photo by Karen Eliot
I love working with clients. I have learned so much from them. When working with them my favorite thing for them to say is, “I know this has nothing to do with it, but…”
Before we get to that, let’s take a step back.
One of the problems we face when working with an issue is we can get caught in our own story. It is very natural for us to want to know why we are the way we are. This can make it easier to manage what is going on. If we see a cause and effect, then it can give us an entry point to understanding how we can heal.
For example, I was working with a client who had a fear of snakes. When he was 9 years old his older brother threw a snake into his sleeping bag while he was trying to get to sleep. In this case it seemed very reasonable to start our Emotional Freedom Technique/tapping with that memory.
There are other times when the reason we feel the way we feel might not have anything to do with the issue we are working on. We might have an issue speaking in front of a group of people and we are convinced that the reason we have this issue is because when we were 8 years old everyone laughed at us during show-and-tell, therefore speaking in public is no longer safe.
It is perfectly possible that this memory is the root (or one of the roots) to the reason why public speaking is so hard. If we put ourselves in a position to believe that it is the reason for the issue, then we are going to spend a great deal of time on this one memory and not make any progress with our issue because it has little or nothing to do with the issue at hand.
This brings us to my favorite phrase that my clients say. We will be working along at an issue. We will take a moment for them to take a deep breath and consider the progress so far. Out of nowhere my client will say, “I know this has nothing to do with it but . . . ” and they will share a story, memory, or feeling about someone else that up to this point may seem completely unrelated to what we are working on.
The reason I love this SO much is because there is a reason that this came up now. When we are focused, our mind doesn’t have a tendency to wander unless there is good reason. If my client says it has nothing to do with what is going on, more than likely it has everything to do with what is going on.
This does not mean that we need to abandon the path we had been following up to this point with the issue, and it does not mean that this new piece of information is the only piece of information that is important. It is just something that we need to pay attention to.
If you yourself or one of your clients are tapping on an issue and something comes up that seems to have nothing to do with the issue at hand, don’t dismiss it. Instead, take some time to thoughtfully consider why that sort of issue would come up. Just because it has come to mind doesn’t mean that it does in fact have something to do with the core issue that you are after, but there is a reason that it has come forward. If you don’t know why it has come to mind just ask, “Boy, that is an odd thought. Why did that come to mind right now? What does this have to do with the issue at hand?” You might be surprised at the healing you and/or your client will be able to find your way to.