Three Simple Methods for Joining Depressed Clients While Still Inviting Possibility
By Bill O'Hanlon - Repeating patterns can "groove" the brain; that is, your brain gets better and faster at doing whatever you do over and over again. This includes "doing" depression, feeling depressed feelings, and talking about depression. To counter this effect, I like to use a method I call "marbling," going back and forth between investigations of depressed and non-depressed experiences and times.
Step 1: Don't Call It "Homework"
By Bill O'Hanlon - The best way to ensure clients' cooperation is to make the assignments relevant for them. Task assignments are designed to bring about changes in the presenting problem. We try to make sure they are relevant to clients by having a mutually agreed upon definition of the problem being addressed and then collaboratively designing tasks that relate to it. In fact, when the tasks derive from a collaborative relationship, they often don't feel like tasks at all.
Why Giving Up the Need to See Clients Change Can Actually Produce Results
By Bill O'Hanlon - People run into problems when their lives are dictated by rigid beliefs that make the stories they're living out too restrictive. Permission counters these commands and prohibitions. At the most basic level, we must discover how to perform the balancing act of simultaneously giving up the need to see clients change while holding open the possibility of change.
Bill O'Hanlon on the "Marbling" Technique for Working with Depressed Clients
Depressed clients repeat the same thoughts, activities, feelings, and experiences again and again, as if entranced. Good depression treatment is largely about awakening them from this bad trance.
Bill O'Hanlon on the Power of Giving Permission in Therapy
As therapists, we must recognize the complexity and ambivalence at the core of human experience. People run into problems when their lives are dictated by rigid beliefs that make the stories they're living out too restrictive, for example: "I must always be perfect," or "I should always smile and be happy." But permission counters these commands and prohibitions. The therapist who offers permission goes beyond accepting clients as they are and moves into encouraging them to expand their life stories and their sense of themselves.
Using Bill O'Hanlon's Marbling Technique with Clients
In recent years, we’ve learned that repeating patterns of experience, attention, conversation, and behavior can “groove” the brain; that is, your brain gets better and faster at doing whatever you do over and over again. This includes “doing” depression, feeling depressed feelings, talking about depression, and so forth. Thus, we can unintentionally help our clients get better at doing depression by focusing exclusively on it. To counter this effect, I like to use a method that I call “marbling.”
Rarely is someone always depressed, or always empty, or always without energy, or always suicidal. If you (or the person you’re helping) explores exceptions to the usual problem, feeling, or thought, you can usually find moments when it’s not occurring. A lot can be learned from these exceptions that may be helpful in finding relief from the depression.