When I first came across Frank Farrelly’s Provocative Therapy, I was equally fascinated and confused by his work. I had come from an NLP and hypnosis background and Frank’s approach seemed to be the polar opposite of everything that I was used to. It was only after spending considerable time with Frank that I finally got an insight into what he was doing and this became the catalyst for developing Provocative Change Works.
In both classic Provocative Therapy and Provocative Change Works, the coach or therapist adopts a series of specific stances to provoke change in the clients thinking. This is done in a conversational manner and the best students will have mastered the ability to work without any of the clunky techniques that can seem a bit odd for their clients. The manner of the coach or therapist is just as important as what they do in a session and some of the stances rely on the coach being able to connect with the client as if talking to an old friend without the formality associated with many talk therapy approaches. Here is a chart of the main 27 stances used in PCW
Some of these stances are used by everyone in everyday conversations – talking louder/quieter, pausing, telling a story, interrupting and going into details. Less familiar stances include ignoring the client, feigning boredom, giving bad advice and stacking truisms for crazy proofs.
In PCW and Provocative Therapy, the coach or therapist approaches what the client avoids and seeks out where the client is resistant to suggestions. Its like going to a masseur where the professional seeks to work on the areas of tension. The art of doing this well is to do so in a friendly manner, rather than be aggressive.
There is a real skill to working in this way and those attending the PCW 1 – 1 Development Platform have to date been the ones who have really gasped this way of working as it takes time to develop and integrate these skills. There are no “right” or “wrong” stances to use in a session, and as Frank Farrelly would say “Run it (the stances/suggestions) up the flagpole and see if they salute it”
This is a very accelerated way of working and after many years, seems a far better way of working rather than simply analyzing to discussing the issue.