8 Things I Say Most Often To My Therapy Clients
I've been working with clients for 46 years, so of course, there are things I say over and over — even to the same person and even in the same session! That's because there are certain things we each need to pay attention to, over and over.
The process that I use is called Inner Bonding, which teaches people how to love themselves. As loving themselves becomes a way of life, their anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, fear, addictions and relationships gradually heal.
Here's what I say most often to my clients:
I encourage my clients to breathe into their body, following their breath, using breath to help get present in their body, with their feelings. I ask them to scan their body, noticing, without judgment, their physical and emotional feelings.
2. Find a place within you that is willing to explore how you might be creating some of your painful feelings.
When we haven't learned how to take responsibility for our feelings, then we avoid them in four major ways — all which are self-rejecting:
- We judge ourselves harshly, causing shame. Often, we would rather feel shame than feel the painful feelings of life, such as loneliness, heartbreak, grief or helplessness over others and events. We hope that, by judging ourselves, we can have control over getting ourselves to do things "right" so that others will like us and give us the love we're not giving to ourselves.
- We stay in our head, rather than being present in our body with our feelings.
- We turn to various addictions to numb our feelings.
- We make others responsible for our feelings, blaming them for our pain.
And if we haven't taken responsibility for our feelings, then we can't start to manage them.
If the client is resistant to learning how to be responsible for their feelings, then I say:
3. There must be a very good reason you feel so resistant right now.
I help the client explore fears and false beliefs around learning how to love themselves and take responsibility for their feelings. In the Inner Bonding process, there are only two intentions that are possible in any given moment:
- The intent to learn about loving yourself and others
- The intent to protect against pain with some form of controlling behavior
When their intent is to protect or control rather than to learn, I say:
4. There must be a very good reason you want to control right now rather than learn.
I ask, Is there something you're afraid of in opening to learning?
Sometimes, this will open the door to curiosity and we can explore the person’s false beliefs about opening to learning about loving themselves.
If the client is open to exploring this, then I say:
5. Put your focus into your heart and invite love, kindness and compassion.
Then, consciously move into the intent to learn about what you may be doing that may be causing your pain, or what is happening externally that may be causing your pain. At some point, with each of my clients, I have taught them how to connect with their personal source of spiritual guidance — their source of love, compassion, wisdom and truth. I invite them to bring this Presence inside so they can be very kind and caring with themselves.
If the client is feeling anxious, depressed, guilty, shamed, alone inside, empty or angry, then I say:
6. Ask the hurting part of you, 'What am I doing — or telling you — that is causing this feeling?"
Then I ask them to go inside and allow the feeling part of themselves — the inner child — to answer. I ask them to answer from inside, not from the head.
We then proceed to explore the beliefs and behaviors that may be causing these feelings. Once we get a clear picture of what is causing the pain, then I say:
7. What is the truth about this belief?
Open to learning with your higher guidance about the truth regarding these false beliefs, and about taking loving action on your own behalf. I encourage clients to ask their higher self, What is the truth about this belief? and What does my inner child need from me right now to feel loved by me? Once the client receives guidance regarding the loving action, and agrees to take the loving action in their own behalf, then I say:
8. Imagine taking the loving action ... how would you feel if you did?
If the client feels relief at the thought of taking the loving action, or relief from the session itself, then we know that they are on the right track. We practice this over and over until this process becomes a way of life. At first, they find it much easier when I'm facilitating them, but with time, they can do it easily themselves.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D., is a best-selling author, relationship expert, and Inner Bonding® facilitator. She has counseled individuals and couples since 1968. She is the author/co-author of nine books, including the internationally best-selling Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved by You?, Healing Your Aloneness, Inner Bonding, and Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved by God? and her recently published book, Diet For Divine Connection. She is the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette, and featured on Oprah, as well as on the unique and popular website Inner Bonding.