Self-image Thinking: The Anticipation Framework
A study of Erickson's work reveals many cases in which he helped clients build and shape positive self-images and anticipate real life situations in which they would enact those updated self-images. This emphasis was so frequent, in fact, that we suggest it was a central theme in his therapy. We begin this chapter, therefore, with a brief review of several of these cases in order to emphasize this recurring theme, as well as the variety of ways in which it was creatively addressed by Erickson. This variety, a hallmark of Erickson's style, was often as baffling as it was inspiring; consequently, his unique interventions and dramatic results seem difficult to recreate in systematic fashion. For this reason we have included in this chapter a systematic, recreatable method of building, shaping, and updating self-images and related scenarios. This method was derived from observation and analysis of typical features in many of Erickson's cases.