Dialoguing can be used in processing for several purposes:
1. To elicit loaded areas so that we have something to work on.
2. To narrow down an area that a more specific technique can then be applied to it.
3. As a process in itself to resolve an area for the client.
The first use would typically be in the beginning of a session where the client doesn't seem to have anything pressing on her mind. Our purpose is at first not to resolve anything, but simply to find something that is in need of being resolved.
The second use is as a lead-in to another technique. We have a general loaded area, but we need to find out what exactly the phenomenon is, so that we know what to do about it. As soon as we have enough information, we will switch over to a more powerful technique.
The third use of dialoguing is as a process in itself. We start out with a loaded subject. We carry it through to a completion with dialoguing alone.
The purpose of the dialoguing process is for the facilitator and the client to both understand the nature of the subject to a point where it either resolves for the client or she knows what to do with it. The object is to get a mutual understanding about what it is and the client taking responsibility for it. In the process of attaining that, the subject might dissolve and that would be the completion of that process.
In dialoguing, or in any other process for that matter, we aren't trying to find out what exactly the client's problem is. There is no one thing we are looking for. We are trying to bring new material to light, to provide more viewpoints, to loosen things up and so forth. What exactly that means is up to the client.
The point in dialoguing is not just to get the client to talk. It is two-way. The facilitator will help the client resolve the subject by asking the right questions. She will get her to keep looking and talking about what is there until we have really gotten somewhere.
To help the client along, the facilitator can ask for various things concerning the subject:
- possible causes,
- attempted solutions,
- failed solutions,
- attempts to get rid of,
- help towards,
- time, place, form, and event,
- who, what, where, when, and how,
- what could one do about it,
- is it possible to take responsibility for it,
- how would things be without it.
And any other question that will help clarify what we are talking about. Both the facilitator and the client should be interested in finding out all about it. The facilitator is not just picking something else to say to keep the client talking, she is trying to get the client to find out.
The main thing not to do in dialoguing is to be indecisive about what we are working on. We are trying to resolve the original subject, no matter what else the client might mention along the way. The facilitator will always get back to the main subject.
Any question is to help the client look, not to impose the facilitators ideas. The facilitator can clarify what the client said, help her summarize it, but will not add her own judgments to it.
If it turns out that the subject matter is not suited for dialoguing alone, the facilitator would switch to the appropriate technique:
- fixed ideas are handled with the unfixing steps
- traumatic incidents are handled with re-experiencing procedure
- polarities are handled with polarity integration
Now, this is only if the main subject matter of the dialoguing is found to be something else than expected. Any information about other loaded areas that might come up are just noted for later use.
Also, if the dialoguing is going nowhere, it might be appropriate to switch to something stronger or more precise. Or one can use Unburdening or Unblocking keys as a guide to cover the area more systematically.
Dialoguing is basic processing. If is one of the most important techniques to master. However, a facilitator expecting a rote procedure might find it hard to do. There is no rote procedure in dialoguing. But with enough understanding of the definition of processing and with enough drilling and practice, it becomes very simple to do.
Example of dialoguing:
F: "OK, the next subject is apples. Are you interested in looking at that?"
C: "Yes, that is really bothering me."
F: "All Right, tell me about it."
F: "OK, so how do you really feel about that?"
F: "OK, are you trying to do something about the apple situation?"
F: "All Right, what happened then?"
F: "OK, how do you explain that?"
F: "Aha, do you have a solution to apples then?"
F: "Good, how would that work?"
F: "I see, how do you feel about apples now?"
C: "Very good, I don't think I will have a problem with apples anymore." (looking relieved)