When it comes to understanding your clients’ inner world, words can only go so far. Clients can tell you what they’re conscious of (“My panic attacks come from nowhere!”), but they can’t tell you what they aren’t conscious of (“My panic attacks come from a preconscious desire to avoid embarrassment.”) The unconscious, where the origins of panic and anxiety reside, isn’t easily accessed through traditional talk therapy.
That’s why Steve Andreas, NLP therapist and author of Virginia Satir: The Patterns of Her Magic, argues that the key to quickly helping clients eliminate their anxiety is asking the right questions, ones that prompt them to pay attention to their nonverbal thoughts and sensations. As he says in this brief video clip, “The crucial thing is to go inside the black box and find out what’s really going on inside somebody’s head, and words don’t usually do that. What’s really important is what kind of images clients make, what kind of talking to themselves they do, what kind of feelings they have.”