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The power of words


I am increasingly busy in my private practice and am always looking for ways to improve and increase the efficiency of my work.


A brief telephone conversation with a new client recently made me think he may not even need his first session. Conscious of the fact he would not be able to see me for four weeks, I asked him a couple of questions before he put down the phone.


‘John’, I said ‘I wonder if you could tell me in one or two words what is the essence of the problem is?’


John reflected for a while before replying ‘That’s a difficult one, but I think it is about lack of something….or loss.


‘Between now and our first session,’ I said,’ I wonder if you could consider what the essence of the solution might be ……and the focus for our work together.


‘Okay’ said John sounding considerably brighter than when we had started a conversation. Why were those words so powerful? The answer is: focus and distillation.


By asking John to consider the essence of the problem, the essence of the solution and the focus for our work together, I had given him the distilled formula for all good brief therapy. I had also put him into his observing self and engaged his reticular activating brain filter. (RAS)


RAS ensures that you focus on is what you move towards. Having directed John’s reticular activating system to now focus on solutions means his perception is already beginning to shift.


Therapeutic use of the observing self, harnessing the power of the reticular activating system and working with focus and distillation are all part of the accredited Therapeutic Coaching Diploma.

Frances Masters BACP accred GHGI FRTC






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