Psychodynamic approaches hold that unconscious processes underlie or drive human behavior. Ericksonian hypnosis is a psychodynamic approach which views the unconscious as a positive resource.

The archetype of a psychodynamic approach is Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalysis, in which the Id, Ego, and Superego are constantly in dynamic tension with each other.  Freud (1933) viewed the unconscious Id as “a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations.” In brief psychoanalysis focuses on analyzing the problems caused by this tension. In theory, insight into these unconscious processes leads to catharsis, or an experiencing of emotions from the past, and healing.


Psychoanalysis is the epitome of a problem-focused approach, and stands in stark contrast with Constructivist approaches, which focus on solutions.


Milton Erickson, whose insights into hypnotic processes has been highly influential in Constructivist thought, had a very different view of psychodynamic processes. Feldman (1985) contrasted Erickson’s approach with Freud’s:

“Insight is not necessary for change. As a matter of fact, hypnosis or indirection is frequently used to bypass conscious processes—and therefore to work utilizing unconscious processes. The unconscious is regarded as a vast storehouse of learning and as a context— in itself—for change. Such a view is a revolutionarily different conception of the nature and scope of the unconscious. In contrast to the traditional psychodynamic notion of the unconscious as a place full of negative forces, impulses, and ideas which are so unacceptable that they must be repressed from conscious awareness, Erickson had a positive view of the unconscious.” (p. 155).


This positive view of the unconscious, as a vast positive resource for emotional change, is highly influential in Dr. Mau’s approach to helping people change through reframing emotions. While a focus on past problems is counterproductive, Dr. Mau does have effective techniques for reframing and releasing past emotions in order to move forward. Dr. Mau is a Board Certified Hypnotherapist who operates from an Ericksonian perspective.




Theoretical Orientation 

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Person-Centered Therapy and Related Approaches

Psychiatry and Diagnosis


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