A session is likely to succeed to the degree that the client is involved. In addition to that the facilitator needs to have the skill of knowing what to do, but involvement is always a key element. No matter how much else the facilitator knows, the session will fail if the client is not involved.
Involvement is another way of saying that we need to have the client there. She needs to be present, she needs to have attention on what we are working on, and she needs to be willing to communicate.
There is no point in attempting techniques without the client being involved. She needs to get to first base first.
Many people aren't reaching for processing or anything like it. They might not have realized that they need to change or that one can change by working with some kind of facilitator. If they aren't at a level of need of change, or they have no clue that you might help them, then they aren't going to come in.
If a person does come in to see you, by her own volition, then you can be fairly confident that she wants to change and that she will let you try to help her.
If a person shows up and is not really involved in what goes on with her, then it is the facilitator's fault. OK, it is not unusual if you have to work a little bit to get the person involved the first time. But then, if she later loses interest, then you are probably doing something wrong.
The most likely reason for the client to not be interested in the situation being addressed would be that the facilitator is pursuing something else than what she wants. The facilitator might not have asked the client what she was interested in, she might have ignored it, or she might be following a different track than what works for the client. The client looses interest then and starts thinking about something else.
People usually walk in being interested in something. If that is something that we can base a session on, great, then we are in business. If not, then the facilitator needs to either dig a little bit to find something the client is interested in, or she needs to suggest a new subject and persuade her to be interested in that.
Another possibility for not being interested in resolving anything is if the person is just feeling too good or is too enthusiastic about something else. To be interested in her inner reality the person needs to introvert somewhat and examine herself. If there is too much fun stuff going on around her she would much rather be involved in that. So, if she is too extroverted, great, she doesn't need any processing. If everybody were always walking around being extroverted and enthusiastic, then they wouldn't need any processing. Processing starts where something needs improvement. The person would probably not come in at all if she is busy doing great in life, but it happens. A more likely possibility is that you get her into that state during session. You might resolve something and she is enthusiastic about going out and trying it in life and she is no longer interested in handling more stuff. Wonderful, that is what we want. End session and let her get on with life. Doesn't matter if she only got 20 minutes of her hour, she won't care.
But, if the client develops the other kind of un-involvement during a session, that is a different matter. If she starts looking distant, being distracted by other things, talking about different subjects than her own situation, being restless, etc., then there is something wrong. You aren't working on what you should be working on.
If she starts out being interested and talkative about the subject and suddenly she isn't, then obviously something happened. Here are some possibilities:
- We resolved the subject and you didn't notice.
- We got a deeper level of the subject and you still deal with the old version.
- The client got upset about something.
- Something was touched on that she feels she must hold back.
- She has developed a pressing problem of some sort.
All of these are failures to notice what went on or in communicating clearly on the facilitator's part.
If the subject we started with is resolved for the client, and she no longer has attention on it, then it will be irritating if the facilitator keeps talking about it. The client will get bored or will start resisting.
If something more heavy duty comes to light and the facilitator ignores it, then the client won't be too happy either. Like, we might be working a repeated questioning and then a strong body feeling related to a specific incident appears. The client might lose interest in the repetitive technique until the incident is dealt with. If it is resolved then possibly the repetitive process can be continued, unless it was resolved at the same time.
The client might get upset about something the facilitator does or something else she becomes aware of. Maybe you cut her off, maybe somebody makes noise outside the session room. At any rate you will have to deal with the upset when it is there. She is interested in the upset, so that is what you must talk about.
A secret that is almost found out will hinder progress severely. The client might become unwilling to talk at all or might start complaining and bad-mouthing the facilitator. If the client starts complaining and criticizing that would have to be dealt with. The same phenomena can happen simply because the facilitator doesn't receive the client's communication. Like, if the facilitator appears distracted, or doesn't let her know she has heard her.
The client might somehow get a problem and have attention on that. The session might be dragging out and she is worried about getting a parking ticket or being late for another appointment. You cannot ignore that. Maybe a little dialoguing might resolve it to her satisfaction, you might suggest a compromise. But sometimes the only thing to do is to let her go and handle her problem. Like, if she needs to go to the bathroom, don't try to talk her out of it.
A skilled facilitator rarely has any of these problems or they resolve very smoothly. The facilitator should ideally create a space where people just naturally feel like being involved.
The way I do sessions on new people they are involved from the moment they sit down. I haven't had any problems with lack of involvement for several years. No upsets, no unwillingness to communicate, no problems, no over-done processes. No groove-in period is needed, I haven't met anybody who had any hesitation in talking to me and telling me about their situation from the first minute.
If the facilitator maintains a safe space, if she is easy to talk to, and she is sincerely interested in the client, then the client will behave the same way. She will talk about what is on her mind and she will cooperate in resolving it.
- Write down 5 signs of session involvement and 5 signs of lack of involvement.