Whether or not Christian teaching is embedded in my life is entirely beside the point, as I am careful to never indicate or expose my own belief systems in the professional setting, believing that the most respectful way to treat a client is to offer only useful neutral templates for change. But this quote essentially expresses the underlying aim of Af-x and Clinical Affectology. If I can be so bold as to re-express the Bible’s sentence: “when I was in my early stages of emotional development, I learned certain responses and feelings, I continued to repeat those things, I felt as I had learned to feel: but when I became an adult, it was important for me to realize the habit of feeling as I did when it was not productive as that adult, and seek to change those learnings”.
Raymond was attentive to the delivery of my explanation about our work. At one point, out of nowhere, he asked “what constitutes ‘failure’ in Af-x?” Like any other therapist, I was a little lost for words because it is naturally apparent that people come to therapy realizing that “failure” (a ghastly word) would be that they did not divest themselves of the discomfort they are feeling in life.
I recall saying something inane like, “you may find that you do not successfully achieve everything you’re hoping to get out of therapy” and I proceeded with the session. But my inability to answer his question in what I thought was an adequate way played on my mind, and I later directly contacted Raymond (something that is anathema to an Af-x practitioner until after efficacy review has been done a few months later), apologized, and asked him, (excerpt from my email) …
It’s unusual and “against my own rules” to contact clients post-session, but I have a favour to ask.
But that’s AFTER I tell you I enjoyed meeting you and skirting around trying not to quote 1 Corinthians 13:11…!
I was surprised by your question re “what constitutes failure?” simply because I’d never been asked that question – or, certainly not in that way.
But you went on to say that you could not see how anybody could participate in Af-x work without walking away ‘changed’ in some way.
Of course, we both agreed with that….but…are you comfortable to elaborate? …
He happily replied to my question and I am choosing to use the majority of his response here, simply because I could not have put it a better way … he wrote …
Thanks for your note. I enjoyed our meetings too and have been pleased to trust/know that the content of the sessions is seeping ever more deeply into my subconscious. Yes, 1 Cor 13:11 has much to it.
The question about failure arose for me because of the different approach of Af-x to the therapeutic encounter. In other forms of therapy (I use the word loosely) it seems to me that a client might present with a problem which is then addressed in the course of many hours of contact with the therapist. Week by week, the client will test progress by evaluating changes to feelings and attitudes, but if there is no perceived change by some point, the client might well declare that the therapy had failed.
In Af-x, by contrast, for large parts of the encounter the therapist is not addressing the client's conscious mind at all, but the subconscious. For instance, I cannot consciously recall much of what you said in the guided parts of the sessions but I know that it is remembered by my subconscious. And that prompts me to think that I must simply accept the premise of Af-x (which I am able to do) and then trust that my subconscious is doing the work, regardless of how I evaluate consciously my attitudes and feelings.
If that is the case, it sounds odd to speak of failure with Af-x. What possible measure of failure could be used? I suppose if I came to Af-x because I wanted to stop smoking a pipe (shocking, I know, but it could happen) but then continued with contented smoking, it might make me think the process had failed. But what if there was some unexpected and (consciously) unsought change, as I’m absolutely sure does happen with some of your past clients? Has Af-x still failed? What sense would it make to speak of failure given that it is the subconscious rather than the conscious mind that is charged with doing the work? What markers could be available?
It seems to me that Af-x can offer the client relief from the burden of anxiety about success (a very worldly marker, after all) and instead offer the opportunity to rest comfortably with an awareness that the subconscious is taking care of things all the while.
What happened here? How did Raymond suddenly become this attuned to the essentials of subconscious affectology work? One answer would be that he, as an educated and searching person, already had the latent belief system that he eloquently expressed in his answer to me.
The other answer would be that I am very attentive to the need for as much ‘psycho-education’ to be included in quality therapy work as much as the need for ‘psycho-therapy’.
Given that I diligently ensure that clients are prepared (through correct written information) for the challenges and ‘opposites to mainstream psychotherapy’ before they even present in my rooms, I can’t help but believe that Af-x had a hand in both the above answers to the miracle of understanding that was Raymond’s. His latent or dormant belief system was stimulated and brought to life by my careful and exacting explanation about the human subconscious mind and its ignored resources.
As is persistently pointed out in my book, Beat Depression the Drug Free Way, the moral of this story is that knowledge is power and only the educated are free. Psychotherapists the world over should take heed: – – treat all therapy sessions as quality information delivery as to the approach and intent of the therapy, and respectfully treat all clients as students in the course of life ... that is ...EMOTIONAL LIFE.