by Elronn Ferguson
There is a lot of self development technology that focuses on “finding your why” for purposes of providing drive and motivation. It is said that if the “why” is strong enough, the “how” will take care of itself. Sometimes helping your client have a better grasp of the benefits involved with achieving their goal can impact your results almost as much as the work itself.
When we have clients who come in for less tangible issues like “self worth” or “confidence” or “motivation”, it’s our job to find out the impetus behind what is driving this desire, i.e. what are the specific benefits that provide reason for wanting more of these internal feelings?
Research shows that having more concrete instructions increases the likelihood of any project getting done on time. Typically, the more abstract the goal or objective, the more productivity suffers. That said, any personal or professional goal will benefit from having specific, valuable reasons attached to it. The subconscious minds job is much easier when we give it simple literal information, therefore having the core reasons for taking action brought to the surface is just as important as the knowledge of how to do it.
It’s not uncommon for a client to be completely identified with the issue to the point where they haven’t thought of what actually exists at the end of the tunnel. The following points can illustrate how to handle this problem and help your clients have a clearer direction of what they are coming to you for, giving their subconscious mind a more tangible point to travel toward.
Have a benefits form. To get a starting point, always include a piece of paperwork in your intake forms where the client is encouraged to write down at least seven benefits on a piece of paper titled: Benefits of making the change you want. Take general statements like “feel good” and ask yourself, why? Then ask the client to clarify what the perceived gain will provide them. Help them to tune in to station WIFM (what’s in it for me?)
Step outside the problem. A good way of doing this is to ask your client: “If I had a magic wand… what do you want?” This is a great way to get your client to temporarily step outside of their current state and postulate on what “getting there” means. What are the things that they want to do when the issue begins to clear up? How will their life be different? What new experience will be possible when the issue is a thing of the past? What do they desire to have, that seems out of their reach right now, that might be possible after they feel confident again?
Drill down. Many times when you ask your client the above questions they will keep giving you answers like: “I just don’t want to care about what people think” or “I want to feel better” or “I want to feel not depressed all the time”. Put them in a loop and drill down again and again until things become more tangible. What mental picture imagery is playing across their minds eye when they say “Feel Better?” Properly eliciting this information will help propel them toward the objective, with or without the hypnosis. The following questions will provide the client with more clarity:
Say: “I have a button on my desk and I just pressed it, *press* now you feel: (the reversal of the primary complaint) calm, cool, self loving, assertive, etc. Now what?“
Keep drilling down with questions and patterns like:
“To do what?” and “Then what”
“What will that make possible for you?”
“How is that going to benefit your life?”
“What’s good about that?”
Once in a while it may be good to clarify the answer they give you with a “Really?” Questioning them can help get them more aligned with what they really want and help them to intrinsically build their case for getting better.
Get creative. Continue drilling down until you get the core reasons, i.e. the things, growth experiences, circumstances, relationships, or satisfying actions in the world that are their “why”. We want to find the need they want to be fulfilled, as the lack of this need is what is compounding the pain of their current state, propelling them to seek your services in the first place.
Stay focused. Upon a weekly review it’s not uncommon for the client to lose sight of what they are coming in to see you about. This is especially true about previously mentioned, less tangible issues like “self worth”. Remind them of exactly what you are intending to move toward, and if necessary, continue to drill down and re-specify the “why” they are going down the road of recovery or development. Remember, the more concrete the better.
Coach with the Secret Language of Feelings. It’s also common for the client to come see you under the impression that you can make them happy… all the time. They may have circumstances in their life that are indeed, unsatisfying, and as a result are still going to experience “negative” feelings on a semi-regular basis until the cause of the feelings are resolved by taking the appropriate action. As a 5-PATHer, teaching The Secret Language of Feelings to my clients helps them have the appropriate mindset of what uncomfortable feelings mean, helping them have a shift of perception that creates awareness of their emotional states and engenders the appropriate actions to fulfill their needs wants and desires more frequently.
If you use coaching techniques in your practice, perhaps you can take things to the next level and help your client discover what it really is that they want to do in life, writing a mission statement and helping them clarify what their core passion is. For the rest of us, simply getting more specific should be good enough to give the subconscious mind a harder push toward resolution of the issue.
When using hypnosis with more intangible issues, we are trying to get the client to a concrete Point of readiness. When there is a point in the distance that is articulated on the conscious level, it provides a trajectory for sessions that will give your client the mindset and the language to establish their “why”, thus making them more involved in the process and more successful at the end of the day.