have, and one we could probably improve. We are constantly making sense of our world and of what people are doing; but we are not usually formulating it as a -˜theory' or as a fully worked out story. And therein lies the challenge; putting the essence of what we experience into words, explaining how things happen with abstract generalisations.

    Given the huge amount of material created by and written about Milton Erickson, Dan Short has done a great job sorting through it all and describing the basic principles that Erickson was using. It's a relatively short book, but that is to its advantage. A good theory is going to be brief, which means it is going to be more valuable because it is more widely applicable.

    Accepting what the client brings
    The main thing that Erickson did was to take what his clients gave him, and go with it. Rather than deny, distort, or change what they said, he would accept it. That is a rare thing in our culture. Most people want to change other people on their own terms, not on the client's. But accepting what you are offered is a skill that can be learned. You just have to do it. (For more on this, see Keith Johnstone's chapter on Spontaneity.)
    Asking questions is an excellent therapeutic technique. You don't need answers. The fact that you ask a question directs the client's attention to some aspect of what they do (or what they say about what they do), and this kind of begins to get them to reflect on it, puts it into doubt, suggests that it could be otherwise ... Once you realise there is an option, you can then seek it. What does the therapist do? He acts congruently, believes that the client has the means to find the alternative they seek. The rest is theatre; it's making the whole experience reinforce the specialness of the encounter. Change becomes a reasonable thing to do. The Emperor thought he was being reasonable, but not wanting to lose status by appearing foolish was bamboozled by the swindlers who had their own agenda.

    “When you understand how man really defends his intellectual ideas and how emotional he gets about it, you should realize that the first thing in psychotherapy is not to try to compel him to change his ideation; rather, you go along with it and change it in a gradual fashion and create situations wherein he himself willingly changes his thinking” (p. 186).

    “While you respond to people who come to you for help, it feels natural to focus on what you can do for them. Yet when focusing on your abilities and their problems, an implied message of therapist superiority and patient inferiority is communicated. This is why utilization requires a special type of acceptance that sometimes seems counterintuitive” (p. 187)

    A good therapist acts ethically, lets the client lead. The therapist starts from a position of ignorance, knows that it is impossible to fully understand the client, why they do what they do. But no matter. If you take what they say, ask questions that enrich the client's understanding of the situation, redirect the client's attention, or do anything that undermines their belief about the original problem, then that's all you need to do.

    Short and his coauthors list six core strategies they found Erickson using. They also quote many of Erickson's case studies, some which have not been published before.

    The 6 Core Strategies
    Distraction is anything that is not part of the client's expected story. In fact, telling stories is a great distraction, because people get absorbed in them. Telling the right story for that client will redirect their thinking to somewhere more useful. Generally, you are shifting the focus of attention by taking the client's mind off what they don't want, and instead give them something they do want. Utilize their need to have a positive outcome. Stop thinking and “Just do it” (p. 42). Engage the client in something physical. Get them out of the chair, moving about. Lead them along a timeline, or have them look at themselves from different positions.

    Change takes time, occurring step-by-step rather than instantly. As a therapist, you need to acknowledges that people have their own preferred timescale for change (p. 105). Therefore, pay attention to small successes, incremental changes. This means you are improving your ability to discriminate and to notice subtle changes. The more you are aware of detail, the richer your world becomes, and the more choices you have.

    People get stuck when they think in universals, absolutes: “All p are q.” Partitioning is an analytical restructuring of experience, that breaks it down into component parts. It is about moving away from all-or-nothing thinking to differentiation, parts, stages, degrees, shades of grey ” And as parts have limits or boundaries, the client can then focus on that which can be changed, or realise that: “There's more to life than x.”

    As a therapist, assume the change has already happened, and merely ask the client to consider the finer details: how much, how soon, which part ” will change first ... ?
    You are accepting the client's desire and intention to change, but questioning the process by which it will occur.

    This is a familiar change technique: reframing (p. 154). Get someone to think about their experience from another point of view - someone else's or with a different focus of attention. In its simplest form: Stop ” Notice what happened. The client reflects on their experience, considers the decisions they made, and then decides to do something different.

    Utilization is the hallmark of Erickson's work. The therapist -˜accepts' whatever the client offers them. This, for many, is an unusual experience. Most people expect others will block (find reasons for not going along with) their suggestions, by arguing, denying, contradicting, ignoring, and so on. If instead you accept what someone says, you put them in a slightly weird position where they then have to reposition themselves, find another way of knowing what to do. Out of that initial confusion, comes regrouping, and change.

    You may find when reading the book, that these categories overlap, or that you can think of another way of sorting out these interventions. And that would be worth doing, would it not? That would get you to change the way you think about what to do next.
  6. “We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us not by working from the mold that they cast but by recognizing the function of their design.” 

    from the preface of Hope and Resiliency (p.V).

    “If after reading this book the reader is mostly excited about the new techniques that have been discovered, then the book should be read again in order to arrive at the main point.” 
    Hope and Resiliency(p.3).

    Two distinct models of psychotherapy are emerging in the 21st century: the empirically based, programmed models and the strategic, humanistic models. Hope and Resiliency will emerge as one of the texts that epitomize the emerging strategic humanistic movements.

    In the Newsletter interview with Scott Miller in the Winter 2005 issue (Vol. 24, No.3), Miller pointed out that techniques and procedures represent only a small percentage of the therapeutic impact in psychotherapy. Instead, it is the therapist's underlying rapport and conviction that makes the difference. Consistent with this strategic humanistic zeitgeist, Hope and Resiliency is more than a mere analysis of Erickson's strategies and techniques. It is a guide in understanding Erickson's perspective on what it means to be human and on what humans can become. Each chapter is a window into the complexity and miracle of what Erickson saw when he watched people interact with their environment and make conscious and unconscious decisions.

    An implied assumption in Hope and Resiliency is that if a therapist's internal conviction is that the patient needs fixing, the patient views himself as being broken. If a therapist's internal conviction is that the patient needs curing, the patient views himself as being sick. If a therapist's internal conviction is that the patient already has everything inside that he needs with which to solve his own problem, the patient views himself as being a seeker.

    While the Clinical Strategies section can be seen as an introduction to Ericksonian techniques, it is more a set of operational examples of Ericksonian philosophy-”behavioral metaphors that help us look through the eyes of Erickson. In the following six core strategies, the authors present some of the most important understandings taught by Milton Erickson:

    Distraction: Unintentional progress impedes self-sabotage.
    Partitioning: When everything cannot be made right, it is good to have something that is rectified.
    Progression: It is not possible to cure every sickness but there is always some good that can be done for those who suffer.
    Suggestion: All problem solving begins with the idea that change is possible.
    Reorientation: The greater the complexity of a person's psychological problem, the greater opportunity to discover a simple solution.
    strong>Utilization: Whenever you try to make a person change, you encourage animosity, but, if you offer an opportunity, your energy is not wasted.

    This core section of the book presents strategies for clinical problem-solving. It builds on the core strategies using delightful case examples followed by explanations and elaborations. As one who has read everything about Erickson I can get my hands on, I was happy to discover many previously unpublished examples. As with the first part of the book, the second section is more than a set of how-to techniques. It is an exploration of the roots and branches of Erickson's philosophical tree as seen through concrete applications.

    Each subsequent element is presented as though one were looking through a single multi-faceted window into the dynamic maelstrom of humanity. In this way, the authors have answered the challenge, avoiding reductionism by simultaneously presenting each element as both discrete and as an aspect of a larger whole.

    I appreciate how the authors elegantly combined the easily readable philosophic elements with practical technique and strategy explanations. At the end of the book there is a summary of pragmatic guidelines that describe contraindications and caveats when applying the strategies with different populations or specific cases. Subsequently, there are concrete exercises that help the practitioner to internalize each of the six strategies.

    In the introduction, the authors affirm that, “the content in these chapters is not meant to be memorized as a sort of stale doctrine but rather to serve as a spark for imagination and continued discovery.” They are extremely successful in accomplishing their stated goal. It is impossible to read this book without one's mind immediately thinking of how to apply the learnings to one's own patients.

    Most importantly, Hope and Resiliency helped me organize many of the learnings I previously internalized from Erickson but did not have pegs upon which to hang the concepts. This is a book I wish I had when I was just starting out. With it I would not have been as intimidated by the immense complexity of Erickson's worldview. To that end, I highly recommend Hope and Resiliency to anyone at any level who values both clarity and the joy of discovery.
  7. The keys to the kingdom! A leading Erickson scholar plus two of the master's daughters describe the core strategies and techniques that underlie his legacy of healing and therapeutic utilization of clients' resources. This brilliant book is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding and applying Erickson's work. Highly recommended!
  8. Another welcome addition describing the wisdom of Milton H. Erickson, MD by three authors who know his work well. This book makes a connection between his personal and professional life and presents detailed clinical examples for therapists in the field.
  9. A must read for every therapist. The book combines clear, simple instructions with wonderful case studies and an emphasis on Erickson's belief in the inner strength and the unlimited potential of each individual. The family anecdotes are precious.
  10. As the era of well-meaning, but misguided victimology wanes, psychotherapists are rediscovering the hope and resiliency that permeate the timeless therapeutic strategies of Milton H. Erickson. The authors, family and insiders who know Dr. Erickson best, lucidly and impressively convey new insights into the philosophy of healing that is at the core of his psychotherapeutic geniius. By understanding that healing is the activation of inner resources during the process of recovery, making life a continuous process of rehabilitation, psychotherapists can markedly improve their therapeutic effectiveness and bring new hope to their patients.
  11. This is delightful introduction to the work of Milton Erickson. It is remarkably clear and chalk full of practical examples and applications. It is especially good at emphasizing Erickson's positive and remarkably creative way of accepting and utilizing all parts of a person's reality to allow significant change and growth. I look forward to recommending it to my students as essential reading.
  12. In this engaging book renowned experts, Dan Short, Betty Alice Erickson, and Roxanna Erickson Klein, shed new light on fundamental patterns in the work of Milton H. Erickson, MD. Immerse yourself deeply in this entrancing and timeless wisdom, and realize the power within.
  13. “Hope and Resiliency. Understanding the Psychotherapeutic Strategies of Milton H. Erickson, M.D.” is a wonderful book. I had the sense while reading it that I was in Erickson's office and just listening to him talk. This is a consequence of an informal narrative style wherein the book contains many case studies, comments by Erickson, and comments by his daughters and Short. I have not seen some of these studies and commentaries before, and they shed a new and continuingly interesting light on this remarkable man and his works. There are gems like, “Let patients know that they are going to be cured and that it will take place within them.” And “Often in psychotherapy a change of reference is all that is needed.” and “Erickson's philosophy of healing was characterized by his attention to the goodness of the patient's mind and body.

    The heart of the book centers around organizing Erickson's contributions under the categories of: distraction, partitioning, progression, suggestion, reorientation, and utilization. Although it is next to impossible to characterize or systematize Erickson's work in simple packets, this organization does lend itself to an useful set of guidelines to the man and his work.

    This book is highly recommended as it provides the reader with some unique perspectives on Erickson's work, his way of working, and many practical ideas.
  14. In this age of standardized and even manualized treatments, Hope and Resiliency provides a refreshing reminder about the importance of honoring each individual's uniqueness. The authors build on the creative and highly skilled work of Milton Erickson and do a wonderful job of making some aspects of his methods more accessible to the reader.

    The case examples and family stories bring a folksy charm and gentle wisdom to the authors' clinically astute considerations of what it takes to do therapy well.
  15. Hope & Resiliency is a delightful and deeply moving reading experience that facilitated peace and wellbeing within my own heart and mind. I will keep it by my bedside as a daily refresher in the healing legacy Milton H. Erickson has passed on to all of us.

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