Willow Ladder

Willow Ladder

Here the client is working with a certain resistance to achieving her outcome. The client had previously said that she would like to be “Stepping through the resistance”.

Some Thoughts

If client would like to “Step through the resistance” and resistance is like a wall how does one step through a wall. I have no idea, and so I ask. We find that the wall is awfully solid (in response to stepping through?) and awfully tall. Just how tall is awfully tall? “At least as tall as me.” This is interesting because as tall as a person may not always seem “awfully tall”. This is the first clue that the wall could be being viewed from another perspective. I am also interested because a wall typically is a kind of boundary and a boundary implies a container. What is this wall containing? What is on the other side and what is on this side? How far does the wall extend? What is its purpose – to protect what’s inside from what’s outside, to contain what’s on the inside? We don’t know the answer to any of these things, however I go with “how tall” because this is where the clients attention is. The client responds by introducing the idea of a ladder. In introducing this idea there is a force at work to overcome the resistance. Notice the ladder has steps which relate to “stepping through resistance”. True to an earlier pattern of not overcoming resistance we can expect that were there is this attempt to “step through” there will also be some confounding resistance. It is worth noticing here that resistance is typically an active thing and has agency where as the resistance a wall offers is passive. I ask about the ladder. The obvious place for our attention since it is new, seems like a resource, and we know nothing about it yet. The ladder is very very delicate, has flowers in it and “there’s no way it would take my weight”. If resistance is expressed in the nature of this ladder, then that is resistance to whom or what? When we discover that the willow ladder is inviting then it seems likely to be inviting that which it is not resisting, and since we know that “there is no way it will take my weight” it seems less likely to be inviting the client fully. This is the second hint that another agency is at work. The question “what kind of inviting?” is an invitation to explore this. When it is “inviting me towards it” exactly who is it inviting? This reveals “light me” who could step up the ladder. As we inquire about “light me” we begin to develop the sense that this system could be set up to preserve “light me”. Could the function of the wall be to protect “light me” from the worries and anxieties on the outside? There are “lots of lovely things” about “light me” and so we get to know her a little and thank the process that we are not in the profession of inviting bulldozers or dynamite to demolish the wall of resistance.

The session continued to explore and expand upon the nature of the client’s experience.

Everyone needs to tell their story,

and when you do everything changes.