I had an interesting case today. The client was a young woman who was successful at business and had a good marriage. But she was so wound up all the time that she couldn't enjoy them.
She said she used to be carefree and relaxed, but now was stressed about everything. She had high expectations of herself, was driven all the time, was always looking for things that could go wrong.
She said she had been brought up in a family where her step father was a drunk. She felt that had to be a provider from an early age. She felt that it was always up to her to save the day.
When describing how she felt when things were stressful at the business she owned she said 'I feel the walls are falling in'.
I used this as a starter for metaphor therapy. I put her into a light trance and got her to associate into that feeling. She reported that she felt two walls around her: hard and cold, smooth, grey concrete, like a tunnel, ground smooth. I got her to imagine changing the walls little by little and finally, getting the walls to crumble. Now that the walls were gone she could enjoy the ride.
Then I did another metaphor release on her feelings of panic. She said she felt it everywhere. I asked her where she felt it most. 'In my arms'. I worked on that and she reported that she felt it as black rectangles in her arms. They were giving a tingly anxious feeling. The edges were soft, light warm. I asked her to imagine a a potter, and how the potter moulds and stretches the material. That metaphor allowed her to think of change and she was able to get rid of the rectangles.
We ran out of time, but I was left wondering about her high standards and if it was actually perfectionism and black and white thinking.
I usually make the client sit up properly in the chair and do an induction that at some point usually includes a progressive relaxation from head to toes. This client was a young woman, and she clearly felt comfortable curled up in my big leather chair. So I decided to go ahead with her as she was. I did a breathing induction and she went into trance normally.
Maybe in my training I picked up that an induction should be a formal thing, and I need to loosen up a bit?