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Questions and Answers

Questions: Bernard Frit
Answers: Michael Doherty
Date: 20 May 1997

Frit: I have some more questions [numbered 1 - 4]:

1. Even though the patient is into a deep trance, is it possible that negative beliefs rise up when the problem resolution is going on through metaphors? For example objections like "I'm afraid that it won't last" or whatever. In this case do you handle the objection answering:

"And when you're afraid that it won't last, what that's like?"

Doherty: That's a good one. Grove says the most important thing  to the client is the last thing they said. So this is the thing you respond to.

In your example there are two things - "I'm afraid" and "it won't last." So there are many different ways you can respond.

        And when you're afraid it won't last, is there any thing else about last?

        And when you're afraid it won't last, is there any thing else about afraid?

        And when you're afraid it won't last, does afraid have a location?

2. When working with addicts, after the metaphorical recovery is the compulsion gone or does it need to do some more work looking for triggers and so on ?

Doherty: Only time will tell. You can check with something like

How completely confident are you of your sobriety?

Is there anything else that needs to be done to insure that you can be completely confident of your sobriety,

3. The assumption that the STP (still traumatized part) believes that something bad is going to happen is very interesting. That could be an "explanation" why usually addicts don't have any future. Are you doing timeline reorientation ?

Doherty: I believe that you are correct, addicts don't feel as though they have a future. They experience timelessness.

I think the still_traumatized_part also experiences timelessness. It's as though nothing ever changes. The feeling of impending doom never gets resolved because the still_traumatized_part is frozen in time and space. The still_traumatized_part hasn't learned yet to take advantage of the person's time-line because it, in effect, has it's own, different time-line. And that time-line just repeats itself over and over like going in a circle.

The cure for addiction is for the addict to move in time through the doom that's impending to a time after the doom. This is why residential treatment sometimes works because you contain the addict long enough so they finally get it that they're not going die without their substance, that there is life after doom.

So how do we get the still_traumatized_part to move through time, through the Trauma T to the time T+1? It's hard I think. But when, through a body metaphor, or whatever, they are in that timeless place of T-1, you can ask things that suggest they move through time and space.

        And what happens next?

        And how long does that happen for?

        And what happens after that?

        And what happens after that happens?

        And what do you want to happen after that happens?

The other thing you can do is ask questions which help the person fill in some of the seemingly trivial details of their traumatic experience.

        And is there a floor?

        Is there a wall connected to floor?

        Is there a window in wall?

        And do you like window?

        And is there anything on other side of window?

        Is there anything on wall?

And then you can ask what they or part of them would like to do next.

        And is there a foot?

        And is foot on floor?

        And would foot on floor like to move?

        And which foot wants to move first?

        And after foot moved would other foot want to move?

        And then would first foot want to move again, etc.?

        And do you like that when foot moves like that?
        (confirming any movement that the still_traumatized_part has made)

        And where is the next place foot wants to go?

All the while, fishing for additional metaphors, any of which can be potential resources. One man developed a metaphor of "threads." They had a special quality and shape. It turns out they were the threads on a quilt on which his face was pressed while he was being abused as a child.

During the therapy, these threads were eventually able to transform so that they could tie down the perpetrator. This then allowed first one foot and then the other foot to successfully exit the bedroom.

The still_traumatized_part has it's own logic. There's no way to know nwhat it's logic is ahead of time.

It's OK to ask about different possibilities, though.

        And you want to get out of room and foot won't move,
        and you want to get out of room, so what could happen?

This kind of question brackets the problem (foot won't move) with the goal (getting out of room) and says to them, OK, what's your solution to solve this, what could happen?

And if they say that doesn't work or that they don't know what to do, you can put it back to them

        And you want to get out of room, and foot can't move and you
        don't know what to do, and you want to get out room, what
        needs to happen next when you want to get out room and you
        don't know what to do?

And it's a struggle, but it's their struggle and they need to find their solution using their logic (or illogic as the case may be).

4. Your last post about begining with Grovian work makes sense for us. We had also noticed that burning out is coming faster. Did you notice the same in your beginings ? Or is it due to this metaphor work ?

Doherty: I'm not sure what you mean by burning out faster. You or the client?

I do know that this is hard work we do.

I went to a workshop on "Secondary Traumatic Stress in the Therapist" and it made sense to me because I had had some nightmarish and sleepless nights after clients told me some of their horror stories.

I use Grove's ideas and NLP to protect myself and maintain my own resourceful state. I adopt the attitude almost that I'm just a special kind of a mechanic. A mechanic who is trying to help someone getting something noxious and toxic out of and away from themselves.

Bad things like big stick in throat (not an uncommon metaphor for oral rape). Or knife in stomach or groin (ditto for genital or anal rape). Or big rock on chest (ditto for having a larger person lie on top of the person).

In a way I don't want to know all the horrid details. I try to focus on the logic of a person having a big rock on top of them and how a big rock might be gotten off so the person can breathe and move in a way they want.

Well, that's all for now.


Michael Doherty 
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