Who was Milton H. Erickson?
Milton Erickson Founder of modern hypnotherapy
Milton H. Erickson is one of the most important personalities in the field of hypnosis, he is considered a pioneer of modern hypnotherapy. The treatment techniques that he developed about a hundred years ago, at the beginning of the last century, have been constantly developed and improved since then. It was precisely the experiences that the American psychiatrist and psychotherapist had already made in his childhood and youth that contributed significantly to his reaching this position. He has been able to prove, so to speak, by his own example, that working with the subconscious in hypnosis produces strong results and has a great potential for change.
Milton Erickson and how it all began
Milton Hyland Erickson was born on December 5, 1901 in Nevada, USA as the second child of his parents, his mother was from New England, his father's family from Norway. Erickson suffered from dyslexia since early childhood and was considered developmentally delayed. However, he was able to overcome this disorder through independent, persistent practice as well as visualizations.
At the age of 18, Erickson contracted polio and fell into a coma for three days. He barely survived, but afterwards was completely paralyzed and, so to speak, tied to a rocking chair - in which he always sat positioned at a window. Already skilled in visualization and imagination exercises, he took advantage of this time and continued to practice and focus on it. In the visualization, he looked out at the window and imagined himself moving his body, running and climbing. The narratives describe that there was one afternoon when his rocking chair was not close enough to the window and his huge desire to be able to look out the window drove him so much that he actually managed to move his rocking chair involuntarily. With further practice, he managed to reanimate and build up his muscles more and more.
After a year, he was able to walk again on crutches. He took the opportunity and enrolled in the University of Wisconsin to study psychology. To continue building his muscles, he embarked on a 1,200-kilometer canoe trip down the Mississippi River - against his doctors' advice. Another two years later, he was able to walk without crutches, with only his right leg limping afterward.
The results of his own mental and consistent exercises encouraged the young Erickson to pursue his studies around hypnosis. He continued to practice and devised his own methods that did not conform to the doctrine of the time.
After completing his studies, he worked as a doctor and psychotherapist. It is thanks to him that hypnosis was again used more frequently in psychotherapy. His theories and methods were further developed by others, such as Dr. Richard Bandler, who was the founder of NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming). His greatest achievement was the development of the so-called Erickson method.
Milton Erickson founded the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis in 1957
Further scarred by various illnesses during his life, he contracted polio a second time at the ripe old age of 75, associated with muscle wasting and paralysis. Erickson died in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 25, 1980, at the age of 78. His former home in Arizona is now a museum. A visual trademark of the outstanding psychotherapist was his clothing: it was always purple.