Most of what we handle is illogical. Feelings and ideas are used out of context. People are doing things that don't really make sense at all in their current situation. They are apparently acting completely contrary to what they want. They are reacting to things that aren't there. They base their actions and reactions on hallucinations in their mind and don't look at what is really going on. They manufacture non-sequitur rationalizations on the spot to back up what they are doing.
First of all, you need to be able to spot this. You need to recognize when things don't make sense. You don't have to tell anybody, but you need to notice it for yourself. "Hm, that sure doesn't add up."
Don't fall into the trap of rationalizing along with your clients. That would be a very big disservice for everybody. Don't find good and "logical" reasons for why the client is screwed up. "Well, no wonder he is nervous, his father beat him when he was a kid." "Of course she is angry, somebody stole her parking spot."
What you are looking for is the stuff that doesn't make sense. You will ignore the opportunities for rationalizing and you will maintain for yourself that it doesn't make sense. And then you will pursue the senselessness deeper and deeper until you find a basic senselessness that is easily correctable. You would go "That is wacko, why is she doing that?" and you would get the client to look at it and talk and tell about what is there. And eventually you uncover the misunderstanding or misplacement that started the illogic. "Aha, that's why she is doing it" And when the client realizes it, she can easily correct it.
You don't judge the client and you don't invalidate her. So, when you notice some illogic, you are not going to judge it as good or bad. You aren't going to say "Look at that idiot, she is really crazy, she is going to be a hard nut to crack." You notice that her behavior or her thinking is illogical. You don't put it down, you just notice it. And you always keep the client's basic personality out of it. It is something she is doing not something she is We will always assume that the person is basically sane, and when she understands what she is doing, she will clean it up.
So, you are continuously on the lookout for crazy behavior. But you will have a loving attitude about it. You will accept that it is there without having to judge it. But you will also help the person uncover what lies behind her behavior. You will simply help her getting a full picture of what is going on, no matter where we are starting from.
If the client says "The table is made of green cheese", and it sure doesn't look like that to you, you don't say "No it isn't , can't you see?" You say "Oh really, can you describe it?" You get her to perceive more, and give more details. You never invalidate what she perceives. Any perceptions are valid, even if they don't agree with yours.
When the client says "I am filled with sorrow because my mother died 5 years ago", you don't say "That's just old stuff, snap out of it!" It is indeed very illogical to go around pretending that one is effect of something that happened 5 years ago, replaying old feelings in totally different circumstances. But we won't put it down. We will be interested in how she managed to do that. You will have her describe the sorrow, and you will have her go back and re-experience her mother's death to find out what has not been completed. If we look enough at the whole thing, the pieces that are out of context will snap back in their right places and the whole thing will be handled.
- Having feelings that don't fit the current situation is illogical.
- Operating out of ideas rather than the actual situation is illogical.
- Disagreeing with oneself is illogical.
- Hiding one's abilities from oneself is illogical.
- Making oneself limited is illogical.
The best attitude the facilitator can have is one of kind fascination. Being genuinely interested in how come people act and think the way they do. Noticing the things that don't make sense and tracking them down, finding out what is behind them.
Craziness is really very, very interesting. Everybody has many crazinesses in their lives. Your job is to notice the little crazinesses that everybody else aren't noticing. And then work with those crazinesses with no judgment, but with great interest. Find out how they work, find out what makes them tick. Work with the client in finding out what is really there. And once you both know what is really there, there is no more craziness.