Michael D. Yapko, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and marriage and family therapist residing in Southern California. He is internationally recognized for his work in developing strategic, outcome-focused psychotherapies, the advanced clinical applications of hypnosis, and active, short-term non-pharmacological treatments of depression. He routinely teaches to professional audiences all over the world. To date, he has been invited to present his ideas and methods to colleagues in more than 30 countries across six continents, and all over the United States.
Dr. Yapko is the author of 16 books and editor of three others, as well as the author of dozens of book chapters and journal articles. His most recent works, Process-Oriented Hypnosis and The Discriminating Therapist, highlight some of his most significant and unique contributions to the fields of psychotherapy and clinical hypnosis. These include focusing on patterns in people’s problems (process) rather than the specific problems themselves (content), and learning to recognize ‘how’ people maintain their issues, rather than speculate ‘why’. A classic in the field of hypnosis is Dr. Yapko’s textbook, Trancework: An Introduction to the Practice of Clinical Hypnosis (now in its 5th edition) . His award-winning books include: Mindfulness and Hypnosis and Treating Depression with Hypnosis:Integrating Cognitive-Behavioral and Strategic Intervention. His most popular self-help books on depression include: Breaking the Patterns of Depression (now also available in an audiobook format), Depression is Contagious and Keys to Unlocking Depression. Dr. Yapko’s works have been translated into 10 ten languages.
Dr. Yapko is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, a member of the International Society of Hypnosis, and a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. He is a recipient of lifetime achievement awards from the American Psychological Association, The International Society of Hypnosis, and The Milton H. Erickson Foundation for his many contributions to the fields of psychotherapy and clinical hypnosis.
Dr. Yapko has been a passionate advocate for redefining how we think about and treat people’s problems, especially the most common ones of anxiety and depression. He has especially been a vocal critic of medicalizing depression given that there is substantial evidence that depression is about much more than biology alone. He further questions the all-too-common treatment approach of simply medicating people with drugs whose safety and efficacy are highly questionable. Dr. Yapko’s focus is on wellness not pathology and he emphasizes that this is not simply a semantic issue. By focusing on wellness, treatments emphasize helping people access their resources and personal strengths as well as helps them develop skills they may be missing in order to achieve the quality of life they seek.
Therapy isn’t just about feeling better – it’s about being better. Dr. Yapko’s major point is both simple and compelling: Tough things happen in life and people who have the skills to manage their lives, including their moods and behavior, do better than those who don’t. Beyond effective treatment, he also highlights the role of skill building in developing strategies of prevention.
On the personal side, Dr. Yapko and his wife Diane have been happily married nearly 45 years. Diane is a retired pediatric speech-language pathologist who specialized in working with children on the autistic spectrum. Together, they enjoy traveling and hiking in the Great Outdoors in their spare time.