Deepening Client Engagement

In viewing, the state in which the viewer (client) is attentive to an item of emotionally charged case material and, using a viewing technique and the help of the facilitator (practitioner), is actively working through the item to discharge and resolve it.

Interestingly, the better rapport is maintained between the client and the facilitator, the freer the client will be to take attention off the facilitator and focus it inward on the material being addressed. The engagement we are talking about here is not engagement between viewer and facilitator, but the engagement of the viewer with their charged material. Ideally the client remains comfortable within the parameters of the session itself (even if viewing something difficult or traumatic to look at), working well in the session, and making forward progress.

This is not like a light switch, with simply an on and an off position, but rather a spectrum of engagement, from shallow to deep. The facilitator’s number one concern is that the client has a level of engagement sufficient to get useful work done in the session. Many variables can impact the viewer’s level of engagement. Some of these are within the viewer themself, and others are those that we as facilitators can control or influence. The emphasis in the Rules of Facilitation (rules of practive) client is well fed and well rested exists because a physically tired, or even slightly hungry viewer will not have the optimum amount of attention to focus on the work of the session. Obviously the rule about giving sessions in a suitable time and place: quiet, safe, and not outside the client’s normal waking hours, also supports the client’s level of engagement.

Most important on the facilitator’s side of the equation are level of presence and level of skill. Skill level may further be subdivided into skill in employing all of the components of communication within the framework of a session, and skill in employing actual techniques such as Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR). The Communication Exercises (as taught in the TIR Workshop) provide the means to develop a facilitator’s abilities to be fully present and to have very clean, clear session communication that will help a viewer become more deeply engaged. Skill with techniques comes from study and practice, both in the training workshops and in follow-up practice meetings.

Now let us look at some of the variables on the viewer’s side of things which affect his or her level of engagement. As you look over this list, think about how your skills as covered in the paragraph above, may impact the client’s abilities.

Variables on the Client’s Part:

  • Trust
  • Ability to perceive what is in the mental environment, and how it changes
  • Ability to articulate what is in the mental environment, and how it changes
  • Willingness to tell the facilitator about whatever comes up
  • Willingness to follow viewing instructions
  • Ego strength/ability to face up to charged material
  • History of successes or failures with earlier sessions or practices
  • Number and strength of defenses (Someone can be quite able in life and yet have such strong defenses built up around their mental world that it is very hard to achieve an adequate level of engagement.)
  • Motivation/The strength of intention to learn, grow, improve their  current condition
  • Consciousness of the possibility of change and improvement

Once a fairly stable and viable level of engagement is reached, and keep in mind that many people come in the door quite ready and able to do this work, we can look at how to deepen the level of engagement. The good news is that this naturally happens through successful sessions when the work is equal to the level of the ability of the client, charge is being removed, and client confidence increases.

A Scale of Engagement, from Low to High

  • Very, very able to engage on any issue, no matter the amount of charge attached; able to view effectively and to articulate clearly to the facilitator what is happening in the session
  • A sufficient level of engagement to support successful work using TIR and other techniques addressed to at least some charged areas, allowing end points to be reached, charge removed and progress made.
  • A sufficient level of engagement to allow the utilization of lighter techniques addressed to at least some charged areas, allowing end points to be reached, charge removed and progress made.
  • No trust or engagement. Viewer cannot or will not follow viewing instructions and/or tell the facilitator what is happening in the session.

It is the just barely engaged client that we tend to worry about and want to help to become more deeply engaged. There are three ways in which we can do this: x

  1. The normal deepening of engagement that takes place as the viewer is asked to do things in session that they can successfully do, resulting in charge being removed and end points being reached
  2. Care and attention from the facilitator
  3. Care and attention from the case supervisor

As facilitators, we can always work to improve our level of skill in using the Communication Exercises. We can do our own work as viewers to remove our own charge and hence see more clearly. We can ask for help from a trainer or another facilitator to drill and practice work with clients who are for any reason more difficult to engage. (Covering the special care that case supervisors can take is covered in training for use supervisors, including the final workshop in the series of eight Applied Metapsychology Facilitator Workshops.)

Being aware of the phenomena of engagement helps us to understand more clearly what is happening in session and helps us to see how to continue to improve our skills.

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