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What this does is help clients begin to change their own frame of reference about their symptoms, and shift the perspective from which they observe what they're feeling. This shift from "symptoms=bad" to "symptoms=interesting" can utterly transform the way they view themselves and the world. By accepting what the present moment offers, by not resisting, they widen their present possibilities. 


Welcoming Symptoms 

Renee looked visibly frightened as she sat down for our first session together.

"Hi, are you nervous?" I asked brightly, realizing perfectly well that she was scared to death.

"I'm extremely nervous," she responded in a quavering voice. I asked her how nervous, on a scale of 0 to 10, and she rated her nervousness as about 8.5.

"Impressive!" I said jovially, "I like people to come in with high anxiety, because it means we have something to work with."

She continued, "I'm really afraid that my symptoms will get so bad--my heart will start pounding so hard and I'll be shaking so much--I won't be able to control them and they'll just overwhelm me."

"Well, you're not in control of them now, are you?" I asked.

"Not really," she responded, "but just talking to you, I'm not thinking about my heart pounding so much."

I leaned back, smiled broadly and said, "Ah. Then, maybe we should get your attention back on your heart again." We both laughed--I heartily, she uneasily, giving me an odd look, as if she were beginning to wonder what she was doing in my office.

A minute or two later, I asked her when the last time was that she'd felt she couldn't even move because her anxiety was so great. "A few years ago," she responded.

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