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Not Your Average CBT Counsellor: sometimes success comes from the simplest techniques

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Whilst working at a well-respected London university a few years ago, I worked as a CBT counsellor with a particular young woman who was struggling to feel things. She articulated how this impacted her daily life with precision. She couldn’t stand to be alone, she couldn’t sleep more than a couple of hours a night, and to cope with her ’empty’ feelings she distracted herself surfing the internet for hours. She was under performing at school and felt unhappy.

We wrote a CBT case formulation together and it became clear that this client had painful events in her past which could be related to her current situation. Drawing on my training in NLP I noted that the client’s representative system was audio digital (AD). ADs are logical and analytical and they tend to talk about feelings and sensations to make sense of them rather than experience them. It was clear that by engaging with the client using their AD representative system we could make sense of her experience in the here and now, but that it wouldn’t change anything.

During our second session I asked the client to talk about those past events which had led to her current problems, and to watch my finger as she did. As usual the client looked down and to her left (AD position), but wanting her to engage with a different part of her brain, I moved my finger to the bottom right side of her field of vision where kinaesthetic experiencing takes place. Kinaesthetics are people who feel their experience. The client practically jumped in her chair before curling up in a ball while she continued to speak. Her language altered; gone was the analytical and instead she was able to express herself as a child who would talk about experiencing its feelings. Staying in that position we were able to re-frame her past.

The next week the client came back. She smiled as she relayed how she well she had slept, how she felt absolutely fine being alone and how much happier she felt. I was thrilled as to the extent of her changes (as was she). I ran into this client a few months ago and it was a pleasure to learn how positive her life has continued to become. I was, and still am struck by how sometimes the smallest tool in the therapy box can impact such a large change in our clients’ experience. If you are looking for a CBT counsellor in London who combines NLP and hypnosis contact me today.

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Watch a video with more information about identifying a person’s dominant representative system using eye cues.

* Details that do not impact the message of this post have been removed or modified from this case description to ensure anonymity.

Rachel Moore works at a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and Coach in London. Click here for more details about working with Rachel.