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Emotional Imaging Therapy: 12 Pitfalls Of Therapist-Client Alliance - The Quality Of Life
Emotional Imaging Therapy: 12 Pitfalls Of Therapist-Client Alliance - The Quality Of Life

Video: Emotional Imaging Therapy: 12 Pitfalls Of Therapist-Client Alliance - The Quality Of Life

Video: Emotional Imaging Therapy: 12 Pitfalls Of Therapist-Client Alliance - The Quality Of Life
Video: 10 Brief Therapies and Brief Interventions 2023, December

No joint work will be successful "when there is no agreement in the comrades." But a therapeutic session in EOT is precisely a partnership in which both participants have the same interest - to jointly resolve the client's psychological problem

If a therapeutic alliance is formed, half the battle is done. Let's talk about what hinders its construction and, as a result, therapy in general.

1. The illusion of full understanding and joining the client's feelings

“Together with the client, I live everything that happens to him in the zone of free imagination. I see all his images: a little girl, her evil mother and a dusty scary corner where her drunken father put her, waving his belt. I am terribly sorry for her, and I cry with her. I can’t forget this scene, two days have passed, and I’m still going back there in my memories. It drains me terribly. I can't think of anything else. Why it happens?"

You cannot imagine the images that the client sees during the session, you see the images of your imagination: it produces them, based on the words of the client and your personal experience. And the girl you are writing about, and her mother, and the scary corner, and the dad in the client's imagination are completely different, and not the way you imagined them. Only the client knows and sees what is happening in the zone of his imagination. You are close by and, apparently, unfold your process. You cannot stop your imagination, it will produce images, but you are the therapist to separate yours from what the client brings you, and focus on his story, his experiences, his facial expressions, body language.

Perhaps his story coincided with your traumatic experience, and it seems to you that you, like no one else, understand him. In fact, you, like no one else, understand only yourself and have already begun to relive your trauma next to the client based on the events that he tells you.

If so, supervision will help to deal with this.

2. Trust (yourself), but check

Actions in the zone of free imagination are performed by the client himself, but a lot depends on which direction you set.

A session in EOT is quite directive: you ask a lot of questions, offer certain interventions, actions in the world of the client's free imagination, and therefore there is a danger of taking a position from above: a guru and an authority who supposedly knows exactly what will happen in the client's imaginary world, and so on one hundred percent sure of what this or that image means.

The therapist, of course, uses a vocabulary of images that has developed from his experience, the experience of colleagues and teachers, but he always has in mind: for a particular client, the image can and almost always has its own shades and specifics.

Therefore, trust your experience, build a hypothesis, but always check and be ready to revise the hypothesis or completely abandon it based on the data obtained.

It is the therapist's excessive confidence in his hypothesis, the desire to necessarily confirm it, that lead the client to a feeling of violence against him.

The client may not say about this and obediently follow the therapist, feeling his authority, even express gratitude for the work at parting, and then (in a day or at the next meeting) make claims of moral abuse.

Would you say that it is the responsibility of the client to say that the therapist is directing him to the wrong place, that he is an adult responsible for himself? I disagree with that.

In EOT, the client is immersed in an imaginary world, he is in a stream of images, is open and defenseless enough, and the therapist just has to maintain not only empathy, but also full awareness and constantly monitor the client's state:

  • If I am wrong in my assumption, and this is possible, correct me right away.
  • What are you dating now?
  • I see your tears, what are they about?

Such simple questions set up cooperation, allow you to be with the client, and not with your own images and hypotheses, and, moreover, allow the therapist to share responsibility with the client.

I really love and quite often say such phrases:

  • I'm stumped.
  • I need to think.
  • Let's get out of the free imagination and discuss the situation.
  • Let's think together what all this could be about.

These phrases always include the client in the work, return him responsibility, and you collaborate again, do a common cause - looking for the key to solving his problem.

3. The openness of the therapist

The question of how much the therapist should open up during the session, give examples from his own life.

I very rarely do this. If they ask how old, how many children, is I married, I just answer as it is. It reduces anxiety, but that's about it.

My experience is just my experience, the client has his own story, and we will solve problems based on his experience. To identify the client with yourself, to try to put yourself in his place is a bad job. Moreover, the focus is not on your story, the client story, but on someone else's experience only confuses.

I am not friends with clients, although, I confess, there have been cases of border crossing and rapprochement on common interests, but always, without exception, the quality of therapy immediately dropped and there was no point in continuing it. You gain human trust, but you lose trust and authority as a therapist, and working with the unconscious requires exactly this combination: it provides the necessary level of security.

4. I will teach you how to live

Act within the client's worldview, religious or atheistic beliefs. Don't become a preacher, let your philosophy stay with you. If you see that the client's philosophy is destructive, destructively affects his daily life, then let him see it himself in images, with the help of your leading questions. Then he will sooner come to the need for self-change.

If the client's philosophy is his support, for example, religion, then it is good for you to also be enlightened in this matter, since you can use this in therapy. For example, the image of Jesus Christ or Krishna, or Buddha, or the Prophet Muhammad in the client's image system can be a resourceful image of the inner parent, or it can act as a critic and accuser. EOT in this regard is completely universal and, having understood the client's figurative system, you can help him at this level, even if you are atheist at least three times. The main thing is not to bring your ideals into the session, not to try to convert the client to your faith.

5. The client does not see images

Always on the client side. Your task is to heal human despair. It is with this that they turn to us, therefore, the first and most important thing is to create a safe, receiving space. Even if you cannot immediately understand the client's imaginative system or he tells you that he has no imagination and does not see any images, it is absolutely not necessary to force the process. “The life-giving benefits of confession”, as the wonderful psychotherapist Rollo May said, has not been canceled. In any case, you will help the client with your interest, acceptance. This may be sufficient for a start. Establish trust, and then offer "thought experiments with images."

6. "I don't think I help at all"

A session in EOT is never useless, even if it seems to you: you will still touch upon important mental processes that will move a person towards healing. Your general attention to his feelings, visualization of them, will already have a positive effect, and you will definitely help him in self-knowledge, and you will bring him to self-change later, when he is ready.

7. "Abusive" words

In a session with a client, I consider the words "resistance", "projection", "transference" and other psychological terms as abusive, especially if they are embedded in expressions:

  • these are your projections;
  • this is your transfer;
  • it is your resistance;
  • ah, it's your defenses turned on!

From my client and therapeutic experience, they generate more resistance than anything else. It's like making a diagnosis, which is also inadmissible in a session. We speak with the client in human language, avoiding professional terms. Otherwise, the client begins to feel like the object of your exercises and you will definitely not be able to work together.

8. Cure everything at once

One insight per session is a great result. The length of the session is not an indicator of its success. If the client has come to an important realization, to a resource point, even if it seems to you that the whole problem is not completely resolved, stop. Do not overwrite insight with other research and images. Let the client adapt to the new solution. Finish the session, even if it only took 30 minutes, but something very important happened.

Don't try to solve all of the customer's problems at once. He will still take exactly as much as he needs at the moment, and the extra emotional load will only lead to the appearance of additional protections.

9. Work out all the images

If the session is coming to an end, and many images have not been worked out, leave them. Stop at the most important thing (most often it is the image of the inner child) and end at the resource moment.

In the next session, continue working from the current state of the client, most likely you will not have to return to the side images, since the client's imaginative system is already about changing. Accompany the client to the resource.

10. Walk in the world of images

Transformation of images of negative states is not your main goal. You are not working with the client in order to change his imagery - it is only a means. Your goal is to detect with the help of images the inner conflict that led to the negative emotional state, the original trauma that took place in the client's real past and which affects him today and help the client cope with it. Therefore, all the cinematography and beauty of the client's imaginary world, his imaginative system, of course, captures, but they do not give anything if there is no connection with real events from his life.

11. Interpretations "head-on"

Avoid direct interpretations of images, head-on:

  • it's definitely about your rejecting mother;
  • it is precisely the precept "do not live";
  • I know this is a ban on joy.

In fact, you only think you know. You may not be wrong, but always check what a particular image means to the client, not to you.

Socrates' motto “I know I don’t know anything” as a therapeutic position will save you from many mistakes and allow you to hear the client more sensitively.

12. "Break the defense!"

Emotional Imaging Therapy respects psychological defenses. In a session, you can find, for example, an image of a wall, then a glass partition, then the images begin to multiply, and the client, moreover, constantly leaves the zone of free imagination into intellectualization. The defenses are working and multiplying.

Stop. So not today.

There are two options: either you are approaching trauma, or you are taking the client in the wrong direction. Back off. Let go of your hypothesis. What are you grasping at her for? Go from the other side. Personality needs protection to avoid retraumatization. Perhaps the client still does not have enough resources to address the trauma, perhaps it is generally compensated for, and you need it there.

The client knows better, the unconscious knows which internal conflict can be revealed, and which - not yet.

In general, proceeding from the fact that emotional-figurative therapy is quite directive and presupposes active interventions of the therapist, the directiveness of the method should be smoothed out by the delicacy, gentleness and empathic nature of the presentation.

There should not be much therapist in the session: after all, this is the mental work of the client. You are not a teacher for him, you are a guide who illuminates the path for the traveler with a flashlight of your knowledge

This method is learnable and I am happy to teach it at my online school. I see how the professional life of my students is changing, how they are passionate about their work and also make discoveries. We are developing together.