The River of Life Model - timelines in psychotherapy
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Polski Instytut Ericksonowski
Submission date: 2022-11-20
Final revision date: 2023-02-13
Acceptance date: 2023-02-16
Publication date: 2023-04-04
Corresponding author
Katarzyna Szymańska   

Polski Instytut Ericksonowski
Psychoter 2022;202(3):43-56
This article discusses the River of Life model proposed by Peter Nemetschek, a hypnotherapeutic method using timelines. First, it outlines the strategy of individual and family systemic therapy based on this method and on futuring. Nemetschek made the assumption that the goal of therapy is to restore the individual’s and system’s adaptive capacity to cope with unavoidable crises by utilizing the system’s inner resources. He further assumed that the outcome of therapy would be reinforced if the patient’s attention was shifted to fostering hope and developing a positive attitude to the possible future achievement of the goal. Next, the article explores the method itself: its structure, basic steps, and application. A family short-term therapy case study is then presented and the practical application of the method is explained. The patient, a four-year-old boy with an elimination disorder (encopresis), was registered for therapy by his mother. In the last part of the article, the characteristics of the method that effectively facilitates change in therapy are identified. The method can be applied in individual, couples, and family therapy to address various clinical problems. The therapist uses a non-directive approach to induce a hypnotic state in all family members and involve them in a parallel therapeutic process. His/her role is both active and creative in that he provides space for the patients’ hypnotic projections of their course of life, introduces rituals, utilizes metaphors, symbols, and the family’s resources.
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