I never know what will work for my clients. I can’t predict which method will be the one they will love and find extremely helpful.
Usually, when I start working with a client I would explain it. I will say that we don’t know what’s going to work but let’s work as a team and learn some tools. It’s about finding that right fit, you try and fail and try and fail and again and again but suddenly you find the one that you won’t let go of.
For one client “radical acceptance” was the one, for someone else using the thought log would do its magic, you never know. I can predict and try but at the end it’s all about the client.
So how does the process work? I like the car metaphor someone shared on Pinterest by @centrumlumina:
“Here’s a thought I had about how therapy & treatment works (vs how many people imagine it works). This is based on my experience with depression and chronic illness, but I hope it applies more broadly as well.
Imagine you have to take a road trip on a deserted road alone. Halfway through the trip your engine starts to splutter and the car breaks down. What do you do?
A lot of people imagine that therapy and treatment is like calling a mechanic to come and fix your car for you. You make the call, and then you just have to wait around until the mechanic has fixed the problem, and your car is good as new! Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. There is no on-call mechanic. No-one is able to fix this car except for you.
Instead, it’s like you pull a toolbox out of the trunk, pop open the hood, and dial up the mechanic on the phone. You have to try and describe the problems as clearly as possible, and follow the advice they give you as well as you can.
Sometimes you won’t understand the advice, and you’ll need them to explain it again or suggest something else. Sometimes you’ll do what they say and the car still won’t run, and they won’t be able to explain why, only give you something new to try. Sometimes you’ll think you fixed the problem and start driving, and the car will break again two minutes down the road. No matter what happens, it’s going to be hard and messy and frustrating work.
But at the end of it, not only will your car be running again, but you’ll know how to fix it now. Which isn’t to say that you’ll never need another mechanic again, but next time you get stuck, it’ll be that little bit easier to handle.”