How do you begin working with clients?
I start with a basic intake interview. You need to assess their level of fear and anxiety, their educational background, and their level of insight. Right away I look for ways to help them cope with fear and anxiety.
We begin to look at meaningful goals. I think a lot of people try to make it a formula. You can't do that. From session one I take a look at their whole experience and help them try to integrate that.
I teach them basic breathing and relaxation techniques as part of the initial evaluation. I don't immediately get into imagery. I want to learn about their sense of self to help them go beyond a disease, which is merely the symptom; and I want to help them to be with the experience of their illness-that is, how are they living their life? Also in the first session I routinely get them to open up to the fact that they have inner healing resources...and they can tap into them. It is also important for them to look at their self-talk. If a person's self-talk is negative, they're going to continue in a downward spiral of feeling hopeless and helpless. As they pay attention to the self-talk, which is unending, they begin to change the self-talk and as a result, their patterns of imagery begin to change-even during sleep.