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To appreciate the depth of foundation supporting the many emerging psychotherapies inspired by Milton H. Erickson, M.D. (1901–1980), and how these contrast with other contemporary therapies, it is necessary to step back from the myopic view of post-Freudian thought and consider principles and practices that have withstood the test of time. Thus, this entry first examines the historical roots of hypnosis, which was foundational to Erickson’s understanding of the change process and which he modified in his use with clients. It then goes on to discuss Erickson’s use of pragmatism, constructivism, holism, and paradox in his work with clients.

Historical Context

Because Erickson’s approach to healing was deeply rooted in the practice of hypnosis, any therapy influenced by Erickson is best understood against the backdrop of ...

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