Michele Ritterman: Therapeutic Pioneer

Michele Ritterman, Ph.D., is recognized as the Mother of the integration of hypnosis and family therapy, in her classic text: Using Hypnosis in Family Therapy (1982). One of Milton Erickson ’s leading students, she originated the concept of the symptom as a trance state that is actually suggested by various people and social structures.  From this basic concept that Erickson himself admired, she framed therapy as the production of COUNTER-INDUCTIONS, hypnotic SEQUENCES that impact the symptom trance.  Diagnoses are rarely useful after induced symptoms have been treated.  Michele has trained thousands of psychotherapists around the globe in her approach to working with couples and families. -- shared and separate-track trances -- in family and couple interactions, and also the development of therapeutic counterinductions. 

Michele also pioneered the concept of the symptom as a gift and therapy as a mutually dignifying process of cooperative exchanges between therapist and client.  She calls this a woman's spin on therapy, based on a non-hierarachical approach to every step of a systematic therapeutic sequence.  

Dr. Ritterman is a prolific author whose work has been translated into several languages. Also a dedicated activist, she has served as a spokeperson for Amnesty International and other human rights organizations, and her book, Hope Under Siege,(1986), with a foreword by Isabel Allende, considers the applications of psychotherapeutic principles in the larger context of political and social reality. In Dr. Ritterman’s words, “Reciprocity is the highest form of love. And love has everything to do with healing.”
Her latest book The Tao of a Woman (2009) is a tool for us to carry with us to move from the symptom trance to the healing stance.  Her book in progress: From Trance to Stance, is her latest understanding in a therapy of shifts, as occur in martial arts, instead of labels of people and visions of individuals as damaged as opposed to wonderful, unique works in progress, like Michelangelo's Prigioneri series.  WE ARE ALL WORKS IN PROGRESS!  The goal of psychology is to help create a HUMAN FRIENDLY SOCIETY that caters to the bio-rhythms and other real and natural needs of the human organism.

This audio clip is from a speech about the Tao of a Woman.  Please visit the home page of this website for a video segment from a book party.  You may also download free some of her classic papers like "Stopping The Clock", "Torture: The Counter Therapy by the State", and fun-to-read papers on Milton Erickson's principles and other subjects basic to the symptom as a trance.


Michele specializes in working with:

Couples, whether husband and wife, lovers, parent/adult child, or friends in a squabble.

Families of any sort, especially with adolescent issues.

Individual problems including the full gamut of challenges from insomnia, test anxiety, pain management, disabilities, travel phobias, prolongued grief, all forms of somatic problems, to social anxieties and post-traumatic stress.

She employs altered states of consciousness as part of a systematic hypnotherapeutic process.

She also consults with agencies and teaches classes at universities, and provide workshops and lectures around the world about her clinical methods.

Contact her to schedule an appointment at 510-845-1863.


All Material © Michele Ritterman, PhD

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