In a previous article about Ericksonian Psychotherapy we pointed out, that the Ericksonian school split into two different disciplines.

One of these disciplines was tasking.

Tasking known today as “The family systems theory”, originated from the way  Milton Erickson worked.

When Milton worked with clients he used at times to give them tasks. The idea behind tasking was to let the client reach inner understandings and results, by performing the appointed tasks.

There are many stories about such tasks.

The way it worked was by asking the client for a commitment to accomplish the task. Explaining that the task was possible to be achieved, and giving the task once the commitment was obtained.

In his book “My voice will go with you”, teaching tales of Milton Erickson – Sidney Rosen gives numerous examples.

An example of such a task is a story from old folklore.

Once upon a time there was this husband and wife, who kept quarreling.

Life was unbearable.

The wife deciding to change things asked for advice. The elder women advised her to go and see a certain witch that lived in the woods.

The wife went to that witch and after recounting her problems with her husband, the witch advised the following.

During a full moon the wife should take a big jar and go to seven special wells and fill the jar with water from all seven wells.

Having acquired the water, each time her husband started quarreling she should take a sip of water and keep it in her mouth until he was finished. Swallowing the water, only after he has finished shouting.

Lo and behold, the quarreling stopped.

This task teaches in an indirect way, that when someone starts shouting at you one of the wise ways to eliminate a quarrel would be to keep quite.

When your mouth is full with water you cannot answer back.

When one stops to think, for a moment. Tasks can be simple yet very powerful.

According to the wonderful work done by Don A. Blackerby, people suffering from ADD have been found, to have a deficiency in their auditory faculty.

By tasking the client to read loudly certain articles or books, the auditory sense can be enhanced.

As you see, the possibilities are endless and the beauty is that it can be applied to any situation. Be it to the individual, a family, or any group and even in business situations.

Tasking was only one part the genius of Milton Erickson.

For us, it is a real treasure.

Emil Capone

Certified Trainer of NLP, CCHT and Advanced Practitioner of EFT.

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