Milton Erickson was my mentor intermittently for more than six years; he was also an inspiration in creating the Master Class. At his essence, Erickson was experiential. He was the most radically experiential therapist to ever practice. Creating transformative experiences is a component in many schools of therapy, including rational emotive behavior therapy and cognitive behavior therapy, but for Erickson being experiential was not merely a component; it was most of his therapeutic work. Hypnosis is essentially an experiential technique. The subtext of hypnosis is this: “By living this experience, you can be different.” Hypnosis is not a means of providing information.
This book is an opportunity to study single-session therapies that are based in experiential methods. The learning from these methods is primarily stimulated by the client living the change, not by intellectual understanding of how to change. The participants declare what they are going to do differently and the sessions are designed to create experiences that foster the accomplishment of stated goals. Participants have solved complex problems and have made significant life changes. They have overcome writer’s block and then completed a book; they are happier in their jobs and relationships; they rebalance work and life; and they surmount childhood trauma.
The transcripts contained here offer opportunities to sit in on live interactions between therapist and client. An extraordinary adjunct to the transcripts are the participants’ — all stellar professionals themselves — notes on the sessions. They are able to articulate their understandings and impressions in such powerful ways that upon reading their perspectives I also took away something new.
Jeffrey K Zeig