Grip video # 3: As a way to interrupt autopilot

This 3-minute video clip is part 3 of the video about working with an embodied mindful pause in therapy. See transcript below the video.


Another way to use Active Pause is to create a break, when you feel for instance that the client is a little bit distracted, is not fully present, is in yackety-yackety-yack mode… For whatever reason you feel it might be good to take a moment, go inside, take a breath, and connect with the inner world.

To do this, you say to the client: “Would you want to try something right now?” Or: “Is it OK to try something?… Let’s take this little pause”. And you explain how to do it. Or, you’ve done it before, and the client is familiar with it. “It only lasts a minute, and we’ll get back to the session, fresh”.

What you will notice when you do that is, more often than not, something happens. You’re going to have a shift in the client. It could be that the client comes back to the session feeling more relaxed, and looks at the situation in a different way. It could be literally that a different topic is brought up. It could be that the same topic, the same issue, is brought up in a different way. It could be that there is the quality of an aha moment: “You know I haven’t quite thought about this that way, but here’s what it brings up for me”.

This is really a chance to introduce that little buffer zone where there is the possibility of reflecting upon experience.

Now, what’s interesting is: It works with a client, but you will notice as you do this that it also works for the therapist. It gives you a chance to actually take a breather and to notice how in the space of a few seconds (it doesn’t necessarily take more): Just having that space, you can see things a little bit differently. You might feel a little tense, and you realize that, by having that space, something comes up that you wouldn’t have had as much of a chance to notice if you felt like you had to avoid breaking contact with the client. You know, we sometimes get caught in something that keeps going. Just having that little space, that little breather, is useful for both the client and the therapist.

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