My low hanging fruit theory of Counselling

The metaphor of low hanging fruit is a powerful one. There they are – hanging pretty well within reach. And low hanging fruit tends to be ripe, even over ripe. So who can resist picking them off – before getting on with the serious job of clearing the whole tree (or orchard, heaven forbid).

Sometimes, therapy can be like that. Normally trauma is involved and on the face of it, it all seems very clear. The memory of the trauma is easily accessed and the access brings out strong emotions. Indeed it often appears that the emotion is barely ever away.

My experience is that as with low handing fruit, it is safe to pluck the fruit off some of the time – to undertake a Rewind de-traumatising there and then – in that first session of therapy.

But not always. There are occasions when it has no effect or even worse that it turns out to have been the wrong thing to do.

A bit like low hanging fruit really. Mostly it is ok to pick it off, but sometimes the fruit is not edible once it’s in your hand and very occasionally when you pull at the fruit – it does not come away cleanly in your hands. And makes a mess.

Three questions before picking that low hanging fruit there and then

When making the decision to immediately deal with what seems obvious trauma, I ask myself these three questions. And only if the answer is yes to all three will I contemplate a first session Rewind.

First, is the event recent – within a couple of years or less? For only then will the second order consequences of living with the trauma not itself have become a factor to be considered also.

Second, you need to know how life was before the trauma memory. And you would only consider rewind there and then if there were no obvious problems and your client was living a life where most or all needs were being well met.

And thirdly, the trauma memory must be clear and easily imagined with an obvious beginning, middle and end. If it appears any more complicated than that – not imagined easily or messy and variable for the client, then be patient. Wait until you have found out more.

Set tasks by all means and undertake some light hypnotic work – around a reframe perhaps or to relax and calm. And see what has changed for that second session.