Bill O'Hanlon

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Bill O'Hanlon, M.S., is psychotherapist, author, and speaker. He co-developed Solution-Oriented Therapy,[1] a form of Solution focused brief therapy and has authored or co-authored over 30 books (ranging from brief therapy for various clinical topics to those about publishing). He is also a musician who plays guitar and has written several songs available online.[2]

O'Hanlon was a psychology student at Arizona State University in 1973, when he met the psychiatrist and hypnotherapist Milton H. Erickson at the Matthews Art Gallery on campus. After that encounter, O'Hanlon tracked down and read every article by Dr. Erickson, and after writing Erickson a letter in 1977, he became Erickson's gardener in exchange for Erickson teaching O'Hanlon hypnosis and psychotherapy.

O'Hanlon went on to become an advocate, translator and teacher of Ericksonian therapy and hypnosis around the world, presenting over 3,000 talks, including the first presentation on Erickson's work in Finland.



1. Shifting Contexts: The Generation of Effective Psychotherapy. New York: Guilford Press (September 1987; out of print). Co-authored with James Wilk.

2. Taproots: The Underlying Principles of Milton Erickson's Therapy and Hypnosis. New York: Norton (February 1987).

3. In Search of Solutions: A New Direction in Psychotherapy. New York: Norton (January 1989). Co-authored with Michele Weiner-Davis

4. An Uncommon Casebook: The Complete Clinical Work of Milton H. Erickson analyzed and summarized. New York: Norton (October 1990). Co-authored with Angela Hexum.

5. Rewriting Love Stories: Brief Marital Therapy. New York: Norton (February 1992). Co-authored with Patricia Hudson.

6. Solution-Oriented Hypnosis: An Ericksonian Approach to Inner Healing. New York: Norton (October 1992). Co-authored with Michael Martin.

7. A Brief Guide to Brief Therapy. New York: Norton (March 1993). Co-authored with Brian Cade.

8. A Field Guide To Possibility-Land: A Possibility Therapy Manual. Omaha: Possibilities Press (July 1994). Co-authored with Sandy Beadle. Reissued as Guide to Possibility Land by W.W. Norton, January 1999.

9. Love is a Verb: Stop Analyzing Your Relationship and Start Making It Great! [Stop Blaming, Start Loving-paperback title] New York: Norton (February 1995). Co-authored with Pat Hudson.

10. The Handout Book: Complete Workshop Handouts of Bill O’Hanlon, M.S. Omaha: Possibilities Press (Print version May 1996; reissue date March 2005, web-only PDF version, Santa Fe, Possibilit-E Press).

11. Even From a Broken Web: Brief and Respectful Solution-Oriented Therapy for Resolving Sexual Abuse. (April 1998, Wiley; paperback W. W. Norton, March 2002). Co-authored with Bob Bertolino.

12. Solution-Oriented Therapy for Chronic and Severe Mental Illness. (December 1998, Wiley). Co-authored with Tim Rowan.

13. Brief Couples Therapy Homework Planner. (December 1998, Wiley). Co-authored with Steffanie O’Hanlon and Gary Schultheis.

14. Evolving Possibilities: Selected Papers of Bill O’Hanlon. (May 1999, Brunner/Mazel [Taylor and Francis]). Co-edited by Steffanie O’Hanlon and Bob Bertolino.

15. Invitation to Possibility-Land: A Teaching Seminar with Bill O’Hanlon. (October 1998, Brunner/Mazel [Taylor and Francis]). Co-authored with Bob Bertolino.

16. You Can’t Make Me!: Successfully Managing Strong-Willed, Oppositional and Defiant Children. (January 2001; paperback January 2002; mass market paperback, May, 2002, Signet Books). Co-authored with Ray Levy and Tyler Goode.

17. Do One Thing Different: Ten Simple Ways to Change Your Life. (William Morrow and Company, October 1999; paperback, Quill, November 2000).

18. Collaborative, Competency-Based Counseling and Therapy. (Allyn and Bacon, July 2001). Co-authored with Bob Bertolino.

19. A Guide to Inclusive Therapy: 26 Techniques for Respectful, Resistance-Dissolving Therapy. (W.W. Norton, February 2003).

20. A Lazy Man’s Guide to Success. (March 2003, Possibilit-E Press, web-only PDF book).

21. Thriving Through Crisis: Turn Tragedy and Trauma Into Growth and Change. (Publication date: February 4, 2004, Penguin/Perigee; paperback release date: February 28, 2005).

22. Dire Fare Cambiare: Guida Practica al Cambiamento in Terapia e Nella vVta Quotidiana (with Charlie John Fantechi); Italian only book; (FrancoAngeli, viale Monza 106, 20127 Milano, ITALY; published February 2005).

23. Pathways to Spirituality: Connection, Wholeness, and Possibility for Therapist and Client (February 2006, W.W. Norton Professional Books).

24. Change 101: A Practical Guide to Creating Change (in Life or Therapy). (manuscript completed ; Publication scheduled for Fall 2006, W.W. Norton Professional Books).

25. How to Write a Proposal and Sell Your Non-Fiction Book (April 2006, Possibilit-E Press, web-only PDF book).

26. Write is A Verb: Sit Down, Start Writing, No Excuses. (Writer’s Digest Books July 2007).

27. Becoming a Paid Speaker (July 2006, Possibilit-E Press, web-only PDF book)

28. A Guide to Trance-Land [W.W. Norton, 2009].

29. Quick Steps to resolving Trauma [W.W. Norton, 2010]

30. The Therapist's Notebook on Positive Psychology (Routledge, 2011)

31. A Friend in the Book Business: Writing and Publishing Tips from Bill O'Hanlon (PossiBillit-E Press, 2011)

32. The Change Your Life Book (HCI, 2012)

33. Becoming a Published Therapist (forthcoming March, 2013, W. W. Norton)

34. Out of the Blue: Six Non-Medication Ways to Relieve Depression (April 2014, W.W. Norton)


“O’Hanlon Gardening Service (An Anecdote about Erickson),” The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter, 2(2): 6, Summer 1982.

“Comment on ‘A Matter of Mourning’ (case example),” The Underground Railroad, 3(3): 3, Fall 1982.

“Splitting and Linking: Two Generic Patterns in Ericksonian Therapy,” The Journal of Strategic and Systemic Therapies, 1(4): 21-25, Winter 1982.

“Strategic Pattern Intervention: An Integration of Individual and Family Systems Therapies based on the work of Milton H. Erickson, M.D.,” The Journal of Strategic and Systemic Therapies, 1(4): 21-25, Winter 1982.

“Paradox Reduced: Reply to Jim Warner,” The Underground Railroad, 4(1): 3-4, March 1983. “An Annotated Erickson Bibliography,” The Family Therapy Networker, 7(5): 39+, September–October 1983.

“Framing Interventions in Therapy: Deframing and Reframing,” The Journal of Strategic and Systemic Therapies, 3(2): 1-4, Summer 1984.

“Is Lying Possible in Therapy?” The Underground Railroad, 5(3): 4-5, September 1984. “Uncommon Sense in Therapy: Milton H. Erickson and Ericksonian Therapy,” Assert, 55: 3-4, Autumn 1984.

“Permissive vs. Authoritarian Induction Approaches,” The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter, 5(1): 7, Winter 1985.

“Custom Reframing: The Use of Analogies for a Change,” The Underground Railroad, VI(2): 5-7, April 1986. (Simultaneously published in Finnish in the Finnish Journal of Family Therapy.) “Debriefing Myself: When a Brief Therapist Does Long-Term Work,” The Family Therapy Networker, 14(2): 48+, March/April, 1990.

“Comment on ‘Establishing the agenda: Approaches to schizophrenia,’ (case example),” The Family Therapy Networker, 14(6): 68, November/December, 1990.

“Theory Countertransference,” Dulwich Centre Newsletter, 1992.

“The Limits of Setting Limits on Mental Health Services,” (with Mark Hubble and Kathy Revell), Medical Interface, 5(7): 33-40, July 1992.

“Comment on ‘Mobilizing Anger: A simple intervention proves remarkably effective,’ (case example),” The Family Therapy Networker, 16(5): 73-74, September/October, 1992.

“Rewriting Love Stories,” (with Patricia Hudson), Family Therapy News, October 1993, pp. 9–10. “Comment on ‘Avoiding the Truth Trap: Responding to allegations (and denials) of sexual abuse,’ (case example),” The Family Therapy Networker, 18(2): 76-79, March/April, 1994.

“The Third Wave,” Family Therapy Networker, November/December, 1994, pp. 19–29. “Comment on ‘Manners Matter,’ (case example),” The Family Therapy Networker, 21(4): 81-83, July/August, 1997.

“The Dog Ate It: When Clients Don’t Do Their Homework,” The Family Therapy Networker, 22(3): 21-22, May/June, 1998 (co-authored with Steffanie O’Hanlon).

"Stood Up: One night father did know best," The Family Therapy Networker, 22(4): 88, July/August, 1998.

"A Mother's Liberation: One small step for womankind," The Family Therapy Networker, 23(2): 96, March/April, 1999.

Dwyer, Timothy F. (July 2001). "Interviews with Richard C. Schwartz, PhD, Eliana Gil, PhD, and Bill O'Hanlon, MS". Journal of Clinical Activities, Assignments & Handouts in Psychotherapy Practice (Taylor and Francis) 1 (3): 79–92. doi:10.1300/J182v01n03_09. 

“Moving On From Trauma,” Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association, January/February, 2002. “Moving On: New, Brief, Effective (and Controversial) Trauma Treatment,” Paradigm, Summer 2002, p. 12-13; 22.

“The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” Psychotherapy Networker, January/February 2003, 27(1), pp. 26–31; 56.

“Best Shot.” Psychotherapy Networker, March/April 2005.

“May I Suggest Being Less Suggestive: Contrasting Authoritarian and Permissive Hypnosis,” Family Therapy Magazine, July/August 2008.

“My ‘Indiana Jones’ Life as an Entrepreneurial Therapist,” Family Therapy Magazine, November/December, 2009.

Articles or Chapters in Books[edit]

“Frameworks of Milton Erickson's Hypnosis and Therapy,” in Zeig, J. (Editor), Ericksonian Psychotherapy (Vol. 1: Structures), The Proceedings of the Second International Congress on Ericksonian Approaches to Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1985.

“Fragments of a Therapeutic Biography,” in Efron, D. (Editor), Journeys: Expansions of Strategic and Systemic Therapies, New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1986.

“Psychotherapie Ericksonienne,” in Benoit, J.-C. and J.-A. Malarewicz, Dictionnaire clinique des therapies familiales systemiques, Paris: ESF, 1988.

“The Use of Metaphor to Treat Somatic Complaints in Therapy,” in De Shazer, S. (Editor), Indirect Approaches to Therapy, Rockville, MD: Aspen, 1986.

“Solution-Oriented Therapy: A Megatrend in Psychotherapy,” in Zeig, J. and Lankton, S. (Eds.) Developing Ericksonian Psychotherapy, New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1988.

“A Grand Unified Theory For Brief Therapy,” in Zeig, J. and Gilligan, S. Brief Therapy: Myths, Methods and Metaphors: Proceedings of the Fourth International Erickson Congress, New York: Brunner Mazel, 1990.

“Solution-Oriented Hypnosis,” in Lankton, S. and Zeig, J., Extrapolations: Demonstrations of Ericksonian Therapy, New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1989.

“History Becomes Her Story: Collaborative Solution-Oriented Therapy of the Aftereffects of Sexual Abuse,” in Sheila McNamee and Kenneth Gergen (Eds.) Constructing Therapy: Social Construction and Therapeutic Process, Sage Publications, 1992.

“Possibility Therapy: Acknowledgment and Possibility as Cornerstones in Psychotherapy,” in Gilligan, Stephen (Ed.) Therapeutic Conversations, Norton, 1993.

“Take Two People and Call Them In the Morning: Brief Solution-Oriented Treatment of Depression,” in Friedman, Steven (Ed.) The New Language of Change: Constructive Collaboration in Psychotherapy, Guilford, 1993.

“Frozen in Time: Possibility Therapy with Adults Who Were Sexually Abused as Children,” in VandeCreek, Knapp & Jackson (Eds.) Innovations in Clinical Practice: A Source Book, Professional Resource Press, 1993.

“Co-authoring a Love Story: Solution-Oriented Marital Therapy,” (with Patricia O’Hanlon Hudson, Ph.D.) in Hoyt, Michael (Ed.) Constructive Therapies, Guilford, 1994.

“Love is a Noun (Except When It’s a Verb): A Solution-Oriented Approach to Intimacy” (with Steffanie O’Hanlon, M.S.W.) in Carlson, John and Sperry, Lynn (eds.) The Intimate Couple, Brunner/Mazel, 1998.

“Possibility Therapy: An Inclusive, Solution-Based, Collaborative Therapy,” in Hoyt, Michael (Ed.) The Handbook of Constructive Therapies, Guilford, 1998.

“Solution-Oriented Family Therapy,” (with Steffanie O’Hanlon, M.S.W.) in Carlson, J. (2001) Theories and Strategies of Family Therapy. MA: Allyn and Bacon.

“Come Again: Brief Possibility-Oriented Sex Therapy,” in Greene, S. and Flemons, D. Quickies: Brief Sex Therapy, 2004, W.W. Norton.

“Falling on Your Face,” in Creative Breakthroughs in Therapy: Tales of Transformation and Astonishment, edited by Jeffrey A. Kottler and Jon Carlson, 2009, Wiley.

“Escape From Depresso-Land,” in Clinical Pearls, edited by Michael Kerman, 2009, W.W. Norton Professional Books.


  1. ^ O'Hanlon, B., & Weiner-Davis, M. (1988). In Search of Solutions: A New Direction in Psychotherapy. New York: Norton. ISBN 0-393-70061-5.
  2. ^ "Bill O'Hanlon's music". 2007. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 

External links[edit]