VIDEO: Psychotherapy as Experiential Drama

Jeffrey Zeig on Bridging the Gap between Knowing and Realizing

In our own lives and in our work with clients, we often find that simply knowing what we need to do isn’t enough. Habits, excuses, and fears keep us stuck in patterns of behavior regardless of whether we cognitively know how to change them.

To quote Jeff Zeig, Founder of the Milton H. Erickson Foundation, we have to “bridge the gap from the land of knowing to the land of realizing” by having novel experiences.  Jeff describes therapy as the stage for these experiences and therapists as orchestrators of symbolic mini-dramas that give clients fresh understandings of themselves and their abilities.

In this clip from his webcast session, Jeff explains the tools he uses to make therapy a true experience—including trance, novelty, and precision in his use of language, and resonant gestures that convey powerful ideas and images to clients.


Rich Simon

Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day.