As a supervisor, I often see therapists from many different schools and training backgrounds, some newly qualified and some in practice for a hypnotherapy supervisionwhile, all chasing the best technique for this or that.  This is what I see on e-forums and discussion boards too.

However, in most cases, as a therapist you already have as many techniques as you’ll ever really need. What may lack, however, is the knowledge of why they work with some and not with others.  Or the insight into your client as to which one you need to use, now, at that particular stage of their development.

Are You “Blocked”?

If you lack this insight into your clients, it’s highly likely because you’re blocked somewhere in your own life.  Let me give you an example.

In a recent session with a new supervisee she said she’d been having supervision but all her supervisor was telling her was that she was doing the right thing. However, her confusion and frustration with her practice was growing and growing. She was wondering whether she might just as well admit that she wasn’t cut out for this job. Others seemed to be getting on ok. Why wasn’t she? She was feeling more and more disempowered and unable to understand why her clients weren’t responding to her interventions how she expected them to. A growing sense of losing control of her sessions and the resulting stress about that was getting her down.

Peeling back the layers on this revealed that her own history was still very much underpinning her beliefs and attitude to her clients. Her habits were to not feel and therefore to not understand why her clients felt so much. Hence her frustration. ‘If I’m applying this or that technique, theory goes, they should get better’, was her lament.  However, she was interpreting their emotionality as failure, and then not knowing how to guide the sessions from there on.

If only all things in life ran according to theory or plan! What do you do when your client goes ‘off piste’? Where are your own personal blocks and habits interfering with your therapy? How important is your own personal development to that of your clients?

Protect Your Energy?

Let me now describe another supervisee. Very self aware and well accomplished. An ‘unfettered one’ – someone who has spent alot of time reflecting and working it all out for himself. His personal insight is directly beneficial to his clients progress through therapy. However, when it came to one of his clients with cancer, he felt himself drained deeply by this client and asked me how to protect his energy.

Energy is a lovely buzz word, that I also use, but that has different meanings and is conceptualised differently by every person. If we see ‘energy’ as being in some kind of short supply that we have to protect ourselves against losing, then we are actually putting a block in the way of its free flow. Putting a block in its way, means you are unable to reach your client in the best way for them. Whatsmore, energy flows between two people from our interactions with them: our words, our style, our belief systems. This is the conduit for our energy flow.  However, our conduit maybe cluttered with our own clouded perceptions.

Fear

I described how something like cancer buys into a common fear among our society that it is terminal. The big ‘C’. We all cower in fear that it might be untreatable and we might die of it. Whether that reflects the facts or not is another question. The collective fear of cancer is common knowledge.

confident therapistWhen your client arrives with cancer, we can very easily buy into the common fear that cancer is terminal, and your client has come to you to help them save their life. If you take this on, and over identify with this, you are going to become exhausted and ineffective. You will become desperate on their behalf to help them any way you can. Effectively, you can even take the energetic or moral responsibility from them, so that the energy cycle you set up with them means that they take and you give. This is a common trap in all sessions for people like us in the caring professions.

So we don’t need to protect our energy at all. We need to remove our blocks that cause us to take on too much responsibility for our clients, and let the energy flow.

Conclusion

That means, you need to have the confidence to know just what you can and can’t do and stand by that. You must teach your client how to take responsibility not how to depend on you. To do this, you need to know how to do that and you need to be confident that this is going to help them and not make them worse. To know that you have to know yourself. When you know yourself you become a confident therapist.

If you want to know more about my next training opportunity click here.  Alternatively, consider becoming a member and get your 15% discount off the product range on the site with the first level membership, ‘Mind’ on special offer till the end of February 2011.  Or why not just download your FREE 9 point guide to working with families that you’ll find at the top of this page and then I can keep you in the loop on future trainings and special offers.

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