In the course of IntrovisionCoaching, the coach and client may experience the phenomenon that it is difficult to come up with an adequate phrase, that specific sentence which is able to trigger the internal alarms that constitute the problem. But this sentence, which threatens the respective imperative, is paramount when working with Introvision – without it, the method is ineffective.
For example, it may happen that a client responds highly emotional when describing their problem; an imperative which is involved in the internal conflict is soon determined. But while sitting with the imperative-threatening sentence, the client remains relatively uninvolved – it just won’t trigger any alarms which adequately correlate with the severity of the problem.
In these cases, it is helpful to have the background knowledge of Transactional Analysis (TA) to fall back on. Because the coach’s task in this case is not only to unearth the corresponding imperative(s), but also to find out two other preconditions: what was the original problem responsible for installing the alarm in the first place; and, even more importantly, what are the behavioral mechanisms the client has developed to deal with their “restrictions.” For this, the coach can use the script theory provided by TA, which describes exactly how we develop certain inner beliefs (“injunctions”), as well as the consequences resulting from this.
Take the example of someone who think they are not lovable at all based on experiences of their childhood and early youth. To be able to live with this grave limitation at all, this individual has developed strategies how to deal with the belief, “I am unlovable.” One “classic” strategy, for example, is the attempt to adapt as perfectly as possible in every situation, so as not to be noticed or offend anyone. Or it is the desire to constantly be as accommodating and helpful as possible in order to earn the goodwill of others. Or trying to make themselves indispensable in some way to maintain the illusion that they are constantly needed. Another frequently encountered strategy can be found in persons who try to get and maintain appreciation from others through constantly high performance. All these strategies have one major drawback: the same moment they stop working, the original problem immediately comes back with full force, along with the core belief, “I am unlovable.”
To demonstrate how the knowledge of a client’s coping strategies can be useful in IntrovisionCoaching, let’s look at the following example:
A client requested coaching because he had major issues with his self-acceptance. He constantly felt bad and was dissatisfied with himself. As he talked about his problem, he reacted very upset and emotional and was on the verge of tears. It was quite clear that he brought an imperative, “I must not be rejected!” Nevertheless, the sentence, “I may be rejected,” did not trigger the alarm that might have been expected on the basis of our previous conversation.
Employing TA’s script theory explains why: the fear to be rejected has led him to adopt the coping strategy, “I have to earn recognition and attention through continued performance.” The sentence, “I may be rejected” therefore did not resonate strongly with him, because he had employed a corresponding coping strategy for decades. When the coach, however, deprived him of his coping strategy by suggesting the sentence, “I may not be able to perform anymore” and letting him sit in the state of wide perception with this, the alarm was back with a vengeance.
Although the original problem was the inner belief, “I am unlovable,” this core could only be tapped through the detour of addressing the client’s coping strategy. After the alarm was eliminated through the sentence, “I may not be able to perform anymore,” a host of other problems that had been linked to the belief of not being lovable vanished seemingly on their own, because the client suddenly made the experience that he was indeed very well accepted.