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Hope & Resiliency
Short, Erickson, Erickson Klein

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The man went home absolutely determined to make his point. But, as he continued to exercise his thumb, he suddenly noticed movement in his index finger, the digit most likely to be affected by movement of the thumb. As the exercising progressed he became able to move more fingers. He became fascinated by this. Each new sign of progress kept him absorbed in finding out how many more little movements he could get out of his fingers. Then he became able to move his wrist, and then finally his arms.

These exercises became the man's method of passing time. Then, a year after his first appointment, Erickson gave him the task of painting a small cabin. The man responded by swearing as he informed Erickson that if he had any common sense he would not send a man with such limited movement to paint a cabin. Erickson persisted.

The assignment took him about three weeks. By the end of the summer he increased his speed and was able to paint a stucco duplex in a week's time. Following these accomplishments, he got a job as a truck driver. Next he decided he should join a fraternal order and was soon elected president of that order. During his ongoing work with Erickson, the man decided he needed a college education and went to college.

Some symptoms of the man's severe arthritis remained. Despite this condition Erickson explains, "He looks forward to the rainy season each year and the three to seven days during which he will be confined to bed with painful arthritis." The man was able to tolerate the intermittent bedridden condition because it gave him an opportunity to catch up on good books he wanted to read. Rather than being viewed as a relapse, the residual arthritis was identified as producing a "vacation."

                                                  (Erickson, 1957)

Because of the seemingly incredible nature of this case report and most others described in this book, it is very important to pay close attention to what was actually achieved and what was not. It is a mistake to be seduced by the idea that Erickson's use of hypnosis produced some sort of magical cure. Wonderful as the outcome was for the man with arthritis, it is essential to recognize that

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