The three key ingredients of Provocative Change Works ™
• Using non-specific or indirect Hypnosis and metaphor explorations – to create “fluid states” for the client. Eliciting and challenging metaphors
• Time Framing – Promoting new ways of moving through time and space
(This is the classic opening question used in Provocative Therapy that forces the client to defend reasons for having the problem)
Client – It’s like being stuck in a rut
Nick – What kind of rut?
Client – It’s like being in the desert when your car gets stuck and you can’t move
Nick – What’s in front of you?
Client – I can see that there is a stretch of road up ahead where there is no traffic
Provocative Stances for “Frame Busting”
Sometimes you can puzzle over a problem for a very long time and then discover “a light bulb” moment where all becomes clear. I had one such moments a few years ago when I was preparing for one of the workshops where I was going to be co training with Frank Farrelly. I had already spent a great deal of time with Frank, read his original book and watched hundreds of hours of Frank working with clients.
I was pondering on how best to explain the different stances a therapist would take during client sessions when my iPhone rang. I looked at my phone to see who was calling, noticed the icons and then it came to me. Why not represent each stance the practitioner can adopt by creating a specific icon? I contacted my graphic designed Matt Horwood and asked him to create eight icons to represent different stances used in provoking client response.
These communications take place “as if talking to an old friend with a twinkle in the eye and warmth in the heart”. Often these interactions can seem somewhat surreal, but to use a musical analogy the practitioner is aware of the central musical theme and even though he or she may play outside the main tune, they are fully aware of where they are heading to create a dynamic and memorable experience for the listener.
Examples of Stances
Interrupting the client
Blame v don’t blame…
This stance allows the practitioner to blame everything else for the client’s predicament. This is often done in the most extreme manner.
blaming that can be used
“It’s not your fault, it’s because you wear brown shoes”
“Not only is this your fault, but here’s a whole bunch of other things that are your fault as well!”
“Well of course it’s you, nobody else was there!”
Speak louder or speak quieter
Adopting stances of asking for more detail or a more universal view provokes a wide range of useful responses. Here are some examples of adopting these stances
“How many times did you think that?
“What astrological sign are you?”
“That’s just how things line up from a cosmological perspective”
Suggest the client does more of the same
Here is an example of the more of the same stance –
Client – “I have a phobia of public speaking”
Practitioner – “That’s great; it allows more opportunities for the rest of us to speak in public”
Tell a story
“That reminds me of a story…”
“I heard that…”
“I read that”
Confuse the client
Client “The little needle”
Practitioner “So the big needle is the scarier one…”
Explore family and other relationships
Examples of this include
“So what does your mum think of this?”
“Do you have any brothers and sisters?”
“Are you married?”
“Are you chasing any boys….or girls?”
Suggest a digital choice – “Is it A or B?”
“Would you consider yourself to be –
Lift doesn’t go to the top floor?”
the frames that maintained the problem state, the practitioner is able to create new possibilities of thinking and feeling for the client. By adopting the different provocative stances the practitioner is exploring resistances in the client’s thinking and I often talk about this process as “testing for resistances”. When I talk about “resistances” I am referring to instances when the client is provoked into affirming their need to resolve the stuck state. Frank Farrelly describes this process as “running a suggestion up the flagpole to see if they salute it.”