Stephen Gilligan Ph.D., is a Psychologist in Encinitas, CA. He was one of the original NLP students at UC Santa Cruz; Milton Erickson and Gregory Bateson were his mentors. After receiving his psychology doctorate from Stanford University, he became one of the premier teachers and practitioners of Ericksonian hypnotherapy. This work unfolded into his original approaches of Self-Relations and Generative Self, and then further (in collaboration with Robert Dilts) into Generative Coaching. These different traditions have all been updated and integrated into the present Generative Change Work, which includes the applications of Generative Coaching, Generative Psychotherapy, Generative Trance, Hero’s Journey, and Systemic Change work.

He has taught in many different cultures and countries over the past 30 years, and has published extensively. His numerous books include The Hero’s Journey: A Voyage of Self Discovery (co-authored with Robert Dilts), the classic Therapeutic Trances, The Courage to Love, The legacy of Erickson, Walking in Two Worlds (with D. Simon), and Generative Trance: The Experience of Creative Flow. His forthcoming book is Generative Coaching (co-authored with Robert Dilts).

His website is

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I met Milton Erickson, M.D., in 1974, at the ripe age of 19. It was a momentous event for me, awakening a great fire in my soul that persists all these years later. There are few (if any) people that have affected me so positively and deeply, both personally and professionally.

I met Gunther Schmidt not that long afterwards, still in the 1970’s. We met in my home town of San Francisco, where a young Gunther was on his “hero’s journey”. Our connection has grown over the years, both personally and professionally.

I feel Gunther has about as deep an understanding of Erickson’s work as anybody i’ve met, and the even more impressive thing is that he has developed it in his own unique and amazing way.

When we were teaching together in Heidelberg this past May (2017), the opportunity arose for this conversation about Milton Erickson. I found it a very interesting exchange, and feel so lucky that Lutz Berger and Frieder Ittner have done such an exceptional job in recording and then crafting an extraordinary video from it. I hope that you find the conversation illuminative and helpful.