Erickson Congress

I just had the absolute pleasure of attending the 13th International Congress of Ericksonian Hypnosis and Psychotherapy. For those who know my interests in Milton Erickson, this should come as no surprise that I really enjoyed my time there. I was greeted very warmly by Bill O’Hanlon and I learned I was known by Dr Zeig, which came as a surprise to me. I have jokingly said I am a legend in my own mind, but that really surprised me and I felt really honoured.

While my clients do not usually understand the difference between a lay hypnotist and clinical hypnotist, it is a very important distinction. I have maxed what I am able to do at the level I am and lay hypnotists and clinical hypnotists don’t generally get along. Trying to move to the clinical side from lay can be challenging and a lot of times there is a suspicion between the branches and usually with good reason.

I was originally told I could not go to the Congress which I had wanted to for some time, I had been turned down and I think I had some help from Bill O’Hanlon to get in here as after I said something to him, three days later I was given everything to register. (I later would be put in the Master Class also thanks to Bill.)

Then when it was getting close to the conference, I took all three of final exams early and drove to Phoenix from Augusta sleeping in my car to get there in as low as 12 degrees. I brought all my own food for days and I still could have been out another week easily food wise. It turns out I did the modern day equivalent of what most of Erickson’s students did to learn with him. Maybe that was what gave me some special consideration.

For those of you who are interested in hypnosis whether lay or otherwise, I also strongly suggest going to the Erickson Historical Residence which was very awesome and I was able to be given the tour by one of his sons which was also very neat. The Ericksons were very incredibly welcoming. Apparently they were like this when Dr Erickson was alive. The tradition continues.

While I enjoyed the conference, the learning and certainly the trances, I was able to finally have my brain flip into accepting being a neo-Ericksonian as well as a clinical hypnotherapist. I saw my former hypnotherapist there and I kept holding my brain as client to him, but I was able to see him as a colleague and hopefully he is starting to see me as the same. We will always have that past relationship, but relationships change as everything does. I will still completely admit I worked with him and discuss how he helped this process, but now I’m a neo-Ericksonian student at the beginning of my clinical psychotherapy career. I do not believe I was ever going to grow into the clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist role until I obtained a basic acknowledgement of my presence. (If you’re reading this, thank you.)

I know other things happened at that conference, but I don’t know what or how. Of course, that is the magick of Milton Erickson.

Melvin S. Marsh is a certified life coach and hypnotherapist serving Atlanta GA, Augusta GA, Statesboro GA, and Savannah GA. He performs hypnotherapy and life coaching appointments both in person and worldwide virtually. He can be reached at