There are many people who think that they can ‘do the work’ alone, and of course, we can do enormous amounts alone, including forming new habits, exercising discipline, taking responsibility for our actions and so on.
However, the value of working with a practitioner should not be underestimated. I often speak of practitioners being like a mirror – they will reflect things back to you that you often cannot see in yourself.
And practitioners should not be hesitant in voicing what they see and hear. Helping clients to connect the dots is really what we are there for, and it is one of the most powerful parts of the therapeutic process.
When I was working with many people who were experiencing chronic disease, I used to ask new clients to prepare a timeline of their life before the first session. I didn’t give them any fixed structure for this, preferring to see what they did and didn’t include, but I asked them to mention their birth, if they knew about it, history of illnesses, medications, accidents and operations as well as, what I termed, “significant life events”. I didn’t call them traumas because our perception of trauma varies so much.
The information I received was always fascinating, and served several purposes. Firstly, it gave me an idea about areas I might want to explore in more depth with the client. Secondly, if they had experienced a significant trauma, it meant that they knew that I knew, and they didn’t have to speak about it. Thirdly, and most importantly, every client without fail who prepared this information, connected some dots about their life, their health or something else. The process of writing down the information would often present, in a visual form, the information that digestive problems began very soon after the family pet died. Or that they began having nightmares as a child, just after dad went abroad to work. Or that bullying at work preceded a diagnosis of thyroid issues.
I work very little with chronic health these days, and I use different techniques, so it is rare for me to ask for this information now, but I find that during an EFT session, I can often help the client to join the dots by reflecting back what I have heard.
This week I was working with someone on a particular matter and the theme that came up was fear of being alone. We traced it back to a childhood event which involved a threat of abandonment from a parent. Later we worked on an upcoming meeting and nervousness about that. Following a thread of questions came up with the ultimate fear … of being alone.
I often say that we (and our clients of course) are like a maze with many entrances. It doesn’t really matter where you begin, you will usually end up in the centre with the same core issue. So you might be working with someone on a health issue, or a money block, or a fear or phobia … the dots will generally connect to form the same picture.
So, practitioners, if you hear a theme in your client’s words, reflect it back to them. Ask about it with curiosity and compassion. Mention that they have said “alone” or whatever it is, four times in the session. It will help your client to connect the dots and then the real healing begins because it is coming from them.
Picture credit: https://coloringhome.com/ where you can download free images for joining dots and colouring.