Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Questions from 2013 EFT 1 in Turnhout, Belgium

Entry for late March 2013:

Questions: At various points during EFT training workshops I like to ask the participants to tell me what questions they have about EFT.  At the beginning of the month I spent a couple of days in Turnhout, Belgium, east of Antwerp, running the last two days of an EFT level 1 training.  It was a great group and by the afternoon of the last day many of the participants had experienced big emotional change processes, which was exciting to see.

Here are a couple of the questions they asked, along with some answers:

1. Question: How directive do I have to be if the client is reluctant to change chairs?

Answer: If you’re in the middle of a two chair process and they decline an offer to change chairs, it is likely that the client has more to say from the part they’ve been speaking from; therefore, it’s a good idea to follow their lead, perhaps asking for what else comes to them. 

More difficult is when a client refuses chair work altogether.  Then, it’s important to empathically recognise and explore the client’s reluctance, while at the same time validating their choice.  It’s hard for clients to say no to therapists, so it’s useful to assume that they have a good reason for doing so, rather than attributing this to “resistance”.

2. Question: How do we balance relationship and task aspects of EFT? 

Answer:  This is another example of a dialectically constructive process, but in general in EFT we try build a strong relationship early on in order to support later difficult work on tasks.  Once that is established, often by around the third or fourth session, we work on tasks with the client, to as great an extent as the strength of the relationship and the client’s resilience/fragility allows.  In the process, we empathically hold small relational issues, concerns or hesitations; but if the relationship is ruptured, we stop working on whatever task we were trying to facilitate at the moment, because at this point, the relationship becomes the task.

3. Question: What do you do when a chair task seems to run out of energy? 

Answer: It’s often useful to ask an exploratory question, such as: “What are you experiencing right now?” or  “Where are we with this? “  “What do you need?” Alternatively, you can ask if the client is still experiencing the conflict. (I call this “going back to the marker”).  Yet another possibility is to go back to the most powerful/important/difficult part (getting back to the trail).  Finally, running out of energy for a task may simply mean that it is time to look for a different task (eg focusing, self-soothing, unfinished business).

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