Presence – The Demo

Posted by: Dawn Schell on June 10, 2011 2:25 pm

In my last blog post I said I would demonstrate, in a mock client “session”, how to use the techniques – emotional bracketing, descriptive immediacy and descriptive imagery.  

Here it is…


Dawn – Hello Client [smiling warmly].  It’s a lovely spring day outside.  My two office chairs are set up and waiting for us.  Please do make yourself comfortable as you read through this message.

Client – After I told you what I did last week I got scared.  It was a really difficult week for me.

Dawn – [nodding my head in understanding] What you told me last week was big.  

You had held this inside for a long time

 [feeling honoured that you shared this with me] 

Sometimes when we open up and share so much with another person we can feel….hmmm….[searching for the right words]…..

 exposed, vulnerable, fragile,maybe even unsafe?

 Would any of those words fit for you?

 Client – When I told you about what happened – what I meant was that I still feel responsible for what happened, even though I know I wasn’t.   I struggle with the idea of forgiveness.    

 Dawn – Thank you for clarifying that for me.  From all that you have said I can see how you would feel responsible though you “know” you weren’t. It is possible that one day you will be able to forgive yourself for the choices you made at that time in your life [holding on to that thought for you].

 Client – I guess I’m feeling stuck right now.  There so much that needs to be dealt with.

Dawn – We all get stuck [would that be an accurate description of the feeling?] and overwhelmed at times.  And sometimes it’s because we can only see one way of doing what we want to do and we don’t like that option anymore.

 Client – I want to make changes in my life.  I REALLY do..but I don’t feel confident that I can.  Help.

Dawn – That you are willing to make changes is an excellent first step [feeling hopeful that we can work through this together and that you can do this].

One way forward is to try out a new way of thinking, interacting, behaving and see how that works for you.

They say [ever wonder who “they” are?]  it takes time and practice to establish a new habit.  Research shows it can take as much as 40 days to make a long-lasting change.  I say that so that you have a sense of how long it can take…and so you won’t be discouraged if things don’t go well the first time you try something new.

I guess what I am really saying is – [speaking sincerely] be gentle, patient and kind to yourself. 


[knowing it was short yet hoping it was useful] More on “presence” in the next post.

The opinions in the blog post are personal.

Dawn Schell, MA, CCC is an affiliate with Therapy Online

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

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