During IN SESSION this week about Family EFT (EFFT) (https://www.emotionallyfocusedtherapy.us/In-Session__Season_3.html) George Faller shared some video of family EFT. In the video he was working with an 11.y.o. that withdraws. He helped her feel safe enough to share. When she began to share, her mom started asking her lots of questions.
Child says: I just feel embarassed when I can't answer the question and I can't – say it…
George: (To the child client) “Do you know how much courage it takes to just do what you're doing now to say, ‘I don't know how to talk about these things, I've never talked about them.' You're letting us into a place that you never talk about. That's pretty cool.
(stop tape – Becca and George talk about what's happening)
Becca: “So, here we recognize this present process focus and you supporting her as she's doing something new and different.”
George : “I think what's challenging with kids is they don't like questions. I [say] in my families all the time, ‘help me be curious with you without asking questions‘, because that's usually the way I will do it. You know kids don't like it because the questions usually mean they are doing something wrong.
‘I try to find ways of being playful, of telling stories, I try to joke around.'
‘I try to find different ways of getting along side of them… ‘
I realize that many partners who use the withdrawing strategy (like this child who withdraws) feel that same way – questions mean they are doing something wrong.
I want to make therapy safe, I want to be a safe therapist. I don't want to join the cycle by “pursuing” with questions. I want to be attuned – right alongside the client as experience is shared and explored. My mantra in working with partners who have a more withdrawing strategy is to “Reflect. Reflect first then explore.” I also want to follow George's lead and find ways to be curious, so my exploration includes other responses in addition to questions.
Please make a comment below and share with us how you get alongside, be attuned to and access or deepen emotional sharing when you're working with folks who withdraw without asking them questions. Examples would be wonderful.
Thank you for being here.