Hi all! So sorry I’ve been a bit off the grid and behind in my postings!
So, in my last post I wrote about interrupting, and hopefully it was helpful to just notice your own style of interrupting… how you do it, when you do it, and perhaps even more importantly, when you hold back and why. Like I said last time, in EFT there are so many times that we need to interrupt our clients so that we can keep the session productive and as emotionally-focused as possible.
I tend to set the stage for interrupting right off the bat with my clients. As you know, as EFT therapists it is important to dive right into the first session and set the stage for how we work by using RISSSC, starting to track the cycle, doing at least one enactment in that first hour. Just so with interrupting. So in the first session I might let clients know, “You might find that I interrupt you sometimes, as things tend to happen fast in couples therapy and I don’t want us to fly by and lose these important moments.” Or I might let them know the first time I interrupt, “Can I interrupt you right there? You are saying something really important and I think we should slow down and explore it. This is something I will probably do throughout our sessions, so that we don’t miss important moments. So is it okay if we slow down right here?”
In my experience, if clients feel that you’ve slowed down/interrupted around something relevant (and you can help them see the relevance) they’re almost always okay with it. The rest of the story or the other part of what they are saying will still be there. If it is important, you can bet that it will come up again. And you can hold the other parts with the client by saying “I know you have more to say or that there is another part to this, and I promise we’ll come back to it, but can we just slow down around this one part right now?”
I hope I am helping to empower you to gently, warmly, move in and interrupt your clients. (And often when I interrupt, I quite literally move in/lean in). At the same time, like all things, even though interrupting is essential, your attunement with your clients will guide you in knowing/learning the balance of “just enough” interrupting with each couple. Obviously, we don’t want to interrupt every story, this wouldn’t feel good and could hurt your alliance. Sometimes we have to let clients tell their story. And we do need to hear and watch and feel them tell stories as we get important information about their processing that we can then reflect and process with them. So it’s okay to take a small detour, and then direct them back to the emotion, to where you feel the power is. Just know that the longer the story or the more points they make before you zoom in, the more pieces you will then have to sift through, and the less focused your session might be.
I’m sure all of you have your own effective ways of slowing your clients down and interrupting, but I thought I’d include some here for variety’s sake:
May I interrupt you for a moment?
Can we go back for a minute?
That sounds important, can we slow down around that?
Can I pause you for a moment?
Can we back up a little bit?
Can we just stay right here in this moment for now?
Do you have a “go-to” way of interrupting? I’d love to hear it! 🙂
4 thoughts on “THE ART OF INTERRUPTING: PART 2”
When the couple gets into their cycle, I interrupt by saying: “I would like to interrupt you because you can argue at home, I want to make this a different experience for you.” They are always grateful for the interruption. Love your posts!!
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Thanks Renee!! It’s great to hear from you! 🙂 I love your way of interrupting… making explicit that you are helping them to experience each other differently. Beautiful!
Karen, you recommendations are wonderful reminders of how not to let the session go into content. Many times before I interrupt the client, I validate a feeling they are having but may not be talking about. “Yes, that is so upsetting for you, I can imagine that makes you so angry, can we stay here for a moment, this is a very important place.’ I also thank them for showing my what there cycles look like in that moment and for helping me better understand what they are sharing.
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Hi Carol! Thank you so much for your comment and I’m sorry for the delayed response! I love that you thank your couples for showing you their cycles and helping you to understand; what a warm and validating way to come alongside them when things escalate. 🙂