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Milton Erickson Father of Modern Hypnotherapy?

Milton Erickson Father of Modern Hypnotherapy?

Milton Hyland Erickson, MD is considered by many to be the father of modern hypnosis or at least the most influential practitioner of hypnosis of the 20th century. Why? In the author’s opinion, it is clear that Erickson was a major figure in hypnosis, he is a great influence, but is also contradictory. Most of his work would be defined as hypnotherapy, yet he did not believe that hypnotherapy was indeed a therapy in its own right. He was against the certification of those who were not medically or psychologically qualified, yet some of the most fervent followers of Erickson’s ideas are practiced by the very people who Erickson would not have wanted to practice the hypnotic arts. Finally, Erickson, who did not follow or establish any formal school of psychology, has had upwards of 200 books written by and about him, most of which were published after his death in March 1980. It is my hope to make the various components of what made Erickson a successful hypnotist easier to understand so that they could be practiced by those who want to offer their clients a creative form of intervention and assistance.

Milton Erickson, was born in Aurum, Nevada to relatively humble surroundings. He was one of 11 children born to Albert and Clara Erickson. Erickson was colour blind, tone deaf, and dyslexic. In many ways these afflictions would be utilised in later life to help him with his therapeutic model. Perhaps the most profound ailment that struck Erickson was poliomyelitis in his late teens. It took him nearly a year to recover. He went on to the University of Wisconsin and qualified as both a physician and psychologist. After a number of medical positions and another bout of polio he moved out to Phoenix where he had arguably his most productive period of his life regarding hypnosis writing and teaching; he had published over 140 reviewed articles before he died. Some of the most notable achievements of Erickson were:

  • Founding Member of the Society of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis
  • Founder of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis
  • Founding Editor of The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis

Even today, the Milton H Erickson Foundation keeps much of Erickson’s work alive and holds conferences and trainings which follow his method of therapy.


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