Lessons Well Learned

Lessons Well Learned

How to Help Your Clients Hold onto Their Gains

By Danie Beaulieu

January/February 2004

Q: Too often between sessions, my clients seem to forget the epiphanies they've had in my office. Then it seems we're starting over at square one. How can I help them hold onto and follow through on the insights and skills they've learned in therapy?

A: Back in the routine of their daily lives, it's all too easy for our clients to return to old patterns without stopping to examine their actions and reactions in light of what they've recently learned. Even when they try to reflect on the problems that brought them to our office, they're much more likely to follow the beaten track of their thoughts than to explore the new trail that we blazed together in the latest session. Clients who do try to remember what their therapist said may easily be betrayed when their memory plays tricks on them: they may inaccurately or incompletely recall their therapist's words--and their meaning.

Difficulty in retaining new insights and skills from session to session and putting them to use is frustrating for therapists and clients alike. Rather than building on last week's insights, we're too often obliged to take one step back to review, remind, and reinforce. Fortunately, some creative memory techniques can reduce the need to repeat ourselves with our clients. Once you get used to them, you'll be amazed at how simply and effectively you can apply them.

Stimulate the Senses

The first principle of learning and memory is: multisensory

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