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Apr 20, 2020

Today, Rhonda and David have the honor and pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jeffrey Zeig, the beloved founder and head of the Milton H. Erickson Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Every four years, Jeff sponsors the awesome Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference, which draws more than 7,000 mental health professionals to hear all of the most famous and best psychotherapy teachers and innovators in the world to beautiful Anaheim, California for five days. This year, it will be December 9 to 13, 2020.

In this far-reaching interview, Jeff talks about the history of psychotherapy, beginning with Freud's work beginning in 1885, all the way up to the first Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference on the 100th anniversary of Freud's origins, in 1985. He explains that up until the beginning of World War II, psychotherapists were focused on the WHY of emotional problems, in spite of the fact that the causes of depression and anxiety were then, and still are, completely unknown.

Then, around 1944, therapists began to focus on the question of how we can best help people heal, change, and grow, in spite of the fact that the causes have yet to be discovered. This was a welcome and sensible shift, but led to a proliferation of hundreds of competing "schools" of therapy, most of which claimed to "know" the causes of psychological problems and also claimed to have the "best" treatment methods.

Jeff's goal in creating the Evolution conference in 1985 was to bring together the best from all the schools of therapy to share ideas and focus on the common healing factors that all forms of effective therapy share. To Jeff's surprise and delight, the conference was an immediate hit, with more than 7,000 participants from around the world, and was sold out well ahead of time.

Jeff also discusses his own creative and imaginative philosophy and approach to therapy, which he describes as a magical experience, requiring great skill, much like a musical creation or theatrical, and not a cookie cutter formula taken from the pages of the latest treatment manual for depression or this or that anxiety disorder. Jeff is one of the pioneers and masters of "indirect hypnosis," which originated with his mentor, Milton Erikson.

Jeff fondly and tenderly describes his early days with Milton Erikson, who he describes as a wizard and genius, and likely one of the greatest therapists of all time. Erikson was also an inspiration to Jeff, and to all who had the good fortune of knowing him, because of his own extremely physical limitations caused by polio, and how he transcended those limitations and transformed them into strengths.

So, mark your calendars for the Evolution Conference this December 9 - 13. It will be a chance for you to hear and meet many your own therapy heroes first-hand and to learn from superb teachers. I'll be there too, so make sure you say hello. I don' t know yet what topics I will be speaking on, but will post them on my workshop page as soon as I find out.

And if you're a struggling, starving student, as I once was, Jeff wants you to know that they will need many helpers at the conference, and the helpers receive generous discounts!

Now, that's a deal you can't beat! You'll network with colleagues from around the world in a gorgeous setting.

Thanks for listening today, and thanks for all the kind comments and totally awesome questions you submit every day! We greatly appreciate your support!

David and Rhonda