Preamble:  the client has disclosed a particular issue that they want help with, therapist will need a pen and paper to write notes before and during the session

Close your eyes now … make yourself comfortable … that’s good … take your time to adjust your body position and your clothes as needed …

(This next bit in an authoritarian tone: delivered firmly, but kindly, for the induction phase)

You are here with me … to do some therapy … I need you to listen closely to what I say … as this is a contract … between you and I … to do some healing … do you agree to do this? … (wait for yes) … good … will you do as I say, so that we can achieve healing, together? … (wait for yes) … okay good … listen to me now …

(counting slowly but with confidence and certainty) … with each count down from ten … you will feel more relaxed … ten … more relaxed … nine … you will be more relaxed … eight … from your head … seven … down to your toes … six … it’s working … five … all the way down your body … four … and three … with every word that I say … two … more relaxed … and!(softer voice) one

(end of authoritarian tone)

(pause)

Take a few deep breaths … in … and out … in …. and out … nice work … now … imagine yourself … being wheeled into an elevator on a gurney … going to a safe healing place …  surrendering to some care … and some good, positive work … for yourself … this is a big elevator … that you are in … on your gurney … and with each floor down … your relaxation will double … with each floor down … are you ready? …

say yes if you are …

(pause for their response)

… good … I am behind you … taking care of the button pushing … we are on floor three … I push the button … (say softly) whoosh! … down you go … to floor two … twice as relaxed as before … the movement of the elevator is so nice … (softly) whoosh! … down to floor one … twice as relaxed again as before … now one more floor … (softly) whoosh! … down to the ground floor … double your relaxation again … that feels nice …

(pause)

You are in a special therapy room … still on that comfortable gurney … I am here behind you … and we are going to do some therapy … are you ready?  … (wait for response) … great!

(pause)

So let’s begin … you have an issue that we discussed before we started … are you ready to work on this now? … (wait for response) … are you sure you are ready? …

(want them to have a contract and commitment here – if not sure, ask again and get them to really commit)

(wait for response(s))

In a moment .. I will get you to tell me more about this issue … I will ask questions … and you will give responses … you won’t be afraid or concerned … or stressed .. or unhappy … this is something you want … and you are in a safe place … a totally protected place …

(pause)

So … tell me about this issue … take your time …

(discussion back and forth, seeking clarifications as necessary – take notes)

Okay great … thank you for telling me all of that …

So what … in a perfect world … would you like to have happen (or feel, or think) instead?

(await response, and clarify as needed, take more notes)

Thank you …

[Gestalt: top dog v. underdog start]

Now … there are two sides of you with regards to this issue … one side is the demanding side … of your psyche … your mind … the “top dog”, so to speak…  this side is telling you what to do … whether you like it or not … the other side of your mind … your psyche … is totally submissive … the “under dog”, if you like … and it gives in easily … and favours inaction … or letting things be …

You are going to let each side speak on this issue … and listen without judgement … there is no winner here … the top dog … and the under dog … both have contributions to make … and both are valid to consider … or not … and neither is offended … if you take the other path … or if you compromise … both sides want what’s best for you … because they are part of you …

(pause)

So let the top dog speak first … tell me what it has to say?

(let the client speak, and respond as needed)

Now it’s the underdog’s turn …

(let the client speak, and respond as needed)

What does the top dog think of the underdog’s opinion?

(let the client speak, and respond as needed)

And what does the underdog think of the top dog’s opinion?

(let the client speak, and respond as needed)

Imagine they are having a conference together … in your mind … for a moment … and deciding the best course of action … by working together … they will have their conference now, and you will listen to what they say … intuitively …

(long pause)

Now … tell me the first thought that comes to mind … without filtering … what did they decide?

(let the client speak, and respond as needed)

Thank you for that hard work … both from your top dog … and your underdog … they both care about you …

[End of Gestalt]

Now … you have done well … you have worked on yourself … at a deep level … and these thoughts will stay with you … for a long time … will stay in your mind … will stay in your actions … and will help you … for you have great strength … really great strength … of character … of mind … of spirit … strength you have known about all along … for you are a powerful … wonderful … human being … and you have the course of action now … to resolve this issue … and to make things better … and this course of action … this powerful course … is at your disposal … and can be put into practice … will be put into practice … when you need it most … do you agree with this?

(await their response)

Tell me again … to be sure … like you mean it!

(await their response)

Good … great work today …

(pause)

We will now return to the present …

I will take the gurney back into the elevator and we will go up three floors … becoming a bit more alert … but not ready to open your eyes yet … with each floor … (slowly) … ground …. then one … then two … and finally three…

Now I will count you back to the present (a bit quicker) … one … two  … more alert now … three … four … moving fingers and toes …  five … six  … shifting your body around a bit … seven … eight … getting ready to open your eyes … nine … ten