I wanted to respond to your inquiry due to your interest in the possible response Erickson may have developed due to being a person with a disability. Your question seems to equate pain or pain management with some type of spiritual insight or devine intervention/ cognition as a reward for endurance. I am attracted to the teachings of Mr. Erickson, not due to his physical challenge but, by his vocational/ career changes across his life-span. Thank you for sharing the physical challenge piece.
I wish I had known him to exchange that information. However, I do feel aligned to him because my own career path is VERY similiar. In the event that a first hand source does not present itself, I wanted to share with you a few insights as a result of your question:
1.) Medical concerns involving impedments of the body allow the individual to focus on the cognitive abilities. S. Hawkins, the famous Astrophysicist summed it up best in "Stephan Hawkins Universe" chapter two. He was diagnosed with ALS while in graduate school. He spent two years in a depressive state until he realized something. The area of study he had devoted himself to was one that challenged his intellect. The condition that he was presented with would not affect his brain. Therefore, since he was going to be able to be a productive citizen, it would be up to him to enlighten those around him and train them to aide in his research. He had to be proactive since the ALS would one day affect his body and speech. I submit to you that when faced with physical limits, one changes the focus of the life goal/ task. After all, the time given to such an individual as Erickson- who was originally an art teacher- was spent in the creative pursuit of effective healing techniques. (Rollo May would be proud.) Pain had little to do with his 'shaman' quality- time to think did.
2.) Erickson's ability to take a given situation and turn it into "a teachable moment" is the mark of a good teacher, a creative spirit, and a good counselor (all areas that he chose to develop as careers). Counselors need to take the client from where they are to a new plane of thinking. What better way than to start with something familiar to them?
3.) You mentioned people feared him, others liked him. It has been my personally experience that having a medical concern helps you to prioritize the events in daily living and to get organized. It is a time to address your personal thoughts to Adler's "What Life Could Mean to You". Many people see such things/ abilities as a threat. Erickson's teachings convey the ability to observe and record the priorities across the life span with great reasoning. Many people perceive that as a threat because they believe the individual 'can see right through them'.
It is interesting to note as well that many of the studied psychologist endured a tenure with a physical challenge. I wish you well on find a close associate of Erickson's. If not, I hope the above assists you with understanding the evolution of cognitive states in persons facing periodic,temporary,or daily physical challenges. :-) CMb
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