Interact Journal Integrative Ideas for the Process-Oriented Psychotherapist

Categories Supervision Dialogs

On the right gimmick

Sometimes I get frustrated trying to think of just the right gimmick that will work with this client.

Rather than trying to find a gimmick that will work to change him, keep in mind that whatever enactment, question, technique, interpretation, or therapeutic style you choose, the intervention itself is unimportant. Your task is to illuminate, then work with, his response. Use your frustration to assist you in intervening.

Wonder out loud who it is in this person’s world that you are re-creating by trying to think of the “right” way to work with him. Possibly it is someone from his past who was frustrated and trying to think of just the exact right gimmick to get your client to be different than he was.

Notice out loud whenever this client frustrates himself by trying to think of just the right way to do something.

Wonder out loud, “What’s the right thing you can do, that will work with Me.” I’m not certain what those words mean, either. The reason I suggest them is because they are the opposite of the words you used in your description and are therefore worth a try.

When we feel frustrated, it means we want something that we can’t have. The word “invite,” as I use it, means to offer an idea with no investment in the outcome.

• Encourage him to do more (with consciousness) of whatever it is he is doing.
• Offer an experience different from the one he usually provides for himself.
• Have no agenda that he use your offer to work deeply, shallowly, or at all.
• Remember that, in session, the client is always “working,” that is, something psychotherapeutic is always going on, no matter what it seems like to the observer.
• Experience no positive judgment if your invitation is accepted.
• Feel no negative response should your invitation be declined.
• Over time, pay attention to which interventions move him deeper into his experience and let that guide you. Some people work most deeply in imagery, some embrace somatic invitations, while others find their “ah-Ha!” moments while drawing charts on the white board.

Adopt an attitude of experimentation, and “I- wonder-how-comes.”

Choose language that invites a person to consider you as a person who is on their team instead of as ‘the one who is trying to change me, help me, fix me.’

”Let’s explore out how that works,” is a comfortable approach to a re-enactment of the person’s system, invites both of you into your creative energy, and suggests nonjudgment and support. ¯

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