Remember Milton: A video interview between Dr. Stephen Gilligan and Dr. Gunther Schmidt

An introduction to How I Met Milton from Dr. Gilligan Ph.D. 

I met Milton Erickson, M.D., in 1974, at the ripe age of 19. It was a momentous event for me, awakening a great fire in my soul that persists all these years later. There are few (if any) people that have affected me so positively and deeply, both personally and professionally.

I met Gunther Schmidt not that long afterwards, still in the 1970’s. We met in my home town of San Francisco, where a young Gunther was on his “hero’s journey”. Our connection has grown over the years, both personally and professionally. 

I feel Gunther has about as deep an understanding of Erickson’s work as anybody i’ve met, and the even more impressive thing is that he has developed it in his own unique and amazing way. 

When we were teaching together in Heidelberg this past May (2017), the opportunity arose for this conversation about Milton Erickson. I found it a very interesting exchange, and feel so lucky that Lutz Berger and Frieder Ittner have done such an exceptional job in recording and then crafting an extraordinary video from it. I hope that you find the conversation illuminative and helpful.

In this series of interviews Dr. Gilligan and Dr. Schmidt discuss their recollections of meeting Milton Erickson

Part 1 - Imagine it's 1974

Imagine it´s 1974 and you really want to meet Milton Erickson. How would you approach Milton to get him interested to meet YOU? Gunther talks about how he did it, the crazy letter and the riddle.

Part 2 - Encountering Milton Erickson

Milton had a unique way to enter into people´s reality, playfully and skillfully. People really felt seen. This exceptional human quality is one of the main reasons why - unlike other influential figures of his time - we still remember Milton today. Accordingly, Gunther’s and Stephen's experiences with Milton vary a lot. 

Part 3 - Our Approach To Milton Erickson

“I always wanted to help people, and Erickson gave me a way to do that...“ Stephen and Gunther talk about how Milton has influenced their work as therapists. He encouraged them to develop their own way, respecting their individual qualities. They also talk about Milton’s own development as a therapist, especially regarding his indirect approach in working with clients.

Part 4 - Do it your way

Moments of deep feelings—such as the death of a loved one, or the birth of your child--may impact you in profound way. What worked before, doesn’t fit anymore,_so you have to look for a new way. Stephen describes how his father’s death and his daughter’s birth, both within the same month, led to a more body-oriented concept of trance - today known as "Generative Trance.“

Get to know how Stephen did it.

Part 5 - The Balance of Consciousness and the Creative Unconscious

A creative self involves a balance between the conscious mind and the creative unconscious. You have to have a foot in both worlds, creativity being the conversation between them. This is true within a person, but also between different people (such as the client and the therapist.) Major aspects to get into balance are integration, adaptation and awareness (mindfulness). Please keep in mind: Your capacity to get feedback from the client, to tune in, is the basis of all systemic interventions.

Part 6 - Global Perspective and Future Work

The world seems to be out of balance. We hope our work can support more integration and especially deepen the human connection that is the basis for health and happiness. This isn’t really an option, it’s a necessity! We can´t let violence destroy our world, we have to offer opportunities to people who are not integrated or those that have lost hope.Let’s stand up and take a position!

Learn more about our opportunities ...

About Dr. Gunther Schmidt MD

Specialist in psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy.

Gunther is internationally regarded as one of the key pioneers in the development of an integration of systemic (including family-therapeutic) models and the competence-focussing concepts of Ericksonian hypnotherapy to a holistic-solution-focused concept for counseling and psychotherapy. 
In the German-speaking world, he made a decisive contribution to the "solution-oriented turnaround" in the field of coaching, team and organizational development with his contributions inspired by Milton Erickson. Equally important he worked with (also in close cooperation with Steve de Shazer and others) in building kompetenz- u. Solution-oriented short-term therapy in the area of ystemic family therapy, as well as in areas such as addiction problems, psychosomatic disorders, psychosis and the treatment of massively traumatized people.

The hypnosystemic models developed by him for organizational consulting, team and group work and coaching contribute significantly to an intensified resource-oriented counseling concept. His concepts of inpatient-clinical hypnosystemic psychosomatics and addiction short-term therapy are considered to be the leading model in Europe.

 As a member since its beginnings in the mid-1970s, the so-called "Heidelberg Group" for family therapy and systemic therapy and counseling "(to Prof. Helm Stierlin), he is co-founder and was for almost 20 years teaching therapist of the International Society for Systemic Therapy (IGST) , co-founder of the Heidelberg Institute for Systemic Research and Consulting, co-founder of the Carl-Auer-Systeme-Verlag, left the Helmstier-Institut for most of the other founders of IGST in 2002, and with them and several other renowned colleagues systemic therapy, consulting and research founded, which has meanwhile achieved great international reputation.

He is a teaching therapist, teaching supervisor and coach of the Systemic Society (SG) and the German Society for Systemic, Therapy, Counseling and Family Therapy (DGSF). 
He is the instructor of the Milton Erickson Society for Clinical Hypnosis (MEG) and was 2nd Chairman of the MEG from 1984-2004.

 In 2011, he received the Life Achievement Award of the continuing education industry: - The award - Follow-up highlights

In 2014 he was awarded the MEG Prize

And in 2015 he received the Coaching Award for special services in the field of coaching from the association Coaching Convention

Gunther Schmidt is not only head of the Meihei, but also medical director and managing director of the sysTelios private clinic for psychosomatic health development in Siedelsbrunn:

The sysTelios Clinic works with the latest findings in hypnosis, neurosystems and general short-term psychotherapy (deep psychology-based, hypnosystemically optimized) and with a holistic competence and solution focus in Siedelsbrunn since July 2007 in newly designed buildings in beautiful Odenwald location.