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excerpt from The Milton H. Erickson Foundation
Newsletter Vol. 20, No. 2 summer 2000
Rick Landis, Ph.D.
By Betty Alice Erickson, M.S.
Anyone who has been to an Ericksonian Congress, or to many of the other Conferences that the Erickson Foundation sponsors, has seen and probably talked to Rick Landis, Ph.D. He is the fixture in the Exhibit area, for the Southern California Society for Ericksonian Psychotherapy and Hypnosis (SCSEPH). Frequently he is found sitting in a booth, surrounded with an impressive array of exhibits. These include videotapes of Erickson at work, books, audiotapes and videotapes of the outstanding training work done by the SCSEPH.
Landis' quiet and gentle demeanor, as he responds to questions, hides his dynamic personality, his sharp clinical skills and his ability to join productively with clients and colleagues. Through an ability to connect and network, he has developed friendships and professional relations with many of the people highlighted at these meetings. Even though those names are more recognized by the average therapist, Landis' contribution to the field is as impressive.
In 1977, he entered a partnership with Terry Argast, Ph.D., another major and long-term contributor to the field, as well as with Gary Ruelas, Ph.D., D.O., who subsequently became a physician. Their goal was to develop professional meetings to discuss clinical models of communication and therapy. These meetings, as well as those that have another focus, are still being held. The Orange County Society for Ericksonian Psychotherapy and Hypnosis was formed in 1984. Later, this group expanded into the SCSEPH. This group, with the addition of hard-working and dedicated individuals, is now an accomplished and valued institute.
Landis, and the original study group, made several trips to Phoenix to study directly with Erickson. Many of these sessions were taped and SCSEPH has developed those tapes into teaching materials.
Erickson took a special liking to Landis. Not only did they enjoy each other's wit and sense of humor, both shared an appreciation for a childlike sense of wonder and curiosity. This, as well as their delight in using the unexpected as an integrated element of therapy, cemented their relationship.
As director of training at the SCSEPH, Landis, Argast and others in the group have developed a myriad of effective training programs. Using a variety of formats, they have developed some of the most creative approaches offered within the institute network. Not only do they have "standard" introductory and intermediate training programs in hypnosis, but also offer workshops in other areas of therapy. Further, they have presented three-day retreats in which intensive training is given. This format is modeled after the manner in which Erickson's students studied with him.
Landis has presented throughout the United States. Among his more memorable teaching engagements, was a visit to Moscow where he was responsible for a workshop of several days. The organizer later remarked that Landis' personable way of teaching and his high level of knowledge and preparation had made this a most gratifying and successful educational venture.
A member of the exclusive magician's club in Los Angeles, Landis has maintained a long-standing interest in magic. As magic and sleight of hand conceal actuality, one would never suspect that this quiet and unassuming gentleman had such depths of incisive intelligence and well-honed clinical skills - unless one listens carefully to him. Landis uses his genuinely nice personality and somewhat retiring demeanor to mask his brilliance and forceful self.
Over the years, Landis has advanced Ericksonian approaches tremendously in this niche that he created and developed. Who would suspect that a carefully positioned display would affect so many clinicians and consequently their clients and patients? Landis' strategic thinking and diligent labors over decades, combined with his networking ability, has influenced countless people in the past, in the present and in the future. Thank you Rick Landis, for all you have done.
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