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John Simon September 9th, 2006 02:08 PM

Was Erickson an Animal Lover?
Mr. Lankton,

I have noticed that many of the metaphors that are considered to be Ericksonian involve animals in the context of fairy tales. I am sure that children love these types of stories as they are contained in the zeitgeist of our culture. I am wondering how adults relate to these stories? The few stories that I have heard Erickson actually tell involved his perceptions of his own life or learning and did not involve animals. Did I miss his good animal stories or is it just easier for some clinicians to tell animal stories so they this direction? I have not seen you use many stories about animals, although I think you did talk about the growth of a tad pole into a frog at the last Ericksonian conference in Arizona. What’s the story regarding these stories?


Joseph C. O'Rourke, LCSW September 11th, 2006 10:44 AM

Re: Was Erickson an Animal Lover?
Hi John,

I was reading Milton H. Erickson, M.D.: An American Healer (Great Book) by Bradford Keeney and Betty Alice Erickson last night and there was mention of Erickson enjoying watching Wild Kingdom. He also made up stories (metaphoric) about a frog named, I think, White Belly. for his grandchildren. Then, of course, there was the story of the fellow where Erickson used a dog in the treatment. Erickson kept the dog at his house and wrote letters to the man, from the dog.

I have no direct knowledge, but from what I have read and heard from people who did know him, Erickson seemed to love animals and nature; and utilized both in treatment with adults. Just my opinion…

Best wishes,

Joe O’Rourke

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