Erickson's Stories
My daughter came home from grade school and said, "Daddy, all the girls in school bite their nails and I want to be in style too."

I said, "Well, you certainly ought to be in style. I think style is very important for girls. You are way behind the girls. They have had a lot of practice. So I think the best way for you to catch up with the girls is to make sure you bite your nails enough each day. Now I think if you bite your nails for fifteen minutes three three times a day, every day (I'll furnish the clock) at exactly such-and-such hour, you can catch up.

She began enthusiastically at first. Then she began beginning late and quitting early and one day she said, "Daddy, I'm going to start a new style at school--long nails.

Starting by "joining the patient" in her desire to be in style, Erickson proceeds to make the "stylish behavior" into an ordeal. He often used this approach to symptoms---making it more of a bother to keep them than to give them up.

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