Paul Aikin is in no hurry at all. He’s going to sit with you, hear those feelings, unpack a little more, and bring you back in when you exit. If you don’t share both feelings in the enactment, he’ll wait until you’re done. Then he’ll slowly bring up that other feeling you mentioned and have you bring it over. Paul is like a wide, wide river. You’ll all get to the landing place, but in the meantime, do you feel the breeze on your skin? Look, the sun is so warm today. That feels so good, doesn’t it?
In Session’s second episode featured a Stage 2 session with Paul, an EFT Trainer based in the Sacramento/Davis area of Northern California. If I thought I knew how slow EFT could be paced, I was wrong. Paul was so RISSC he might actually be related to Mister Rogers. He made the room so safe and warm with his voice. He clearly showed how to do Steps 5, 6, and 7 of Withdrawer Re-engagement and made it look so effortless, because really he was guiding them as much or more so with the tone and pacing of his voice than he was with his words.
It was wonderful to see a male EFT therapist work with a couple. Paul described his identification with the male withdrawer’s difficulty with his own vulnerability. He had such a felt empathy for when the male was talking about how he saw his vulnerability as a weakness. If you remember, in In Session a trainer and Rebecca Jorgensen watch a session with you and then they pause and talk about what they were thinking. Paul talked about how much he was relating to the withdrawer’s rejection of his vulnerability and what other interventions he also could have used in those moments.
There are two things I really want to highlight from Paul’s session that were helpful for me and I was able to use in my sessions this week.
First, he took his time with an enactment in a way I haven’t seen before. Usually when I set up an enactment, and hopefully distill and deepen enough so we’re sending a clear emotional message over to the other partner, I get a little “managey” with the enactment. I am a Pursuer, after all :). So if someone has deepened to loneliness and sadness, and just shared about the loneliness, I might jump in kind of quickly and say, “And the sadness? That you’re also so sad?”
Paul really let his client take his time sharing just the loneliness. And reflected back a little at the end of just the loneliness sharing. And then in such a slow and lovely way continued with him by asking, “Can you also go a little more into the sadness?” and continued the enactment of the client sharing his sadness with his partner. He made it seem like they had all the time in the world, and the client hadn’t done anything wrong by just sharing the loneliness at the beginning.
The second big take away for me was how much Paul understood that to this client, vulnerability felt like something weak and bad, and how much Paul validated the strength and courage it takes to go into that vulnerability. He sprinkled in validation about his client's courage all throughout the session. I tried to keep that really present in my mind this week and I feel like it created a shift in my sessions when I remembered that my clients were feeling ashamed of their vulnerability and validated how much courage it took to do what they were doing. I could feel that it held them in more secure way to validate this strength, like I had strapped them snugly into a harness and while they were leaping off little cliffs over to their partner I could say, “You’re being so brave, the harness has got you! You are so strong, you are doing it!”
I may never be able to do RISSC like Paul, but having his gentle voice in my head really helped me validate and trust the process more than I had been able to before. Thank you Paul and Becca!
In Session is seven sessions with seven different EFT trainers showing their work and explaining their thought process. Learn more here.
*disclaimer: I was given this course for free in exchange for my honest opinion about it.