What is it? Well, it’s not talking to ghosts. It is simply the ability to construct language and metaphor in a way that links the unconscious mind to the conscious and creates a living image in the mind that acts as an instruction for healing. Phew! Sounds good? Well, when it happens, it is much more than good, it is the moment when a client literally changes their mind.
Here is an example. A recent client during Timeline© Therapy twice identified herself as being in a battle, perhaps by the sea, being very cold, frightened and angry, and being pursued by an enemy that was grabbing at her, but she managed to hide and escape.
It is quite common for people to recall memories from previous generations during therapy. Now before anyone scoffs at this, it is always important to remember that the unconscious mind works symbolically. This could have been a real event, or just as easily be a symbolic one. It doesn’t matter which, because to her the event is REAL.
As part of her therapy process, I decided that it would be a good metaphor to ask her to create a picture in her mind where she was burning all her old hurts on a bonfire. So I put her in the Heart and Soul position (hands folded across the chest, 3 deep breaths and eyes closed). I described to her that she had a box full of folders and papers where she had written down all her stories of hurt over the years and she was throwing them onto the fire. Pretty good metaphor, but as I was describing the scene, my language sparked something in her, because the picture changed and she found herself floating in a reed bed in a river.
It was a warm river, and either side of her were fields full of wheat. She could see the bonfire on the bank, but it was receding as she floated calmly down the river. Then she came across a battle happening in the water, a battle between all sorts of mythical creatures like goblins and trolls. She wasn’t threatened by the battle, she was just floating safely past. All of this picture was being supported by my language, that allowed her to play out the scene in her mind as she floated past the conflict into a safe and prosperous future.
That’s not weird, that is PROFOUND. It is Healing, it is Positive Change, it is her taking Ownership of her life and her future. When it happens, it creates huge change in a client and as a therapist it leaves me pretty much astounded at the power we all have to create our own stories that will guide our future.
Perhaps we should all take a moment to think about our story, and if we would like to change it.