In traditional therapy, you would see a counselor or a psychotherapist or a cognitive behavioral therapist, and you'll see him for an undetermined amount of time. Never does someone go into a therapy session and say, ''Hey, Mr. Counselor, Mr. Therapist, Mr. Psychiatrist, Mr. Psychologist, how long will it take me to overcome my phobia or overcome my addiction to cigarettes or overcome my pain or let go of my depression or anxiety?'' Because the therapists, the psychiatrist would have to say, ''Well, we don't know. It's a process.''
And essentially, you'd probably been there indefinitely because it is the model. So, it's not in their best interest for you to fix yourself rapidly because then they need to find more and more clients. And I'm not suggesting even for a moment that there are bad psychologists, counselors, or psychotherapists. I think most people will get into the field of helping people because their heart's in the right place.
However, there's a presupposition that you need multiple sessions to fix stuff, and it probably will never be fixed. In fact, if psychotherapy worked, then Woody Allen wouldn't be seeing a psychotherapist three times a week for 40 years. Howard Stern wouldn't be seeing a psychologist, a psychiatrist three times a week for the last 20 years if it worked.
If anything, it read, in my personal humble opinion, for the most part of working with clients that have gone through the traditional therapy route, if you will, if anything, it has made them retraumatized. It's made them relive those horrible experiences.
Those stressful, traumatic experiences over and over and over again. So, when they come to see me, oftentimes after they have therapy, a lot of my clients who have had therapy when we first do the screening process, they're happy to tell me, ''I know all about my problem. Luke, I am very insightful. I've had years of psychotherapy.''
And in my head, a red alarm bell goes off. And there's a sigh inside my head that goes, ''Oh God, it's not gonna be as easy as I thought it was going to be now.'' Because I've got on that program, all the programs and all the limitations, and the negative beliefs that the former therapist has done.
That's why I don't like to think of myself as a therapist. If anything, I'd like to think of myself as an educator because I don't believe that anybody needs me. And I never ever, ever want to set up codependent relationships. Like a counseling relationship. Like a psychotherapy. Like a paid friend. I'm not interested in being anyone's paid friend or someone paying me so they can hemorrhage all over me.
I get paid a great deal, but there's no amount of money that would make me want to do that. I'm in the business of helping people who want to be helped transform situations in their life, so they can ascend to the next level in their life and express more of themselves and be more of themselves. That's the business that I'm in. I'm in the business of helping people to do that for themselves.
So, what I mean by an educator is, I want to educate my clients. If anything, on how their mind, how their brain runs. And essentially give them the manual. Whether that'd be in written text, experiential learning with working with me. And also in a video format perhaps even on these podcasts, so they now know how to run their own brain. So, technically, they never need me again.
Should they want to check in in the future with me, that's okay, but they don't need me because they have all the tools they need to fix all of their issues in their life. That's the relationship that I want to build up. I'm in the empowerment business, not in the business of retraumatizing people and taking their money. Which I have a personal gripe about and find it to be tremendously unethical.
So, that's the traditional process of therapy. And like I said, I don't like to think of myself as a therapist. I am an educator. It would be indefinite. It would be indefinite. The psychiatrist, counselor, psychologist could not tell you how long this is going to take because they have no idea. Now, the way in which I have been doing much of my change work with clients has been on a session by session format.
Now, when I say session by session, I'm not talking about something indefinite. Three times a week for the rest of their life or three times a week for the next four years. I am not talking about dozens and dozens of sessions. So, I'm not even talking about 10 sessions, or even really 5. Essentially, most people that come to see me, barring, if they have over 25 pounds of weight to lose or it's a specific coaching program, either an athlete of some kind, with the exception of those, I never see a client for more than three sessions. And that's really, really pushing it. And I have a great deal of success with that format. And I still use that format with the appropriate client.
And what I mean by the appropriate client or should I say the appropriate problem is essentially, that format works in my experience, in my field research. If a client comes in with a very specific problem, we call that position A, and they want to leave in position B, which is a very specific solution. An example of this would be the client comes in as a smoker. They want to leave a nonsmoker. It's very clean and clear-cut.
The person who has chronic old back pain for 30 years that's a 7 out of 10 on the pain scale. That's position A. They want to leave in position B, which is to be pain-free in the back. It's very, very clear. The person who has regular panic attacks each and every day, they come in position A. I have these horrible panic attacks. And they want to leave position B, I no longer have panic attacks. So, that format of a few sessions works very, very well for that. And I still utilize that format because it's very, very successful.
And then, I started to notice a little bit of a trend where a client would come to me and they're like, ''Luke," example, "I want to quit smoking. But I'm also 50 pounds overweight. And my husband's just left me. And I have panic attacks every day. And I've got this real pain in the back at the moment. And I want all kinds of anti or should I say anti-depression medication.'' So, they come in and there's a whole lot of shit happening.
And really, you can't just go in and change one thing. There's so much that's going on that we need to select the garden of their mind if you will, is overflown. And we could pick out one weed, but there's all those other weeds in the yard, in the garden, that are going to eat up all the beautiful flowers. So, we have a huge landscaping deal to do at that point. Hence, was born the Breakthrough Session.
What the Breakthrough Session is and why it's tremendously powerful, is it's for clients that have multiple issues, but don't have a lot of time and they're getting to a point in their life where they are just done with the theory. They are done living there. They are done talking about it. They want the situation, they want their situation in life to transform, to have a revolution in their own life. That's the Breakthrough Session.
Now, the nuts and bolts of it are basically, it's very, very fucking intense. It's essentially, the client would on one sheet of paper, write everything that's not working. That could be everything that's not working. As in the negative emotions they're experiencing. The limited decisions they have about themselves or other people or the rest of the world. And chronological order of traumas. Negative things. Traumatic experiences in their life that have affected them up to that point. Essentially, everything that they don't know, they don't want to suffer from would be written on one sheet of paper.
Then, you would write out a second sheet of paper. Now, on that second sheet of paper is everything you do want. For example, the smoker wants to be smoke-free. The person who's experiencing the symptoms of depression wants to have higher abundance of gratefulness and happiness in their life. The person who's experiencing chronic back pain wants their back to be neutral. So, you write everything you want. Now, everything you want is not the same as everything that you don't want.
An example of this is, someone who tries to put inevitably on the second positive sheet, I don't want to be depressed anymore. Or I don't want to have panic attacks anymore. Or I don't want to do X, Y, and Z drug. And given that your unconscious mind doesn't really process negatives, it's going to attract more of that. So, in that second sheet, you write it in a positive of the things that you do want in place of the negativity.
Now, we take about the first three hours. Breakthrough Session is approximately four hours. We take the first three hours, do all the intervention. Do all the fact-finding. To start to eliminate, like a hot knife through butter. Like a [inaudible 00:11:28] all those negative emotions. All those limiting decisions that have held you back. They have shackled you. They have kept you in chains up to this point, by chopping them down one by one by one.
And then, when we get into essentially hour number three, the last quarter of our words, given a Breakthrough Session, we install everything on that second piece of paper. Remember, that's a piece of paper of everything you want into your future. Readjusting the inner compass or your mental GPS to make it a certainty. To make it inevitable that that's where you're going to be going. That you're going to be going down the right path and attracting those opportunities and taking appropriate action.
Now, a Breakthrough Session is pretty fucking intense because you're not allowed to leave my office unless you need to go to the bathroom. But once we start, you're in there for four hours. And I'm not beating you up or you're not beating you up, but we are beating the hell out of your problems. And we are beating the hell out of your limitations. And essentially, like a great lawyer, like a Johnnie Cochran, we're putting those limited decisions you have about yourself on the stand and cross-examining them. So you realize that they're just phony. They hold no weight. And it just disappears. It's almost like waking up from a dream. It's magnificent.
When clients get through the Breakthrough Session, to quote a lady that I had recently, she said, ''Luke, that was like going to the theme park Canada Wonderland. It was like I was on a rollercoaster. There was ups and downs. I was sad. I was anxious. I was angry and frustrated. Then I was elated. I was happy. I was excited. It was almost like I went on the Ferris wheel there. There was ups and downs. It was amazing. But when I left, I felt that I had this experience, this transformation experience. Instead of watching a movie like I was in that movie like I was in that theme part. And I felt all those kind of emotions, negative ones, but also the good ones. Like Utopia. Like happiness. Like freedom. Like certainty. Like creativity. Like I know what I need to do to get on with my life. It was such an experience.''
And it's been known that many people will break down and cry at the end of these sessions. Not tears of sadness, but tear of joy that it's just transformed and they can feel it in an experiential way. Not in a theoretical way, but in their bones. And the reason why I believe the transformation in a Breakthrough Session is so, so, so very powerful compared to everything else is, let's go back to the model of psychotherapy.
You're essentially going in between each session and you've got a glass. And in between each sessions, that glass is getting filled up usually with toxic activities, negativity. So, every time you come to have your psychotherapy counseling psychiatry session, that glass is probably filled. And, you might get to empty a little bit, if it was a great session. Can you sense the sarcasm there? That glass or bucket may be completely emptied and you may feel great because you've got it off your chest.
However, you got no veritable strategies or interventions to change it. So, next time you come in for the session, guess what? That glass is filled again with more toxicity and more negativity. And you keep doing this dance over and over and over again because you are in a vicious cycle. And the first rule of insanity or stupid is stopped doing the same thing over and over again. Because if you keep doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result, you're an idiot. And that's the model of psychotherapy. That's why it has a huge failure rate.
And what I mean by failure rate is people will do tons and tons, hundreds of hours, thousands of hours, tens of thousands of hours. Oh god damn. Can you imagine it? Of being retraumatized by something over and over again so that glass gets bigger, if anything, and there's more liquid and toxicity to put in it.
Now where the old structure of hypnosis, though again, I still use for singular problems of people, because it's still incredibly effective is a client would come in and we will do the work together. And essentially, let's say the client took five steps forward in the direction they want to go. Now because of my schedule, because of their schedule, I'm very busy nowadays running free clinics, I might not get to see that client in person again for another two, three or four weeks. So, but next time they come in, they probably went five steps forward, but they may have gone one step back.
So, they're still four steps ahead just after one session. They're still ahead of anything else that we're doing, but there was a little bit of momentum that got stagnant for a moment. But that's good because we have another session. They come in, we do some work. And again, they're about five more steps forward. So, now they're nine steps forward. Again, it may be a few weeks until I can see them to my schedule permits or theirs does. So, they might backtrack by one step. They're still eight steps forward. They're still doing tremendously well, but a tiny little bit of momentum has been stagnated.
And it's almost like pushing up that snowball up the hill. It gets stagnated just by a tiny amount. It's still more effective than anything else. And then when they come into the third session, we do a little bit more heavy lifting, a little bit more pushing until we get the proverbial snowball, the problem. That critical mass, the balance point at the top of the mountain, let it go. And then momentum takes over and destroys the problem. It works. It's really, really effective. It was the singular most effective way I found of helping transform people until the Breakthrough Session.
Stay Tuned For Part 2 Next Week!
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Luke Michael Howard CHT