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The 6 core competencies & 4 skills of Ericksonian Therapy: Dan Short, Director, Erickson Ins

Dan Short and Christoffel Sneijders
Dan Short and Christoffel Sneijders

Milton Erickson is seen as the most influential Hypnotherapist of the 20th century.

But how he did what he did, has always been a guess. So many people/ex-students did their best to point down how to replicate his amazingness.

Dan Short, Director, Milton H. Erickson Institute of Phoenix did the impossible in 2017 nailing it.

In cooperation with Jeff Zeig, Co-Founder & Director, Milton H. Erickson Foundation Scott D. Miller, Co-Founder, ICCE they did a research in the core attitudes and core competencies that an Ericksonian Therapist has or should have.

They came together with an international research group and distilled the 2 sets of essentials: 4 essential skills and 6 core competencies.

These four categories represent a universally agreed upon set of essential skills or practices for Ericksonian therapy, they are:

1. Observation 2. Cultivation 3. Validation 4. Challenge

They are completed the 6 core competencies:

1. Tailoring 2. Utilization 3. Strategic 4. Destabilization 5. Experiential 6. Naturalistic


Ericksonian therapy is broadly classified as any goal-oriented, problem solving endeavor grounded in methodology inspired by the teachings and casework of Milton H. Erickson, MD. More specifically, Ericksonian therapy is defined as an experiential, phenomenologically based approach to problem solving that utilizes existing client attributes while evoking natural processes of learning and adaptation.

Meaningful therapeutic change can occur across multiple systems (e.g., cognitive, behavioral, affective, subconscious, autonomic, and social systems) as symbolic or directly lived experiences are used to destabilize maladaptive patterns and bring forth inherent resources that can be utilized for immediate and future problem solving endeavors.

Hypnosis and/or hypnotically derived methods are central. Utilizing inherent resources that may be obscure to the client is essential; while an explicit theory of personality and the interpretation of past patterns are not.

This In contrast to many traditional schools of therapy, Ericksonian therapy is not a systematic set of procedures or treatment protocols, but rather a constellation of principles that guides the therapeutic process. The core of Ericksonian influence is the very permissiveness that makes it difficult to define. While the roles of practitioner and client remain distinct, neither are constricted by orthodoxy or protocol; rather each are free to explore any ethical direction or possibility elicited through the process of therapeutic discovery.

In this regard, Ericksonian therapy is a perspective of learning, healing, and growth that fosters flexibility in an ongoing adaptive way. Thus, practitioners are admonished to exercise great flexibility and creativity as they work collaboratively with the client. The standard by which progress is measured is subjective and established by the client relative to his or her personal goals (i.e., phenomenological).

In this approach, the therapeutic relationship exists for the sake of meeting the client's needs. During this cooperative endeavor, the therapist accepts and encourages the client's attempts to direct and influence the therapy process. In turn, the client is more open to the influence of therapy. Thus the relationship, which revolves around cooperation, can be described as reciprocal and self-reinforcing.

If you are interested in learning more about Ericksonian hypnotherapy join our 2 day workshop in august or follow our Clinical Hypnotherapy training.

Have amazing healthy and balanced days!

Christoffel Sneijders

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