When I was at university a friend of mine was keen to “pack on some muscle” and so he hit the gym 6 days a week with intense full body workouts each time. Now no-one could criticize his determination or perseverance but despite these best efforts and some moderate strength and fitness improvements he hadn’t packed on much muscle at all. He was frustrated… very frustrated! Can you imagine spending huge amounts of time and effort in the gym without seeing the results you feel you deserve?

Desperate for help he began talking to people and seeking advice from those who had already achieved the sort of physique he was after, and after a 5-minute chat with one such individual, it all became clear. “You’ve been thinking about the gym all wrong… you don’t make muscle in the gym… you make muscle when you are away from the gym. The exercises you do, the weights you lift are simply a way of giving your muscles the instructions to grow”.

Essentially this was “overtraining”… the gardening equivalent of putting new seeds in soil everyday and then expecting them to grow, without giving them the other things they need like water, sun and time!

It was suggested that to “pack on muscle” he should train smarter rather than harder. The advice was to train just twice a week with big core compound exercises, then eat and sleep right… that’s it!

Now this was 12 years ago and since then he gained a lot of muscle and it was this shift in mind-set that made it possible. This quick conversation changed his perception over how he had been approaching the task of changing his physique.

I believe that for Rapid Change to be effective and more importantly ‘lasting’, we need to approach change-work with a similar mind-set…

What can we do during our interaction to give the person instructions (both consciously and unconsciously) in order to help them develop better patterns that grow and develop over time?

In other words, the changes shouldn’t be confined to the therapy office.

It’s my understanding that Frank Farelly, the creator of provocative therapy, used to poke fun at the stereo-typical therapeutic interaction being where the therapist builds up the self-esteem of the client during the session, “you are worthwhile”… they pump up a little with a good feeling, “you can do it”… pump up a little more, “you are a strong and confident person”… and like a balloon they leave the session fully inflated, buoyant and happy. However, once they leave the session, without that constant external pumping around them, they gradually deflate until they have to come back a week later to the therapist for another pumping up!

So the question is… how can you set things up… how can you prime the interaction so that whilst you may lay seeds of change, the seeds will take root and continue to grow even whilst you (the therapist) are not there?

On a side note… if you set up a dynamic whereby the client comes to you indefinitely week in – week out etc… isn’t there an unconscious suggestion that you are implying that they are not strong enough to be out in the world without your weekly input? What effect do you think that this a belief of this kind has on them in the long run?

You see I don’t want the dynamic between client and therapist to be one of an emotional crutch. I’m more interested in helping educate people as to how they can take better control of their thinking and send them out with strategies that will evolve and create propulsive change once they leave the therapy room.

It’s not good enough just that they say they feel better at the end of a session straight after the latest NLP pattern intervention, what matters, is how are they living their life? Have the changes not just manifested but are they generative?

I’m constantly amazed by the people whom come with one issue and then weeks later they will ring me to tell me that a bunch of other (seemingly unrelated) issues have cleared up.

I believe that when you work generatively with people (regardless of your toolset, be it NLP, Hypnosis, CBT, or any other therapeutic model), one of the best things you can do is to begin to sow the idea that change is possible and then future pace this shifted mindset…

“Once you have seen that change is possible after this issue has cleared up, what else will shift wonderfully for you… now… you know that positive change can happen easily?

This is a powerful attitude to instil in your clients.

Your thoughts, comments and ideas about how you go about instilling generative change and this mind-set are welcome below.