Not everything needs to be expressed in words

I work with adults and children alike, with various challenges or obstacles that they would like to overcome that show up in the most surprising ways.


I frequently find myself recommending Integral Eye Movement Therapy to clients who struggle to find the words to express the turmoil of thoughts and feelings that they have or the mere thought of talking about it triggers overwhelming emotional responses that render the client not open to coaching, they know they are stuck in a rut but don't know how to escape the cyclical nature of negative and destructive looping thoughts.

IEMT negates the need for any context to be provided about the problem or issue. As a therapist, you can successfully resolve someone's anxiety without knowing anything about the context of memories, experiences or emotions.

When working with children, sometimes they are too young or just unable to express their issues in words. They know that something is amiss, they know that they need help and perhaps other therapies or counselling haven't worked because they have been unable to express or answer questions in the form of words.

This is where I am so grateful that I studied neurolinguistics (NLP) and was fortunate enough to be trained by one of the best (Phil Parker).

NLP steps away from the usual and focuses on the map of reality that your client has. NLP looks at submodalities, the fine detail of communication, after all as little as 7% of communication is verbal as well as the senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, balance, movement and internal representation.

For instance, a 12-year-old client had an irrational fear of mirrors and being left alone in a room on her own, but not all the time or in all rooms. There seemed to be no logical explanation other than 'depends on how she is feeling.'

After a few sessions, it became apparent to me, what the client was struggling with.

As her Mum looked quizzically at me, I requested that the client draw my energy, I gave them a gingerbread person template as a guide. I then asked the client to draw Mum's energy. Two totally different pictures.

This client saw people mainly as energy.

Mirrors distorted this, physics states that mirrors flip the image which left the client feeling confused and scared when they looked in a mirror - what they saw wasn't them, it was distorted and that scared them.

In a room, they could sense energy and see it as a sort of physical form, some more tangible than others, which is what created the anxiety - the unknown, confusing and inexplicable within the confines of their understanding. One specific energy, we identified as their late Grandmother with whom they now have a connection, instead of a fear.

In another example, I frequently use colourful soft pom poms as an aide to help clients shift their perspective and change their understanding.

In a process I call the family landscape, a client may map their family members using pom poms (or crystal stones coins etc) selecting the pom pom that most depicts the family member. Size, colour and location give me an insight as to how the client perceives their relationship with them and what, if anything, needs changing. This is also very effective in friendships at school or work. I remember a man depicting himself, on his own, against the world, with all of his loved ones behind him and wondering why he felt burdened and like the weight of the world was on his shoulders.

My most recent fascinating experience was coaching a nine-year-old who's Mum reported that she was struggling to learn at school. Questions were being raised about a possible diagnosis.

Using pom poms, I discovered that the client had limited sequencing capacity (the number of instructions that can be given at any one time. The average is between five and seven.)

Asking questions about how she recalls information divulged that she remembers the words to songs by seeing a computer screen with the words appearing, a bit like an auto-cue. This made the classroom a complete nightmare as she could process the teacher's words, which were computed on the computer screen in her mind, but the visual information she was being asked to look at on the whiteboard at the same time was mostly inaccessible as her brain tried and frequently failed to be able to process two concurrently running visual information input streams.

Not everything needs to be expressed in words, and in fact, relying on words actually limits your ability to understand another person's experience of the world. We also make assumptions that other people process the 24 billion bits of information our brains process every day in the same or similar what that we ourselves do - that's rarely the case.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 3BN
Written by Nikki Emerton
Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 3BN

I’m Nikki, a recovered perfectionist, still a bit of an over-achiever and slightly introverted lover of running, the outdoors, wild swimming & good food - not all at the same time of course!
Using a range of modalities, including coaching, NLP, IEMT & Somatic work. I help people achieve positive changes so that they can live life to the fullest.

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