Since I developed The Silent Session framework, I have offered it to thousands of individuals when they are hesitant to share their issue or have been referred reluctantly. As I have said elsewhere, often it is an engagement tool – clients immediately know that I am not setting out to analyze them or “try to get inside their heads”. Recently, I offered the framework to Sara, a client who was reluctant to speak and said that perhaps she needs to “sort her head out first” in order that she could figure out what she wanted from the session.
EM: How about, not to waste the journey, we run it as a Silent Session which might help you to figure out what you do want from the session. It might be useful?
SN: So, I don’t talk at all?
EM: Only if you want to at any point.
SN: Ok, thanks, run it past me?
EM: Explains the framework and the Silent Session begins
SN: Sara responds to questions with a raised thumb when she was ready for the next question. She was silent throughout.
20 minutes later –
EM Closing the session: So Sara, going forward now – have you established what you would like to address in our work together?
SN: Can I have a pen and pad just so I can jot some stuff down.
EM: Yes, of course
SN: I really liked that, it was useful. Some of the questions took me longer than others to answer
EM: I know, I saw your thumbs up quicker sometimes than others. I’m glad you found it useful Sara. Would you like to come back next time and implement an open session?
SN: Yes, I think so – this was useful and I loved it really, thank you. I’d like to write up what I think are the right issues to start on.
This was a useful tool for Sara to establish for herself what she wanted to work on and certainly helpful in that it was the tool that allowed her to establish where her “start place” would be. Often people new to therapy or coaching consider that it is necessary to blurt out everything that the Therapist or Coach will then be able to dissect when in fact people are much more than the problem they are currently dealing with so it can be useful to allow them to find the agenda that they truly want to work on.