Let me set the scene… Yesterday was a beautiful winter day, the sky was cloudless, a vivid blue, and the sun was golden and warm, a glorious contrast to the cold air. I was walking my dog down our wooded street, no traffic, just the sound of a few leaves rustling gently in the breeze. Sounds like a nice day for a walk, right? Here is what was actually going on. I was late, I was rushed, I had my eyes cast down and was power walking to get the outing off my to-do list. I wasn’t noticing the woods around me, I wasn’t tilting my head back to let the sun shine on my face. My dog was two steps behind me and his head was down too as he was trying to keep up with me. The leash attaching the two of us was stretched out, a nylon red line parallel to the road. The only sound we were tuned to was the sound of his panting.

Hmmmm…. neither one of us was experiencing this 30 minutes.. I was pulling my dog along on my agenda, and he was trying to keep up. We both missed an opportunity.

This can happen in the therapy room, right? Sometimes we can get too far out in front of our clients. Maybe we know their cycle, we know where we want to go with them, we know the EFT map and think that if we can only articulate our point, or explain the cycle, or help them crystallize what it is (we assume) they are trying to say that they will heal. But if we are dragging our couple along, we will not only jeopardize attunement, but in an effort to keep up with us they will stay cognitive, and we will all miss out on an essential part of the EFT work — the experiential. 

And we know that for our couples to truly re-build their bond, they need to experience the cycle, feel their vulnerability, in the room, in the moment. (And then of course, share it.)

It is a tricky balance right? Certainly we want to conjecture, (and in EFT conjecture is an important intervention) and we want to be at the leading edge of our clients’ experience and then help them go a half-a-step deeper. Half-a-step. Because it’s important to be right alongside our clients, with them in their experience, helping them to feel it, and feeling it ourselves. If we are too far out in front of them, we will risk them talking about how they feel and not actually feeling it. And although knowing the cycle is important, feeling it—with you, with their partner—is essential. This is the piece that will help them reconnect, help them heal. 

So this week, if you find yourself too far out in front, slow down, ground yourself. Take a deep breath and know that the most important agenda item is happening right now, right in front of you. 

10 thoughts on “EXPERIENCE THE MOMENT (or DONT GET AHEAD OF YOUR CLIENTS)

  1. Love this gentle reminder – happens to me a lot and indeed the clients stay cognitive in having to think if what I’m saying matches their experience. So important to stay just at the leading edge of what they are saying and to REPEAT THEIR WORDS. And yes, I am aware that it comes from a feeling of anxiety in me and wanting them to move forward, see what I see. It is I who have to remember to step into their experience rather than they having to step into mine…..Thanks, Karyn!

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    1. Thanks Maria! Love all the pieces of your comment! Yes, I agree, getting too far ahead often comes from my anxiety too. I love your words “step into their experience instead of having them step into mine.” 🙂

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  2. Thanks for the reminder Karyn. It made me think of Discernment Counseling for couples, when they each have different agendas. So even though one has their foot out the door, our agenda is to do couples work, when in reality they need to discern if couples work is in order.

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    1. Thanks Carol! And thanks again for your recent post to the listserv about Discernment Counseling… I listened to the Talk Time with Bill Doherty (thanks for the link) … it definitely piqued my interest and desire to learn more!

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  3. If I could just change one aspect of my EFT work, this would be it. I’m not as good as I would like to be at “slicing it thinner”. I so appreciate your reminder before I see my clients today. Thanks!

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