Processes and Techniques

In this course we will make a distinction between processes and techniques. They are often used interchangeably, but that muddles up the meaning of what we do in session. So, let us define the terms more precisely.

A process is something the client is going through. It is the activity of carrying an active area through to a resolution. The facilitator controls the process, but the client is doing it. A process is a controlled beneficial change happening over a period of time. It has a start, a period of change, and a completion.

A technique is a specific type of action that the facilitator can use. It consists of a pattern of speech or action that the facilitator takes. There might be a specific wording to use and certain planned steps. There might be certain indications for when that exact technique would be used, and certain indications for when it would be done. A technique can be intended to handle certain types of material, or it can be intended to activate certain types of issues, or both.

We do a session in order to make processes happen. The facilitator will use certain techniques to start and end processes. No technique guarantees that a process will be started or completed.

The way of knowing if a process is started, is continuing, or is completed, is by observing and listening to the client. If something has been activated she has her attention on it, and she will be thinking, feeling, or talking about it. We can notice that. If a process is moving along then we must see something happening. The client is getting deeper into the subject, discovering more, or she is taking it apart, and getting free of it. Something has to be happening. When the process is done the client will put her attention outwards again, and she will look happy or satisfied, and she might comment on it. We can notice that.

The techniques are the facilitator's tools that she uses to make things start, to make things change, to finish things. She doesn't know in advance if they are going to work. If she has enough techniques in her tool bag, then she can be confident that she always has something useful to do. But she must be prepared for using different tools as appropriate.

One technique might correspond to one process, but that isn't necessarily the case. The client might bring up a complaint and we might resolve it using only polarity integration. Or, we might use a recursive technique like repeatedly asking the question "Think about trusting yourself", it might bring up some action, and by repeating the instruction we will exhaust the available responses and the person will probably have some kind of realization about it.

You might also have to use a number of techniques to finish a process. If you ask the client: "What would you like to handle?" and she looks pained and says "I lack self-confidence", then you can't necessarily expect to use just one technique and fix it. But you started a process. You might have to use dialoguing, imagination processing, incident re-experiencing, polarity integration, and all kinds of other things before you finish it.

A major process can consist of many smaller processes. We could say that the client is going through a process of personal development in life, and processing is part of that. Each major subject we might take up, like "Mother", or "Shyness", or "Communication" will essentially be a process. And we might go though smaller processes in completing parts of an overall issue or subject.

The important part is that the client goes through processes, not how many techniques we have used on her. If she can just sit on a chair and go through a process, without anybody saying a word, that is great. If she goes through processes without even being in a formal session, that is fine. You are there to help her go through the most beneficial processes that are possible. There is no other hidden purpose to transformational processing. There are no merits earned for insisting on specific techniques being used.


- Write down 5 processes you personally have gone through over the last year. Write down 5 techniques you know of.

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