What it is beneficial for the client to talk about is what is there As opposed to what isn't there, or what might be there.
It gives very limited relief to talk about what is wrong and how things really should be. Some people spend most of their time complaining, without getting any improvement out of that whatsoever.
This might sound a little confusing at first. Mostly because our language is limited and often misleading. One can talk apparently very intelligently without talking about anything at all. Politicians are masters at that. Our clients better not be.
What brings a result from processing is not the words that the client says. For that matter, it is not the words that you say either. What is effective is when we actually contact a structure that is part of the person's reality, we find out something about it, and we adjust it so that it works better for her.
Words really only make sense to the degree that they are about something. A word or an expression is only a symbol. In itself it is worthless, but its use gets justified to the degree that it points to something that is real. Real either in the physical world, or in the person's subjective world. In transformational processing we are dealing with the person's subjective world, her mind. But we are still talking about realities, stuff that actually exists.
What's the matter with a client is always something. Something very definite that can be perceived and experienced in detail. It is never a "nothing" and it is never a "maybe". It is always something specific and not something vague or general.
So, we need to be sure that the client is mostly talking about what she perceives, and we need her to tell us what it is she is perceiving. If she has trouble perceiving anything, the job of the facilitator is to get her to contact something and perceive it and talk about it.
Don't expect the client to know the difference by herself. Mostly what is "wrong" with her is exactly that she isn't perceiving, but is thinking in frozen symbols. That is why she is here to see you, so you need to help her with it. You get her attention onto stuff that she can actually perceive as being there in her mind and, depending on what it is, you might use various techniques for dealing with it.
We don't need the client to be wondering, guessing, and giving other people's opinions. Having her sit and brainstorm on what is wrong with her is not helpful. "Maybe it is this, maybe I am that, maybe it is the weather" is getting nowhere. Processing does not consist of guesswork. It is perception work.
A "nothing" is not something we can work with in terms of perception. If she has a black cloud, or a lonely feeling, or a hollow sound in her mind - that we can work with. We can not work with that she didn't win the lottery, or that her boss didn't give her a promotion, or her husband should have been nicer to her. We can start with any of those subjects but we will promptly lead the discussion to what she has going on in that regard. Maybe she has a certain unpleasant feeling because she didn't get a promotion, and we will work with that. Maybe she carries some frozen incidents in relation to her husband, that are bothering her. Maybe she has a specific vision for the future that we can talk about. We will always convert nothings to somethings and then talk about those.
The distinction is not just in the words that are being used. You can get some idea of what is going on based on just the words the client says. But also you need to develop a sense of whether she is perceiving something that is there or not. If she is perceiving, she will be able to give more detail on what it is she is perceiving. We would be able to take a closer look. If we can't take a closer look, it might be because we aren't dealing with anything.
Let's give some examples of what clients might say:
SOMETHING IS THERE NOTHING IS THERE ------------------ ----------------- "I feel really tense inside" "Maybe I have just been unlucky" "She told me to get lost" "She never cares about me" "I want to be a fashion designer" "I wish I would have become a doctor" "My life seems limited" "What do you think is wrong with me?" "I feel weak when I need to take decisions" "Do you think I am too weak?" "It is kind of blurry" "I don't know" "I put myself down" "My therapist said I lack confidence" "I have been thinking that I am a failure" "My life doesn't work" "I want to improve now" "I wonder when it will be better" "I feel tired" "I just don't know what is going on" "I told him I love him, but he didn't answer""Maybe I am just too insecure" "It is dark and I can hear something move" "The book said that I have a father complex" "Kids should be seen, not heard" "Do you think I am too stressed?" "I seem to fail every time I do something" "I think I am just imagining it" "I am having trouble with my relationship" "I hope I can get better"
It is not that it is bad when the client says something unspecific that isn't attached to anything. It just means that it is time to get her to contact some specifics. Clients will quite often walk in and ask for something very vague. That is part of the problem for them; that they don't quite know what they want. So your first job is to make the subject more real, both for you and the client. Find out more specifically what she is asking for. And then work with some specific realities in her world that will help accomplish it.
If the client does not talk about anything specific and perceivable, then it is a sign that she isn't involved in the session yet. The session involvement basically consists of getting the client into something with some substance to it. Something that is interesting, something that exists, something she will talk about.
Once you got the client into contact with something she is exploring and talking about, then you can relax. That is where we want her. She might be able to go on for herself a little while, just talking about what she is perceiving. Then, when she runs out of material, or if she drops out of the subject again, you simply need to get her attention back on something that is there that is interesting and that relates to the subject.