January 16, 2007

Hot Tub Facilitation: Tips for Facilitators and Coaches

Last summer, I asked someone new to The Work to facilitate me in a hotel hot tub.

She and I were alone in the Jacuzzi and while we were soaking, she introduced herself. Seeing an opening, the woman began pouring out her heart to me. She was in town to help her college-age daughter, a violent young woman who had recently dropped out of school, started hanging out with criminals and was now addicted to chrystal meth. The daughter was living with the woman's elderly parents, stealing belongings and money from them and possibly from other peoples' homes. The young woman had already threatened to kill her mother and had broken into her computer and stolen her credit card passwords; that's why her mother had moved into the hotel.

My new friend was deathly afraid her child would do something permanently self-destructive, go to prison or get herself killed. She was also a cancer patient and certain that the situation with her daughter was making her sicker.

I told her I had something that had helped me and that might help her to stay sane while dealing with her daughter. She was anxious to hear about it. As I described The Work, she nodded a lot and said she was already enlightened to what I was saying. I said that was wonderful...and since I happened to have Byron Katie's "little book" with me, would she ask me the four questions on a one-liner of mine? She was delighted to be of service. I was delighted too; I got to work on a "sticky one."

The woman was impressed by the process of The Work...so we worked a bit on how she wanted her daughter to change. She shed some tears over her turnarounds: "I want me to change." (Especially with regards to my daughter; not to be an enabler, not to be afraid.) "I want my thinking to change" — the thinking that made her ill and unable to properly help her daughter or herself. My friend took the booklet back to her room and expressed interest in Byron Katie's "Addictions" CD, which I promised to send her. Later that day she called me; she had read the little book and felt that God had sent her an angel.

I figured if having someone in a hot tub facilitate me so effectively moved The Work, taking on the client's role would be a wonderful way to involve newcomers at workshops also...as well as on the DoTheWork NetWork hotline. At an introductory program I gave at a bookstore the following September, instead of first asking for a volunteer to do The Work, I requested that someone facilitate me. It was a wonderful way both to level the field and to model the process of "client." People eagerly volunteered to be facilitated after that. This has worked so well that I have been the "client" at the start of every workshop ever since.

Coincidentally, not long afterwards, Hotline volunteers were asked to invite "newbies" to facilitate us. I had that opportunity recently with someone who is very new to The Work and who has a very quick mind. (My sister!) She didn't have a one-liner handy because her mind was filled with issues about so many things: her family, the cult she had just left, her finances. She began to tell her stories and when I requested we do The Work on one of them, she only wanted to work on herself because "I know it's all about me."

I asked the client if she would ask me the four questions first; she agreed. I worked on the one-liner “She is shallow." In this way, she saw the value of "judging your neighbor."

After some probing, we found a one-liner for the client to work on: “My sister tries to take over my life,” which we navigated rockily! She still wanted to tell her stories and to defend and "yeahbut." However, at the end of the session she said she could see that the work was valuable and that it would serve her.

The client sent me an email later that day to let me know she appreciated the opportunity both to facilitate The Work and to answer the questions. She was off to buy a copy of Loving What Is and to delve more deeply into the process.

When a new client has the opportunity to be the facilitator right away, there are multiple benefits. The client gets to observe the power of The Work when there is willingness to go deeply and find the truth. As questioners and listeners, clients quickly discover The Work's simplicity: four simple questions and a turnaround. At the same time, the facilitator is seen as someone like them, not as some "grand inquisitor" who knows something the client doesn't know. This levels the field.

How does this benefit you, the facilitator? You get a more receptive client...and a golden opportunity to do The Work yourself!

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick. All rights reserved.


RM said...

I love your blog, Carol. This particular idea is wonderful. Thanks!!

Fabrice said...

Dear Carol,

These are wonderful tips! I don't know how practical it would be to introduce The Work in a hot tub :-) but I like the idea of starting as the client myself.

I have seen some puzzled looks on people's faces when I have introduced the work, even after showing a video of Katie's, but if I let them do the facilitation up front, I can imagine that they would see more readily the simplicity of The Work.

You are a source of good ideas, as always.