Do Something

A fundamental rule in processing can be stated like this:

If something is happening - do nothing.
If nothing is happening - do something.

Processing is done to produce positive change. That is the general goal of processing: change for the better. If sufficient positive change is already occurring you don't need to do anything. Only if there is not enough positive change do you need to take some kind of action to bring it about.

There is no great virtue in doing many different things, giving many different questions and directions and so forth. What counts is the result; that the client is experiencing some positive change.

Sometimes positive change consists of cycles of getting into some stuff to handle and them getting out on the other side. It might be hard and dramatic, or it might be enjoyable, that is not the key. The key is that there is change. If change is happening and we keep the principles of processing working, then we are confident that it will be good change.

The facilitator can regard her role as being corrective. She is not the one who produces the change, the client is. So, the facilitator has no business interrupting the client if she is already changing very well. But if the client is not getting anywhere then it is the first job of the facilitator to do something, anything, that gets some action to happen.

A primary skill of a process facilitator is to know when to speak and when to shut up. And to know when to keep doing the same thing and when to change.

The first rule is part of the processing communication loop. If you asked the client something and she still has her intention inside, accessing the answer, don't interrupt her. If she is giving you the answer, don't interrupt either.

To know when to keep doing the same thing and when to change is part of the feedback loop in session. You observe the client and notice how the whole thing is going. If the process is producing good change, stay on the same track. If it is not producing change, think of something else to do.

A facilitator in training must develop this as an instinct. If something is happening, let it happen. If nothing is happening, start something happening.

The facilitator is there to start things moving when they aren't. And to watch them move when they are.

If you sit down in front of the client and say "Hello" and she then spontaneously goes into an amazing discovery process, don't do anything. You might think that you haven't given her any sensible directions or anything. Don't worry about it. If she is gaining, things are right. When she starts winding down you can start thinking about what to come up with.

If you select a process that you have judged to be the exact right process for the client, but it isn't getting anywhere - change. Don't stay stuck in that it "must" be the right process. Don't suffer through a half hour of nothing happening. A couple of minutes should be max to see if a process is going to bite. Things don't always work the way we would expect them to, or the way the text book says. Don't worry, just do something else.

If something is happening - do nothing.
If nothing is happening - do something.


- Grab a dictionary and open it randomly. If the word your eyes fall on is interesting to you, read the definition. When it no longer interests you, turn randomly to another page. Keep turning pages until something has your interest, read while interesting, turn pages when not interesting.

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