You cannot change the cards you have been dealt, but you can change how you play them


A wonderful example of this is Milton Erickson working with a girl who was paralysed, and in a wheelchair as a result of a car accident.  Erickson himself is in a wheelchair by this time in his life but there is evident positivity in his approach. You can see it towards the end of the linked youtube video (about 40 minutes in).

The girl asks Erickson to help her to learn to walk again…..

…and if I cant do that?

…to help me with the pain, which is worse when I am depressed……

…And what are you depressed about?

… I can’t use or exercise my muscles

…It seems that you are not exercising the muscles you have…

Erickson helps the girl to use the muscles she can use, and stretch those, like the muscles in her face that help her smile, like the dimples that appear when she smiles, and that those dimples are under exercised.  By the end of the discussion the girl has a smile on her face, as does Erickson. 

Instead of focusing on the evident problems, and the things the girl couldn’t do, the focus was on all the many things she could do.  Three years later the girl was interviewed again and talked about all the things that changed positively for her since that discussion. 

This is a wonderful lesson in

“perfection is not a human attribute”

and everyone can do something with whatever situation they are faced with.

Are you focussed on the many things you can do, and giving something a try, or are you stuck on the things you can’t do?

Why wouldn’t you focus on what you can do?

#sketchnote of Hope and Resiliency unerstanding the psychotherapeutic strategies of Milton Erickson.