Widely recognized as the inventor of modern hypnosis, Dr Milton Erickson’s extensive work in medicinal hypnosis, family therapy and beyond, shaped the landscape that the hypnosis industry is in today.
Largely a self-taught psychiatrist, Dr Erickson went onto becoming the founding president of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis and an associate of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychopathological Association.
Being a prolific writer, he also authored a large amount of books and papers.
How Serious Medical Conditions Led Dr Milton Erickson to Become a Genius
Milton Erickson was born into a modest farming family and he had every intention to become just like his father, a farmer. Being dyslexic, color blind and a late developer, it seemed as though a farmer’s occupation was already reserved for him from day one.
At a young age, he overcame his dyslexia by experiencing what was described in his account, “flashes of light” and “creative moments”. These mysterious experiences would later be known as spontaneous autohypnotic trances and would continue to have a huge impact on Erickson’s life.
When Erickson was 17, he was severely paralyzed after contracting polio. His condition was so serious to the point where doctors believed that death was likely.
It was during one of the nights when he was at his worst, that Erickson experienced another autohypnotic experience. This incident would be the turning point in his life, personally and professionally.
In Erickson’s own words, as he lay in bed that night, barely able to speak or move:
“I saw that vast sunset covering the whole sky. But I know there was also a tree there outside the window, but I blocked it out… I saw all the sunset, but I didn’t see the fence and large boulder that were there. I blocked out everything except the sunset.”
It was then that Erickson became profoundly aware of the significance of different forms of non-verbal communication. Unable to do anything all day, he studied and watched carefully the body language, voice tones and expressions of those around him everyday.
Slowly but surely, Erickson began to regain control of certain parts of his body and eventually, he was able to use his arms and talk again.
Determined to push the boundaries for further improvement, he embarked alone on a grueling thousand mile canoe trip with only a few dollars to his name. When he finished, he was able to incredibly walk with a cane. He achieved this by focusing on “body memories” of the muscular activity in his body.
After coming to terms with the fact that he no longer had the strength to be a farmer, but he saw that being a doctor would be a viable option. The aforementioned series of events led Erickson to dive deep into the world of psychiatry and psychology.
He wanted to help others who suffered from bad experiences, traumas and life issues. Much of the time, he provided examples of the power of the unconscious mind by reflecting on his own experiences.
Dr Milton Erickson’s unconventional approach to psychotherapy and hypnotism has caused a lot of controversy in the past, all the way until even today. However, no one can deny the influence and impact of his life’s experiences and work.
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