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On the last track we discussed hidden sources of knowledge. Our discussion will be based on four principles for identifying hidden knowledge. The four principles we will discuss are most criticisms have some basis in reality, many criticisms are disguised statements of your own unmet needs, some criticisms may be an accurate description of a disowned part of the self, and some criticisms may help identify the lost self.
On this track we will discuss the stretching technique. Utilizing the stretching technique, clients can take the knowledge gleaned from mutual criticisms and convert it into an effective, growth-producing process. In my practice, I break the stretching technique down into six steps. The six steps of The Stretching Technique are identify grievances, identify underlying desires, make a specific request, share underlying desires, rank requests, and exchanged lists.
The purpose of this exercise was to educate Gerry to his partner’s deepest needs and to give him the opportunity to change his behavior so that he could meet those needs. As your client stretches against his resistance, his partner may also be healed and he may become a more whole and intimate individual.
In my practice, I find that this can be an integral part of therapy. Therefore, I recommended to Gerry that he give it a high priority. Could your client also benefit from the stretching technique?
Step # 1: Identify Grievances
Step # 2: Identify Underlying Desires
I continued by stating, “This is necessary, because you will be showing this second sheet to your partner.” For example, Gerry’s first desire corresponded to the first frustration from his initial list. Gerry wrote, ‘I would like to feel valid in front of the children.’ So, the first step allows the client to say what he doesn’t like and the second step allows him to say why he doesn’t like it.
Step # 3: Make a Specific Request
Clearly, Gerry’s request was for a specific, positive behavior. However, the following request that Gerry made was a bad example because it was not specific. For example, Gerry wrote, “I would like you to be more attentive.” I suggested Gerry rewrite this request to make it more detailed. Gerry then wrote, ‘I would like you to give me a warm hug as soon as you come home from work.’ Might it be helpful to evaluate your client’s requests for specificity?
Step # 4: Share Underlying Desires
Step # 5: Rank Requests
Step # 6: Exchange Lists
I stated, “Keep each other’s lists. Starting today, you have the opportunity to grant your partner three or four of the easiest requests each week. Remember that these behaviors are gifts. Regardless of how you feel and regardless of how many changes your partner is making, keep to a reliable schedule of at least three or four behavior changes a week. But feel encouraged to add more requests to your lists as time goes on.
Think of your Gerry. How might the stretching technique benefit your client? How could you adapt this technique for clients without partners? Could playing this track in an upcoming session be productive?
On this track we have discussed the stretching technique. In my practice, I break the stretching technique down into six steps. The six steps of the stretching technique are identify grievances, identify underlying desires, make a specific request, share underlying desires, rank requests, and exchanged lists.
On the next track we will discuss testing. Most of this track focuses on a technique for overcoming testing that tends to be productive for male intimacy clients. Therefore, after examining testing and the Two Stages of Progression Through Abandonment that often accompany testing, we’ll discuss the experiencing neediness technique. In my use of the experiencing neediness technique there are five steps. The five steps I use are confessing an inability to need, don’t fake it, keeping boundaries, confessing needs that can’t be experienced, and paying attention to what evokes hunger.
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