Mel Kimura Bucholtz

Stillness Becoming Alive

The Ericksonian Perspective

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Milton Erickson's case of the man who thought he was Jesus Christ illustrates the heart of Erickson's approach.

This man couldn't control moving his hands back and forth across his chest while thinking he was the Christ. Erickson approached the man asking a question confirming the man's belief that he was the Christ. Erickson asked, 'Well, as Christ, you're a very good carpenter, aren't you? Surprised, the man said, "Yes". Erickson then placed a block of wood in one of his hands and a piece of sandpaper in the other. He then told the man that as a carpenter he had a very important calling in life and would help him keep his important identity secret. Erickson then helped the man get a job as a carpenter working in the nearby town as a cabinet maker. By this example Erickson demonstrated his focus on utilizing the man's skills, skills that helped him successfully fit into the ordinary, everyday world.

Though limited by his own color blindness, tone deafness, polio and stroke, Erickson nonetheless looked for the smallest signs of functional effectiveness by which each person demonstrated their best abilities to manage their lives.

In my training sitting with Erickson during sessions, he would often say, "Don't just listen, watch the muscles on people's faces when they speak, and their body postures. These will tell you how they are personally living what they are saying. From these, he told us, you can enter the reality of that person's unconscious everyday trance. Then you will know what to do according to what they say they want out of life.

milton erickson

Milton Erickson






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