The Answer is Still Within

Candle in Hands

(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

Author, Tools for Transforming Trauma & We’re No Fun Anymore






  1. Thanks for sharing this, Bob. I especially liked your observations about humor. It’s very validating to me.

    When I was in training, my professor asked us what are the top characteristics you’d like to have in your own therapist. I quipped, “Mine will certainly have to have a sense of humor.”

    A few years ago one of my professional colleagues with whom I shared an office suite commented to me that she hears alot of “genuine laughter” coming out of my office. I didn’t know what to think about her comment, so decided it was a compliment to my therapy skills and rapport with my clients.

    It’s not like we’re in their yucking it up or swapping jokes. The laughter comes when the client recognizes the humor or the incongruance in their own behavior. The laugh when they have a suprising epiphany. Or, they laugh at themselves when they “bust” themselves of an old habit. When humor arises, rigidity seems to disappear.

    I would love another post about humor.

    • Thanks Annette. I like your comments. I am not sure that your colleagues comments was meant as a compliment. Some people take the role of therapist to be very serious. It is very strange for them that people should have fun or humor in therapy. It reminds me of the quip: Working on yourself is not that hard. The only issue is the counter-transference! I will see what I can do about another blog. I guess I should mention that I have an entire chapter on play and humor in therapy in my book We’re No fun any more

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: