Building Bridges

Getting over it all. I know, I know. Build a bridge, get over it, and all the other platitudes one hears when grieving a relationship. But there are those who cannot even think of a bridge, let alone build or traverse one.

That’s why my clinic began to offer the FALLING OUT OF LOVE program. Ultimately designed for those stranded on the shores of lost or unrequited love, it offers a weekly program whereby the lovelorn client engages with the sophistication of NLP, the gracefulness of NRT and the elegance of Franklin Psychotherapy for fast recovery.

Of course, you and I know that we could probably do this all in one session, and for some that will be fine. However, for many of my clients, the rejection or loss has been so overwhelming for so long, that many of them believe that it will take some time to let go.  If one session is not going to cut it for them, then we end up agreeing on three or four sessions, a week apart. The interim time being spent by the client putting into practice the most excellent suggestions they have received.

The techniques are easy and I have shamelessly appropriated them from either the great Bandler himself, Dr Paul McKenna, or the resplendent Robb Whitewood. But techniques, I will always argue, are for all to grab.

In the first part of the program, I teach the client how to stop feeling bad. Recognising that love is no more than a neuro chemical event may seem harsh, but it’s true and an excellent foundation for NLP intervention.

Then, it is essential that the client is actually ready to move on. I often ask about furniture, decor in the house, and mutual belongings. Do any of these things carry significance with regard to the neuro relationship the client is having with someone else? If so, when are they going to get rid of them, change them, redecorate etc? Of course, being able to recognise that habits are like old furniture, i.e. no matter how comfortable and familiar they are, they may not serve the current purpose and they can be replaced is also a useful belief.  The final part of stage 1 is teaching them how to re-frame. I often begin by getting them to re-frame jam and bread, or the rain, or even something like a spider or snake – as long as they are not fearful or phobic. Mind you, if they are, they leave the session with that under control for sure!

So what next? Well, if the client is a one session person, I immediately launch into NRT which inevitably does the trick. Especially if the client is chomping at the bit for change, has an exceptionally well formed condition, and I have the necessary leverage as the authority in this situation. However, if that well-formed condition looks like a gummy bear on acid, now is the time for the rest of the plan to take effect.

Working with sub modalities and swish patterns has to be one of the most gratifying pieces of magic at one’s disposal. I love the look on a client’s face when all the shit seems to disappear into the ravages of past sleepless nights leaving only clean sheets and a well-made bed to get into. So what am I swishing and submodality-ing about? Well, it’s an interesting list, some of which I gleaned from some of Paul McKenna’s work.

  • Remembering the good memories – reverse vision and decrease
  • Remembering times they were treated badly – repeat play until sick of them
  • Move disgusting ex to disgusting thing (the more disgusting the better)
  • You can imagine some others.

Then future pacing happiness and freedom from this lost love angst. My favourite has to be increasing someone’s unattractiveness to the client. Oh to watch the hopeless candle in the window be snuffed out and the LEDs switched on all over the house is a joy indeed.

Of course, if the client is being seen weekly – and by the way, this makes for a great online program – the time in between sessions needs to be used by the client to make changes in their environment. Take the old phone number out of contacts, block the ex from calling and such activities that are precursors to personal freedom.  Where avoidance is not possible, it is essential that you enable the client to disassociate from their ex. Robb Whitewood’s NRT can be used at any juncture and should be considered as both first and final line of defence.

The next session is usually a mixture of the usual with Franklin Psychotherapy combined with reaching an understanding of the following: Heartbreak as Betrayal Fear of the Unknown The Repetition of Negative Thoughts. The more you work with the client to ‘tidy up’ emotional strings left on the floor, the more you will inevitably find under the sofa. This is definitely when the Franklin Techniques of De-Reflection, Attitude Modulation and Paradoxical Intention come out to sweep under the furniture.

Now, at no point, and no matter how much you are tempted, should you tell the client to Build a Bridge or Get Over themselves. I really wouldn’t recommend it. Not unless you have an excellent rapport and you are a provocative therapist. But even then, I suggest there are plenty of better techniques which could be employed as an alternative to such harsh admonishment.

Then the next session is a recap and final tidy session including NRT (remember to test your Dynamic Monkey methodology) before you open the door and watch your client skip away, happy and ready for their next adventure.

Falling out of love is not just about removing old love’s leftovers, but it’s also about arming clients with the right tools for future relationships of all kinds, not just the romantic ones. A sense of self-worth and the ability to move away from pain and walk towards pleasure with the possibility and indeed probability for many to find love and laughter again are some of the new pieces of furniture my clients acquire.  

Me? Well, I wasn’t going to tell, but seeing as you asked…I used to be Scandinavian Minimalism but now I’m all Chesterfields and Libraries.

Of course, you will be using more than just swish patterns and working with submodalities but I’m hoping that reading this will inspire you to think about a similar program for your clients, using all your skills and many more techniques. Remembering that this article is simply outlining the skeleton. It’s up to you and each client as to how to flesh out the bones. Everybody is unique. The upshot of it all is that your client should have built something akin to an Iron Bridge and be well over it by the time your sessions draw to a close.

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