Introduction to CTCB
The methodology explained
This first chapter does not attempt to define how to use the processes involved with CTCB but it is important that you are familiar with the different facets with which you will be able to work. It is a behavioural style of therapy and at first sight appears to be complex - yet you will soon see that it provides an incisive view of the working of the client's psyche and therefore an ability to help them find what it is they seek. While not designed as a speedy intervention, there are many times when it can be so.
The therapy described in this book is based on the well-known concept of: 'The way you do anything is the way you do everything.' At first glance, this is a simple concept and most of the time appears to be fairly accurate, even if it does not provide a readily useable therapeutic methodology. Close investigation, though, reveals that the concept does not really stand up to careful scrutiny. For instance, the way we react to somebody or something we dislike is different from the way we react to things we like or to which we are ambivalent. We might be critical of things we dislike, enthusiastic about things we like or want and bored with things which do not really affect us one way or the other. Equally, we could be anxious about what we dislike, secretive about things we want or like, and critical about everything else.
Here are several interesting facts:
- The 'way you do', which we will call a descriptor from now on, is not the whole story because there is usually a modifier which sometimes works as a limiter, at other times as an offset.
- Although the descriptor refers to all aspects of life (taking account of like, dislike or ambivalence), it does not affect all things equally. Some things are totally governed by it, others have only a little of that particular descriptor active. All descriptors are active states.
- The modifier also does not affect all activities equally and is not proportionately linked to the descriptor. The descriptor might weaken for a particular activity and the modifier can either increase or decrease in its affect upon the descriptor.
- The modifier is a reactive state and might disappear completely when the trigger situation or concept related to the symptomatic work is absent.
- There are sometimes more than one descriptor with different levels of influence within any activity, each one affecting the other.
- It is not a static process - if a new element is introduced into an individual's life, it affects everything else to one degree or another.
Although the above appears to complicate the elegant simplicity of the basic idea, it actually makes possible a behavioural style of working which embodies quite a lot of investigative work. Although it cannot be considered as an analytical methodology it can still 'lay bare' underlying causes of presenting difficulties and, more importantly, provide the framework to resolve conflict. It can be used in a waking state or with the use of hypnosis - a deep state is not necessary, making it suitable for almost all clients where a behavioural change is indicated.
Every technique in this book, with one exception, has been used by the author over several years. The exception is the PALE (Passive, Active, Logic, Emotion) balance, developed recently as an alternative to the original personality-type orientation (Warriors, Settlers & Nomads) that was used for assessing the congruence and relevance of stated goals. For the CTCB methodology shown here, which combines several difference facets of behaviour, the PALE balance gives us a better clinical basis from which to work. It reveals not the 'way of being' or the personality of the client, but the type of underlying instinctive drives which govern their behaviour patterns. Empirical testing up to the time this book was prepared indicates a high degree of accuracy; this is because it is based on the averaged outcome of several variations on each of two questions. The two questions themselves are never directly asked but they are:
- Do you prefer to think or to act?
- Do you prefer to reason or to feel?
The premise of this therapeutic model is that the balance of these two conflicts, being deeply instinctual and working at a fundamental level, will be reflected in every activity that we undertake, hence they are important to the concept of 'The way you do anything...' As you will see later, they also help us to observe incongruence arising from conditioned response or erroneous belief and thus give us another useful work tool for providing enlightenment.
There is no assertion here that this the only or best way to work at that concept, only that it is an effective way of helping a client to affect desired change.
Descriptors and Modifiers
Descriptors and modifiers are an important facet of this style of working. They are comprised of attributes such as Anxiously, Enthusiastically, Compliantly, Doubtfully and so on. They are dependent not on personality types but on the 'PALE' balance - the balance between Passive/Active behaviours aligned to Logic/Emotion processes. The result of the simple assessment gives a grid position which can be extraordinarily revealing. We might see at once why an individual cannot keep a job, has difficulty in earning money, is obsessive, anxious or just feels as if they are in the wrong place in their life with no idea of where they are supposed to be. Not only can we see it but the grid itself, in conjunction with the other data that you will be collecting, often provides a good direction for the therapy.
At this stage, a simple illustration of descriptors and modifiers at work will help you to form a clearer impression in your mind of the concept. They take the form of:
"I [activity] [descriptor] but with [modifier]":
- I drive enthusiastically but with doubt.
- I do my job anxiously but with diligence
You will notice that in the first example, the modifier, doubt, works as a limiter, whereas in the second diligence is an offset. Later you will see that there are many occasions where presence of the limiter is the source of many of the client's difficulties in life, and where there is an offset, the descriptor can be seen to be less important than the client might believe. As they start to use the same attributes with their problem behaviour, there is often a pronounced "Aha!" moment. For instance, apply those statements above using these three activities: Study, Exercise, Make decisions and the effect of the modifier becomes suddenly obvious.
Why this is important
Once we have inspired and enlightened our client with the truth of the 'Way you do anything' concept, we can help them to realise how powerful it can be to effect change. It is useful to imagine that an attribute carries weight, the maximum effect on any attribute being 100 grains worth (you can, of course, use any descriptor of weight but 'grains' seems to work quite well). The attribute has an infinite number of grains and can be apportioned according to the client's belief system. This means that we can take the descriptor assertive and the modifier impatient (for the moment, it does not matter why they have been decided upon or to which activity they have been originally ascribed) and use them with the activity drive. Now we can ask how many 'grains' of assertive are present in: "I drive assertively..." and similarly, how many grains of impatient are present in "but with impatience." Assume the answer is that there are 70 grains (70%) of assertive; now we need to know what the other 30 grains, or 30% comprise (there will almost always be more than one descriptor and modifier). It is not essential to use that process with the modifier(s) though it can sometimes help a client to recognise that a change to their own reactive state might be a good thing.
That which is active in our subconscious affects everything we do and think. So if we successfully introduce or change a descriptor or modifier in one activity, this will have an effect on everything else we do. Improve your driving to improve your sex life! It seems like a crazy idea until you recognise another element of the process; it is dynamic. If you become anxious or stressed about one particular facet of your life, everything else is affected to a degree... by a few grains worth of anxiety or stress, of course. If you are depressed about the weather or your job, then life in general seems pretty downbeat; suddenly find something that injects joy into your life - a new lover, car, pet or cash boost, for example - and the weather and your job assume less importance. Those are transient, surface, situations. We will actually be working with permanent and deeply-rooted aspects but the concept remains the same. This is all covered in detail in the appropriate section of the book.
The aspects you will be working with include:
- Assessing the current status: Discovering the way that the client currently fits into the world: age, occupation, attitude to their work, general demeanour.
- Client wants: Discovering what our client wants to achieve via therapy. This can include wanting to be free of a psychological process or emotional difficulty.
- Associated pursuits: These are the things that the client is doing in pursuit of their 'wants'. If they conflict with their natural resources then it is evident that some modification is needed.
- Core Beliefs: What the client truly believes about self at the instinctual level. These processes are sometimes erroneous and based on 'conditioning' and we can often help a client to a realisation of the way they truly are. This must come from inside self.
- Conflicting behaviour: What the client is doing instead of what they express as their 'wants'. This usually comes as a surprise to them.
- The PALE questionnaire.
- Congruence: Where there is an apparent lack of congruence anywhere in the processes being covered here, it is limiting and needs addressing.
- Acceptance: Helping the client to come to terms with things that cannot be changed, or where the 'price' of the change will be too high in proportion to the reward.
- The PolyBind: This is a 'tried and tested' technique which, under the right circumstances, can help the client overcome all manner of limitations that might have been imposed by self or others.
Although there are a lot of elements there, it is hugely unlikely that you will use all of them with any individual client. In any case, you will soon discover that the CTCB methodology is question-based, extremely client-centred and easy to use. In the next chapter, there are two case histories which illustrate the process in action.
The CTCB methodology is suitable for almost any situation where a behavioural change is needed but it works best when focussed around something that the client wants to start doing. If they want to stop doing something (for example: smoking, biting their nails, wrecking careers, damaging relationships, being a 'doormat', drinking too much) then we must find out what they want to do instead. Ideally, this will be directly opposite to what they are already doing. 'Smoking', for example, might be replaced with 'become athletically fit' or 'find increased energy'.
Logical/analytical individuals generally respond well to the interactive style of this methodology where they might otherwise exhibit resistance to therapy.