(by Robert Schwarz, PsyD, DCEP)
I just came back from the 12th International Conference on Ericksonian Hypnosis and psychotherapy, where I gave a workshop and demonstration on integrating energy psychology and Ericksonian hypnosis. Some of you may know that I have been involved with Ericksonian approaches to treatment since 1981 – 25 years!!!.
It was very interesting to go back and see all the of greats of that approach who are now in their 60’s and 70s, to see what they are doing and how they had evolved. One thing stood out more than anything else. It has everything to do with what drew me to Erickson’s work in the first place and to energy psychology about 15 years later.
Both approaches have at their center a hopeful, positive, holistic, and non-pathologizing position. Both emphasize the creativity of the client, the therapist and the interaction between the two. Neither energy psychology nor Ericksonian approaches are particularly interested in DSM diagnoses or forcing people into manualized, one size fits all methods.
I realize that we at ACEP have spent a great deal of energy demonstrating that EP is evidenced based. But showing that an approach can be researched and found to be effective does not capture the entire picture of the therapeutic process.
I watched many demonstrations during the conference. Over and over I was struck by the heartfelt connection between the client and therapist. Erickson always saw the “problem” as a communication about the solution. Each master therapist conveyed the message that the client was far more whole and resourceful than the client realized. This is not only important for the client. It’s important for the therapist too. I once took a weekend training with Dr. John Diamond. He said that as soon as the therapist saw the client as damaged and in need of help the therapist would go weak (via kinesiology). He demonstrated this repeatedly.
I was also struck by the humor most people used and evoked. We could get into a long discussion about humor (perhaps a topic for another blog). Suffice it to say that humor usually comes from a more resourceful place. It comes from the place that sees life as comedy rather than tragedy. Not a bad place for an agent of therapeutic change.
So the point of this blog is, stay connected to the creative, hopeful light inside of you. Help your clients do the same, and more possibilities are likely to emerge.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.
Robert Schwarz, PsyD, DCEP
Executive Director, ACEP