The Difference between Prococative Change Works and Provocative Coaching and Therapy

In recent times I was explaining to a colleague about the difference between Provocative Therapy and the Provocative Change Works approaches. The Provocative Change Works approach is very different in a number of respects to Frank Farrelly’s Provocative Therapy which is detailed in the original book of the same name that was published in the mid 1970s. Provocative Change Works uses the “provocative elements of communication” alongside metaphor exploration and hypnosis tools. I was lucky enough to study up close with Frank Farrelly the creator of Provocative Therapy for over a decade, hosting him each year in the UK. More importantly he stayed at my house typically between 2 – 3 weeks each year, so I was able to spend a significant amount of time with him talking about the power of provocation and how this can be best used to assist clients.

Provocative Change Works’ Content

In Provocative Change Works I combine Ericksonian hypnotic patterns with elements of Provocative Therapy. I have found this combination of tools to produce the fastest, most successful and lasting results when working with clients. This combined approach which I use in my private practice is demonstrated extensively on the “Provocative Change Works for Phobias” DVD set.
In classic Provocative Therapy the therapist will start the session with the question “What’s the problem?” In Provocative Change Works I may use this approach during the session, but not always at the start of the session.
In private practice I ask clients to complete a set of notes prior to seeing me in person and then begin the session by implementing “yes sets” to set the direction of the interview. Provocative Therapy also does not formally use submodality work as found in NLP to change client states, but the Provocative Change Works approach does use this tool set alongside provoking the client while taking note of the different rep systems the client is using to feedback his or her responses. PCW is inspired by Provocative Therapy, but the model is very different and far more multi layered.

Then, Now, Maybe? Provocative Change Works Philosphy

Provocative Change Works also uses the “right here, right now” philosophy that Frank uses in Provocative Therapy and everything that occurs in the session is about what is happening in each moment and normally without many of the overt techniques used by some NLP practitioners. PCW is 100% conversational and to date I have found it excellent in therapy, coaching, business and personal development contexts. Farrelly was brilliant in teaching his work but there are few who can now teach his work. (see for approved trainers)
In PCW the “provocation” aspect is only one ingredient. Equally important is the metaphorical exploration and precise time framing to create a feedback loop for the client. None of this exists in classic Provocative Therapy and/or what has been called “Provocative Coaching” I always advise clients seeking out provocative trainings to check that the “provocation” is done “as if talking to an old friend” which is very much the “Frank Farrelly” spirit of working in this way. Unfortunately (and probably inevitably) some individuals have attempted to hijack the term “provocative” in an attempt to repackage basic coaching approaches as something “new” The Provocative Change Works practitioner training is a full 10 day course with case studies and this is the minimum time needed to learn the basics of the model. I also run online CPD courses for students to maintain and develop their skills.
Some of the PCW stances are inspired and are in common with Provocative Therapy, BUT many are unique to PCW. The 27 stances in PCW are taught in a very precise way in conjunction with the metaphorical and hypnotic elements. Farrelly was very encouraging of PCW calling it “Enlightening”  For those wanting to explore PCW, its not essential to have previous provocative trainings and those few who have attended non PCW trainings all comment of the many more layers to Provocative Change Works.
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