I’m guessing we’ve all had the experience of sitting with a couple where it’s easy to empathize with one of the partners, and much more difficult to empathize with the other. It may be that we are puzzled by their behavior, pushed away by their anger, or that we just can’t find a way underneath their steel armor. All of this can lead to being frustrated with the client (and maybe also frustrated with ourselves). In these moments, it can be helpful to check in with yourself and ask, is my attachment lens still on? Can I re-adjust it and try to understand and plug into—or at least imagine—the pain, the panic, the desperation, and/or the shame that is driving this behavior? Or am I just feeling and reacting to this person’s well-honed protection? (Remember, most of the time, the stronger the protection, the more pain there is to protect.)
I just finished up helping at another Core Skills Series led by Debi Scimeca-Diaz, a vivacious and passionate EFT Trainer in New Jersey (find her here: http://www.njceft.com) and she gave a great “self-supervision” suggestion for these moments when we’ve lost our attachment lens. Debi showed a clip of a little boy of about 3 years old who has lost his mother in a crowd. He is standing frozen, all alone, with tears rolling down his chubby cheeks, as busy people rush by him. He is invisible to everyone around him but his panic, his fear, his desperation is larger than life. It’s not as powerful in description as it is onscreen, but with this image in mind, watch a few minutes of a tape with your challenging client (or if you don’t have them on tape, close your eyes and replay your last session). Then turn off the tape and imagine this part of your client, the part that is lost, afraid, desperate, and alone in their relationship. Even if you haven’t met that part of them yet, it is there. Plug into that. Then, while holding and feeling this part of your client in your heart, practice how you might intervene with them in a new way.
I hope this helps with those frustrating moments!