I was having a discussion with some hypnotherapists the other day when the subject of “joining the client in their world” came up. The idea is that, in order to get rapport and understand a client better, we’ve got to go to their model of the world.
That’s true–to an extent. There’s a balance. There are limits to how much we want to enter a client’s world. If it were possible to completely enter the client’s world and have absolute rapport with them, you would essentially become the client. You would have the client’s limitations too. Where they were stuck, you would be stuck.

Stay Resourceful

So, we need to maintain a resourceful state and have a (hopefully) broader perspective than the client.

If a client is depressed (for example), we don’t want to become depressed. Depression limits a person’s outlook on what is probable, what life will be like in the future etc. Clients come to us to help get out of that trap.

I think it’s our job to sometimes offer clients different perspectives. They often come to us because they’re stuck in some way. We help them get unstuck. One of the ways to do that is to not accept certain of the labels they put on things.

Problems As Abilities

I’m thinking of a client who would imagine bad things happening at his workplace and start to feel anxiety about work. He viewed the entire process as “negative.” I saw it as an ability. He was able to imagine things and they would have a powerful effect on him emotionally. I offered him that perspective. “What’s going to happen when you take that ability and turn it toward reaching your goals–imagining them and feeling powerful emotions that have good feelings attached to them?”

Smoke practically came out of his ears. He began to view himself as not broken, but as someone who had powerful processes inside that worked and simply needed to be adjusted in order for him to have the life he wanted.

The Balance

Again, it’s a balance. We’ve got to join the client’s world enough to get rapport and understand their processes. We’ve got to keep a part of ourselves separate, objective and resourceful. So how, specifically, do you do that?

That’s the subject for another post…

About the author:
Keith Livingston

Keith Livingston is the main instructor for Hypnosis 101. Keith has been studying hypnosis since he was a boy and doing hypnosis & NLP training since 1997. Read More....

Keith Livingston is the main instructor for Hypnosis 101. Keith has been studying hypnosis since he was a boy and doing hypnosis & NLP training since 1997. Read More....

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  1. Hi Keith:

    That’s so interesting that you site this case because I recently had a client with extremely acute anxiety which was crippling her life and yet she managed to ‘cope’ and hold down a responsible job etc. What you stated here is exactly what I pointed out to her in our 1st meeting – that she was extremely resourceful and powerful to be able to go through her day and not allow her anxiety to stop her.

    Thanks so much for these newsletters!

    Sandy DeBoice

  2. Hello Keith,

    I pondered your concept and decided to share mine, although perhaps it may be slightly different than yours.

    I consider having rapport more akin to having a harmonious relationship. One does not necessarily have to give up his or her identity to share personal concerns, ideas or communicate feelings. Establishing rapport is primarily about developing a personal understanding, forging a relationship and bonding.

    In addition, I would like to say that I also appreciate how you have willingly shared much with the community and hope one day to see you at convention.

    All the best,

    Dr. Aleksonder Regal

  3. I was taught to ‘respect’ the other person’s view/model of the world, build raport but never to enter their world – to do so would be to allow them to hypnotise you.

  4. Keith, I agree wholeheartedly, we can empathaise therby entering the clients world and build rapport but to go further is effectively allowing them to hypnotise us to the extent we are in the same boat as them. I think Steven Heller Phd said it better, “If the therapist accepts those statements (the clients) as being true in fact, then I believe that the therapist has experienced hypnotised by the client.

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