Ericksonian Hypnotherapy for an Impulse Problem

Cover of Ericksonian Hypnotherapy for an Impulse Problem (medium)
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For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories

Format: DVD [Closed Captioned]
Availability: In Stock
Running Time: Over 100 minutes
Item #: 4310824
ISBN: 978-1-4338-0225-6
Copyright: 1997

In Ericksonian Hypnotherapy for an Impulse Problem, Dr. Jeffrey K. Zeig demonstrates his approach to treating clients having problems with impulsive behavior. In this approach, the therapist creates experiences in therapy that increase clients' access to their hidden strengths that may be used to help reduce impulsive behavior. Hypnosis is used to heighten the client responsiveness and open up dormant resources. In this session, Dr. Zeig works with a 30-year-old woman with an impulsive spending problem to help her uncover resources she already possesses for resisting her financially harmful habit.

This video features a client portrayed by an actor on the basis of actual case material.


Ericksonian psychotherapy is a practical process of providing tailored, dramatic, real-life experiences that activate responsiveness and dormant resources in patients. The therapist creates situations whereby patients, to their own credit, realize hidden strengths and bring them to the foreground to solve the problems that brought them to therapy. For example, depressed patients are not instructed in ways to alter their mood, thinking, and behavior; rather, they are helped to access ways they already know of doing so.

In Ericksonian therapy, patients are viewed as complete human beings who have temporarily lost access to their resources; customarily, they are not viewed in terms of their pathology. For this reason, diagnosis and history taking are deemphasized. Assessment is instead focused on styles of communication (e.g., verbal and nonverbal patterns); values of clients and strengths in their social systems are emphasized, particularly as they influence setting and meeting therapeutic goals and overcoming resistance to change.

The practice of Ericksonian therapy is tailored to each patient's unique situation. There are, however, favored methods of accessing client's responsiveness and resources. These include hypnosis, indirect suggestion, symptom prescription, and concrete tasks. Techniques from hypnosis may be applied naturalistically (i.e., without the initiation of formal trance). Such indirect methods are used to enhance responsiveness to social influence.

Social influence processes used by the therapist include reframing, creating metaphors, using paradox, telling anecdotes and stories, and experimenting in and out of session. The therapist may set up situations in which others can have a positive social influence on the patient (e.g., getting the patient involved in community volunteer work with positive role models). Bibliotherapy, puzzles, riddles, and symbolic assignments are used as well.

While Ericksonian therapy is a form of therapy in itself, techniques derived from the approach can be incorporated into other models of treatment and across patient populations to enhance treatment effectiveness.

Dr. Zeig identifies his approach as "Ericksonian hypnotherapy." What does this imply to you? More specifically, what do you expect of him? Will Dr. Zeig be active or passive? Will the session be structured or unstructured? Directive or nondirective? Will it focus on the past or on the present? Will the session focus on behaviors, on thoughts, or on feelings? What do you expect to be the relative balance between attention to technique versus the interpersonal interaction?

About the Therapist

Jeffrey K. Zeig, PhD, is the founder and president of The Milton H. Erickson Foundation in Phoenix, Arizona. He received his master's degree from San Francisco State University (1973) and doctorate from Georgia State University (1977), both in clinical psychology. He is engaged in private practice and consulting, and he has taught psychotherapy and hypnosis throughout the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries on six continents.

Dr. Zeig has edited, coedited, or authored 12 professional books and 5 monographs, which have been translated into eight languages. Two foreign language books have been published about his work.

He is the initiator and organizer of six International Congresses on Ericksonian Approaches to Psychotherapy and Hypnosis, two multidisciplinary Brief Therapy Congresses, and four Evolution of Psychotherapy Conferences.

Dr. Zeig is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 29 (Psychotherapy) and of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. He serves on six editorial boards and has been honored by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and The Netherlands Society of Clinical Hypnosis.

Suggested Readings
  • Erickson, M. H., & Rossi, E. L. (1979). Hypnotherapy: An exploratory casebook. New York: Irvington.
  • Gilligan, S. (1987). Therapeutic trances: The cooperation principle in Ericksonian hypnotherapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
  • Haley, J. (1973). Uncommon therapy. New York: Norton.
  • Lankton, S. R., & Lankton, C. (1983). The answer within. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
  • Rossi, E. (Ed.). (1980). The collected papers of Milton H. Erickson. New York: Irvington.
  • Yapko, M. (1990). Trancework: An introduction to the practice of clinical hypnosis (2nd ed.). New York: Brunner/Mazel.
  • Zeig, J. K. (Ed.). (1980). A teaching seminar with Milton H. Erickson, MD. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
  • Zeig, J. K. (1985). Experiencing Erickson. New York: Brunner/Mazel.

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