Fast Therapy in 8 Steps
I am constantly looking for new ways to support clients to gain faster and lasting results. Neuroscience is helping therapist understand how changes are being made at the neuro level during therapeutic session and I envisage that more research will help us achieve a goal of instant therapy.
Starting out as a therapist I wanted to find that one technique that would cure all my clients. Sadly this wasn’t the case, but NLP and Hypnotherapy gave me a range of tools to support clients quickly and research into motivation allowed me to encourage clients throughout my sessions. Still I wanted to support clients in the minimum amount of sessions possible.
The process of Fast Therapy came from a mixture of therapeutic disciplines, allowing me to cure phobias in one session and to boost confidence instantly. Some techniques that I use in Step 6 such as the Fast Phobia Cure can work in their own right, but when practising I found that sometimes a technique alone would work for one client but not another, which is why I turned to motivational research, and found that embedding Frustration and Visualised Outcomes into the therapy session ensured change was desired.
This multi-therapeutic approach breaks down clients resistance, increases motivation and has a flexible approach to use the techniques best suited for each client. Techniques and metaphors are tailored per client creating a personal centred approach, while using the motivational start, state changes and the visualized outcome to create lasting change. In a way Fast therapy is a motivational sandwich where the therapist chooses the best filling appropriate to the client’s situation.
Step 1. Frustration for Change
Clients often suffer with their problem for a period of time, which for some, can be years before seeking therapy. Many build up strategies and routines to deal or sometimes avoid their concerns. In their mind their problem is an issue, but not enough of an issue to seek therapy.
In most clients, their perception change that takes their problem from one that they “put up” with to one that they need to desperately overcome. To create fast therapy, you can increase focus on this frustration to create a stronger desire to want to overcome it.
A middle aged women came in with a phobia of spiders. Even the word spider created strong anxiety. She had lived with arachnophobia for over 10 years and used her husband as a strategy for not being surprised by spiders; she would send him into any room first, before entering it herself! When asked why she had decided to overcome her phobia now, she replied “I noticed that my children are becoming phobic and it’s not fair on the kids, sometimes I won’t go over to a friend’s house because of the thought of a spider, I don’t want my kids to miss out on parties, because i’m passing my phobia onto them”
By creating increased frustration about their current situation, the reason they want to overcome their barrier, the client is more likely to create change; it’s the “I’ve just had enough” tactic.
To create change by using frustration ask questions that build on their emotional reasons for wanting change.
- “What is your reason for coming today?”
- “Why now?”
- “How does that make you feel?”
- “What would happen if you didn’t make this change?”
- “How would that make you feel?”
Step 2. Desiring a Better Outcome
Frustration alone won’t create change, the frustration create motivation for change. To build on this motivation, client needs to see the potential positive outcome to their change. This is why an overweight person wanting to lose weight, will often say “well it’s only one bag of chips” there focus is on the tasty food not the positive outcome of not eating the chips.
As a client visualises in detail the positive outcome to overcoming their issue their motivation will increase. The therapist has to support the client to build a story in their mind using all of the senses, allowing clients to go inside themselves until they see the future them, from their own eyes, creating a stronger emotional response. Your goal here is to create anticipation for change, a motivation for desire to change and a positive emotional memory about the outcome of change.
As the therapist asked “what would be different in your life if you were more confident?” the client smiled. “I would meet attractive girls…and they’d like me.” “What would happen if you meet attractive girls, and they liked you?” Asked the therapist. “Well.. my confidence would grow more, and I’d probably go for that promotion at work I always put off…” The therapist goes on to get more sensory details “What would you say to yourself as this was happening?” “What else can you see” “What do others say?” “How does this make you feel?”
The more sensory experience you create in the client, the more of a desire they will have for change. This technique isn’t done in trance, rather you sensory based questions creates an awakened trance, allowing the client to internalise this new emotional memory.
To build up motivation in the desired outcome ask
- “What can you see?”
- “What can you hear?”
- “What do you tell yourself?”
- “How do you feel?”
- “On a scale of 1-10, with 1 representing you don’t want to change and 10 representing you do want to desired outcome, where are you on the scale now?”
Step 3. Creating a Choice for Relaxation
The relaxation trance teaches clients first to relax, but more importantly it teaches how they can quickly change state. Clients in a state of relaxation are more likely to make stronger emotional memories, as part of the brain that challenges differences shuts down, allowing clients to follow your commands.
Clients can use this experience of relaxation; often I get the client to walk down 10 steps to a beautiful place in nature (a made up place or memory) creating a sensory based experienced allowing them to relax. I build up the feeling of relaxation, and add a post hypnotic suggestion “and whenever you want to relax again, all you need to do is imagine walking down the 10 steps until you find yourself in the beautiful place in nature and with each descending number you will feel yourself relaxing more and more..” or create a strong relaxation anchor by squeezing the clients thumb and finger tighter.
This part of therapy teaches clients how to change state, how to relax but also teaches clients that they now have a choice. If they want to relax, they can do so by accessing their relaxation anchor.
Step 4. Matching Metaphor
Clients often feel they’re alone, they are the only one with a particular issue, and often the limiting belief creates the feeling of “the world is on my shoulders.” At this stage of fast therapy, we break this belief through a matching metaphor, because as you break one belief it is easier to break others throughout the intervention.
During this stage, we use the metaphor to create an undesired outcome – what happens if you didn’t make a change? This is the opposite of the desired outcome which is perceived as pleasurable. To keep the motivational level high, we show them through a metaphor, the agony of leaving the situation as it is. As the story you are about to tell, is about someone else, the client won’t question you or create an unconscious block, but they will instead, make their own meaning out of the therapist words.
I had a client similar to you with a similar problem, he came to see me but had left his problem to long. When he was young he had gotten lost in the woods, he was only lost for 5 minutes, but to him it felt like a lifetime. The thought of being lost in the forest kept playing on his mind, and he soon became phobic of forest. At first he just avoided forrest, but his phobia grew and grew, and he soon become phobic of groups of trees, then individual trees. Soon he couldn’t go near shrubs, or plants, even wooden fences started to make him feel anxious…”
The first metaphor is designed to first allow the client to understand that many people have similar problems, some which are perceived worst or funnier then there’s. The client can understand how one problem, left, can evolve into something else or into different parts of their life and is designed to increase the motivation for change; I don’t want my issue to evolve
Step 5. Emotional Resource Metaphors
We believe that’s clients have the resources they require inside of themselves. By using related metaphors the client can find these resources and use them in new situations. When remembering a past experience, such as time when you were confident you will remember the emotional attachment to that memory and relive those emotions, as you can only feel one emotion at a time. These emotional resources can then be anchored and used in new situations. This includes a visualised event, as your mind does not know the difference between a real and visualised event, and stores them both as emotional memories, which is how we can create new resources by feeling X emotion in Y situation.
“I want you to remember being back at school, when you were learning you’re A, B and Cs, you probably believed that you will never learn all 26 letters in the right order, when you learnt your A, B and Cs. But now without thinking you can recall all of the 26 letters, and even better, you can put these letters in different orders to create different words, and those different words put together in a different order create different sentences, all because you can learnt you’re A, B and Cs..”
To create an emotional resource metaphor you first need to understand what resource/state the client requires. You can then use metaphors that are understood by all; we all went to school and learnt to spell, we have all learnt to ride a bike, we have all become excited about Christmas or a birthday party, we have felt like we have been in love, we have all used our imagination to play a game, we have all felt stress then felt the release after the situation has ended.
Clients will also discuss part of their lives which can be used as an emotional resource metaphor. Erickson famously used the metaphor of nurturing and growing a tomato plant, to a client who was a gardener.
Step 6. Quick Change Work
By this stage the client is often well in trance, through relaxation and metaphor techniques. Sometimes I will wake the clients between the fast therapy stages, before taking them back, often into a deeper trance state. In the change process your aim is to create new neuropathways to help the client have new ways of working.
Clients will often visualise negative situations that create stress, depression, loneliness. Other clients will give themselves negative self-talk or describe their situation through a metaphor “I feel like I’m stuck in a rut” The change section of fast therapy breaks these routine patterns and looks at new ways of working.
Depending on how the clients “does X” in their head depends on the technique you use. For example you may use a trace state to get the clients to cross an imaginary bridge with the associated feeling of relaxation, to then face their phobia, while feeling relaxed, calm and intrigued. You may move a negative image away from their minds eye, turning it black and white until the negative emotions dwindle. Or you may turn the negative self-talk into a shape.
Common techniques include:
- NLP Submodalities
- Spinning Feelings
- Timeline Therapy
- Exploring Metaphors
- Laughter States
This is always ended with a positive future pace, seeing the new you from the eyes of this new resourceful you. I often ask the client when they are seeing the world from their future resourceful self to give the them now, sat the the chair some advice – its always really powerful and positive.
Step 7. Closing Down All Metaphors
To end, we finish the stories from each metaphor, starting with the last metaphor and ending with the first metaphor, linking all parts of the therapy session. The client may have consciously forgot about the original stories they have heard, but now they will come flooding back.
“And you remember that every day you learnt something new at school, you took that learning at some level and your unconscious, put that learning into an automatic process, creating a new way of doing, a new choice and a new piece of knowledge. Just like if I asked you what the 4th letter of the alphabet is, because you learnt your A, B and Cs, you would know that it is D, or if I asked you what 2 x 2 is? You know without thinking that the answer is 4. You are unconsciously competent at so many things, which means you have learnt new things all your life just like you did today, just like the boy in the woods did. He first learnt to be scared of every forrest, every tree and anything made out of wood, but he also learnt that that wasn’t a good behaviour, was it? So he learnt a new way to react, he learnt to move the pictures in his head away so he would feel different, he learnt to associate the feeling of relaxation with trees and forest so he felt relaxed and calm whenever he came across one, he learnt that he had the choice and if he choose to feel relaxed everytime he seen a tree he would become unconsciously competent at feeling relaxed with every tree, shrub or forest and he did, he became so good at feeling this way…”
Step 8. Check for Changes
Once you awaken the client from trance, you want to test the therapy. Ask how they feel about X? Some will feel completely different while others will have started the process and their unconscious will continue to make the changes throughout the night.
At this stage, point out to the client their current changes “that’s great, because when you came in you were a 9/10 on the scale now you are only a 4/10, which means tonight when you sleep deeply your unconscious mind will take it down to a 3, then a 2 and then a 1”
To focus the client on change, ask:
- “Compare how you felt when you came in to how you feel now”
- “If you became X again, what would you do now?”
- “What choices do you have now?”
- “How would you relax if you needed to?”
- “What are you on the scale now? What do you need to do to move down the scale?”
- “Imagine walking out of this room and as you walk around the corner and you become aware of X, how do you feel?”
In addition if needed, I will set the “change work” I used as a homework task for the client to practice every 2nd night for 10 nights. I will e-mail the technique to them.
I have found that clients initial response is not always as positive as I hope (ideally I’d love clients to jump out of the chair shouting i’m cured, i’m cured) instead they are unsure, they know something is different, but what? But after a couple of nights I will telephone the client who has been cured (they don’t always know this. I rang a client 2 weeks after therapy because she had been away on holiday, when I asked how she felt around spiders, she told me “I don’t know I’ve not seen one for 2 weeks” this was a client who found spiders everywhere she went before running away screaming) or has moved forward in leaps or bounds.
Chris Delaney NLP Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Career Advisor is available for booking for One to One Private Sessions, Group Training Sessions and Public Speaking Events
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