Take a Chance

I'd like to share some thinking regarding the generalized understatement, "It sometimes happens that someone likes somebody."

When I have seen clients using the understatement, I have mostly observed them trying to analyze it during their sessions. A good direction is a contradiction to a distress recording. Patterns being patterns, when contradicted they immediately rush to try to confuse us and make us forget reality. When a person first hears the understatement or tries to use it in a session, there is usually an onslaught of "thoughts" and feelings that try to fight the understatement. Patterns may attempt to brush it off as too simplistic, too silly, not a good way to access old hurts, not specific enough to the individual, etc. I suspect that these reactions are fairly universal.

A possible way to get past this initial rejection is to ask the client to say the understatement and to at least be open to the possibility that it will be useful. Encouraging the client to only repeat the one phrase (put his or her attention off of his or her distress) and occasionally asking what thoughts are coming up will give him or her a picture of how the distress recordings dominate his or her thought processes, making the understatement more and more attractive.

Howard Muhlberg
Bellingham, Washington, USA

Last modified: 2017-05-06 23:35:41-07