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Self-relations psychotherapy has been developed by the American psychologist Stephen Gilligan over the past 30 years. It emphasizes how reality and identity are constructed and how enduring problems represent an unconscious “locking” of a consciousness frame, so that the same negative reality is repeatedly constructed. More important, it describes how these negative frames may be “unlocked” and reorganized to allow new, positive realities to emerge. This entry overviews the self-relations approach, describing its historical influences and theoretical underpinnings as well as some of its core concepts and techniques.

Historical Context

Self-relations psychotherapy was especially influenced by the work of the American psychiatrist/ hypnotherapist Milton Erickson (1901–1980). Erickson emphasized how each person is unique and how each person’s behavioral/experiential pattern could be positively utilized for therapeutic purposes. ...

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