The Healing Ways of Old Man
Geoff Guest - Australian Aboriginal Elder

 

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Old Man at Petford

 

Geoff Guest Petford Camp
PO Box 213 Dimbulah
AUSTRALIA 4872
Tel: 07 40 935 365
Fax: 07 40 935 372

 

Posted 30 July 2000. Last Update Sept, 2014.

 

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Healing Ways Material for Youth Camp Enablers

 

Each morning at the Salem Youth Camp Geoff Guest the Aboriginal Elder of the Camp provides healing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. The following material is based on Geoff's healing and co-learning processes.

 

GEOFF GUEST'S MORNING THERAPY SESSION

 

DISCUSSION

 

Discuss and identify therapeutic patterns implied in the following:

 

Geoff Guest's therapy sessions with the Petford youth take place every morning shortly after 6:00 AM and last from between 30 to 45 minutes depending on the energy and interest level of the youths. In the colder weather the youths are typically sleepy and sit together on a large sofa and other chairs to keep warm. In the colder months the session takes place indoors in a large space in front of the cooking area. In the warmer months the sessions are under the veranda in the eating area. At times Geoff gets the youths very actively involved in physical challenges and role plays.

 

DISCUSSION POINTS

 

Therapeutic Elements:

 

o   being sleepy

o   being close together

o   always at the same time

o   relatively early

o   always at the same place

o   at the start of the day

o   matching duration, content and process to youth receptivity

o   altering energy levels from very sleepy to super alert

 

Being Sleepy

 

This is akin to a naturally occurring trance state where the mind's critical and judgmental aspects are dulled. Geoff creatively uses these moments with the youths when they are particularly open to new possibilities. When sleepy the youth have a tendency to stay in the same place and are not restless. Often the whole group remains where they are after Geoff finishes and only get up when breakfast is ready. Youth do pay attention. Ask them about what they heard and learnt that morning and they can reel off a long list.

 

Being close together

 

When the youth sit down close together they are literally supporting each other. (On this aspect show the trainees the Salem Video 'Ringer' segment where all the boys are supporting the smaller boy (the one who has the 'fit') on the blanket. Geoff could have easily carried the boy back to Norma, but instead this smaller boy experiences being totally and literally supported - probably for the first time in his life.

 

Importantly, he is being supported by the complete youth community at the Camp, many of whom, up to that moment, had been his tormentors. The other youths, in carrying the young one, experience being a caring, supporting, community together - powerful change stuff! This is a beautiful and elegant example of the holistic nature of Geoff's work. Ideas and behaviours are linked to profound physical experience.

 

Keeping each other warm further fosters 'togetherness' and community.

 

Always at the same time

 

The youth habitually take their place and sit waiting for Geoff to start. They develop a 'self-regulation' component. Geoff never misses holding this session at Salem. This fosters in the youth (i) a preparedness to follow rules, (ii) self discipline and (iii) a spirit of cooperation; all critical in developing a work ethic.

 

In fact 'being cooperative' is a 'critical and central behaviour' that Geoff endeavours to install in every youth in his program. Being cooperative is central to personal effectiveness in every aspect of a fruitful life in community with others. It is linked to holding down a Job, keeping a marriage and family in a close bond and developing a 'community' that communes together. When youth arrive at Salem they tend to have non-cooperation as an entrenched behaviour.

 

The transcript of Geoff's therapy session later in this page highlights some of the micro-processors that Geoff uses to sustain cooperative behaviour.

Relatively early

 

Youth develop self discipline in:

 

o   starting the day early

o   reporting for work

o   doing something even if on some days they don't feel like doing it.

 

Always at the same place

 

The place becomes an 'anchor'. Each morning when they sit down in the same place it anchors them back to prior learning. They can link new learning with prior ones. Because of all of these associated learning it becomes a place of special power. The location is also where food preparation and eating takes place and that has a good feel about it. It is in the very centre of community life with dogs barking and pots and pans and Norma's booming voice adding to the richness of what's going on. All this binds the learning to this community experience.

 

At the start of the day

 

Each day starts with communal learning and reinforces that this is a learning place. It allows further processing of 'yesterday's unfinished business' after just finishing 'sleeping on it'.

 

Matching duration, content and process to youth receptivity

 

Geoff works with the youth while they are receptive. If receptivity and cooperation wanes, Geoff either opts to increase receptivity and cooperation, or closes the session.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Discuss and identify therapeutic patterns implied in the following:

Geoff's morning session is a central component of the change work done at Salem. Geoff's therapy processes are very spontaneous, creative and intuitive. Geoff regularly incorporates 'unfinished business from the previous day' into the session.

 

DISCUSSION

 

This may be:

 

something general that applies to all of the youth

something that happened between two or more youths, or

some issue relating to a particular youth.

Quite often when Geoff is doing therapeutic work with a particular youth, the youth concerned does not know this is the case. In this way Geoff can by-pass resistance. Geoff checks whether he has got a particular outcome and if not, does further work until he does get it.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Discuss and identify therapeutic patterns implied in the following:

 

During sessions, Geoff is also running simultaneous and concurrent specific therapy programs tailored to each youth in the program.

 

Examples are:

 

o   youth A - aggressive behaviour

o   youth B - selfishness, self-centredness, and attention seeking

o   youth C - bullying and teasing

 

DISCUSSION

 

Discuss and identify therapeutic patterns implied in the following:

 

Each session tends to have a central theme and a number of parallel minor themes that cover three areas, namely:

 

o   ideas

o   behaviour

o   feelings and emotions

o   For example, later on this page there is a transcript of a small segment of one of Geoff Guest's morning therapy sessions with the Salem youth. This session had the major theme 'married life'

 

Under the ideas heading Geoff had the youths, amongst other things, think about:

 

o   marriage

o   being married

o   how many children they would have

o   that marriages have good and bad times

o   the destructive consequences of alcohol abuse on family life

o   behaviours that keep a family together

o   handling money in a family

o   owning your own home

o   characteristics of a:

o   good wife

o   good husband

o   good father

 

Under the behaviours category Geoff had the youths role-play (amongst other things):

 

o   giving recognition to a son

o   disciplining a son

 

Under the emotions and feelings category Geoff introduced the idea that it is possible for anyone to learn to quickly change their mood states whenever they want to by changing:

 

o   what they are thinking about

o   what they are imagining

o   their time focus between past, present or future

o   their body posture

 

He then had them experience changes in their own emotions, feelings and mood states. These experiences were then linked to the theme 'married life'. He would have them imagine a future where they are married and then have them live out different scenarios so that they were 'embodying' the feelings and behaviours.

 

As is typical, during the session Geoff also followed up unfinished business from the previous day and wove in specific therapy work with a number of the youth. All of this was packed into half an hour and yet the pace seemed almost sleepy and leisurely.

 

Geoff also weaves multiple stories together and then has the youth role-play characters in the stories. There is an extensive literature on the therapeutic use of stories and an excellent introductory text is David Gordon's book 'Therapeutic Metaphors'.

A basic pattern is to have the various elements in the story almost exactly the same as those happening in the clients life, that is, the same ideas, behaviours and feelings. The stories contain possibilities for the resolving of the issues concerned.

 

To use one of Geoff's simple stories as an example:

 

'Two youths who both want the same new horse riding equipment' become, in the story, 'two youths who both want the same orange'.

 

'The supervisor that tells these youths that neither of them can use the new equipment' becomes 'the father that takes the orange from the two youths and eats it himself'.

 

The new behavioural, conceptual, and emotional possibilities are contained in a second ending to the little story. In this new ending the father asks one of the youths why he wants the orange and the youth replies 'mum asked me to get some orange rind to make a cake'. The other youth wanted to eat the orange. So the father peels the orange and gives the orange to the youth who wanted to eat it and the rind to the other youth to give to his mother.

 

Geoff went on to link this story to something that happened the day before and to his main theme for that particular day which was 'working for supervisors that may not be very good at their job'.

 

This orange story also embodies a basic underlying belief of Geoff, namely that it is always best to seek outcomes where everybody's needs are met.

 

GEOFF GUEST IN ACTION

 

The following is a segment of Geoff's storytelling.

 

'So the fellow that put his earnings from Salem into a land investment ended up married and owning his own home. The other fellow spent all of his money on buying alcohol and drinking it with his friends. The first fellow and his wife and children liked living in their own home. The other fellow had none of his Salem earnings left. Who was the smartest?'

 

(Geoff leaves the question hanging in the air unanswered.)

 

'Now here's a smart young fellow.'

 

(Geoff selects, walks towards, and stands in front of a youth who prides himself on being smart.)

 

'When you get married (pause) would you like one, two or three children?'

 

'Two'

 

'And would you like a brick house or a wood one?'

 

'A brick house.'

 

'And who would bring up the children - you or your wife?'

 

'My wife.'

 

'Would you have any say in what they did?'

 

'We both would have a say.'

 

'Good (Geoff mentions youth's name)! You know what you want!'

 

(Geoff repeats this form of questioning with two other youths.)

 

'And you know (pause) brains are marvellous things (pause) and we can recall good things and imagine marvellous things and change ourselves with our brains and (Geoff moves in front of a youth who had been in some trouble the day before) (mentions youth's name) have you ever had something happen that was not very good?'

 

(The youth nods and is very pensive)

 

(Geoff walks over and addresses another youth.)

 

'And when you came off the horse yesterday that was not very good was it?'

 

(Geoff is very gentle and caring as he says this. The boy looks uncomfortable and embarrassed and shakes his head in negative agreement.)

 

(A dog barks and begins to tussle with another dog not far from Geoff.)

 

'And even dogs don't always get on with one another, do they? Get outside both of you (pause) please.'

 

(Geoff chases the two dogs outside.)

 

'And (pause) thinking back on these times can make us feel miserable, right? (pause) and we can (pause) feel real low.'

 

(As he says the last three words Geoff moves his body so that he is hunched up and hung over with eyes caste down to the right. He looks miserable. All the boys are looking at him.)

 

(Bill is behind the bench helping Norma (Geoff's wife) make the breakfast toast. Bill is also watching and listening to Geoff as well. Geoff stands up straight and looks towards Bill.)

 

'And Bill (pause) there's been times in your life when (pause) you have been (pause) very sad, right?'

 

(Geoff knows that Bill's wife committed suicide in horrific circumstances. Bill is caught unawares by Geoff's remark and says with wavering voice 'I sure have!')

 

'And thinking about that (pause) upsets you now (pause) doesn't it, Bill?'

 

(Geoff is very gentle as he says this. Bill's face has become ashen. His body shrinks and he nods in agreement.)

 

'And (pause) there has been a time (pause) that you can go to right now (pause) when you feel really good (pause) right? (pause) and you can (pause) go there NOW (pause) right?'

 

(Bill's face lights up, his body lengthens, he takes a deep breath and his whole demeanour changes immediately and Bill says the following:

 

'Yes! Making toast for Norma!'

 

(Geoff points to Bill and addresses the boys.)

 

'Did you notice how Bill changed then, first he was sad and then a moment later he was happy again and (pause) your brain can (pause) do that any time you want (pause) and that's marvellous isn't it.'

 

 

THERAPY MODELLING - A MICRO-PROCESS ANALYSIS OF THE GEOFF GUEST TRANSCRIPT

 

The following is a bit-by-bit analysis of the preceding transcript. The transcript segments are printed in capitals.

 

Typically, Geoff uses many therapy processes in every sentence. Most of these processes, or variations of them, are well documented in the psycho-linguistic modelling literature and have been demonstrated to lead to behaviour change.

 

It is problematic that any of the particular micro-processors mentioned in these notes WILL have a specific outcome. As Geoff has his therapy sessions with the Salem youth every day, Geoff notes the unfolding outcomes he is getting and works on a specific issue until that issue IS resolved.

 

'SO THE FELLOW THAT PUT HIS EARNINGS FROM SALEM INTO A LAND INVESTMENT ENDED UP MARRIED AND OWNING HIS OWN HOME. THE OTHER FELLOW SPENT ALL OF HIS MONEY ON BUYING ALCOHOL AND DRINKING IT WITH HIS FRIENDS. THE FIRST FELLOW AND HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN LIKED LIVING IN THEIR OWN HOME. THE OTHER FELLOW HAD NONE OF HIS SALEM EARNINGS LEFT. WHO WAS THE SMARTEST?'

(GEOFF LEAVES THE QUESTION HANGING IN THE AIR UNANSWERED.)

 

Geoff uses his own past experience as a source of stories. Often Geoff makes stories up on the spot and says something like 'A friend of mine knew a bloke who ...' Milton Erickson called this the 'my friend John' process.

 

The above story fits the pattern mentioned previously. Ideas, behaviours and emotions are interwoven.

 

Geoff tends to start sentences with conjunctions or 'joining' words. William O'Hanlon in his book 'Taproots' analyses many of the therapeutic micro-processes that effective therapists have used throughout the ages. O'Hanlon calls this pattern of therapeutically using conjunctions 'Linking' ('linking', O'Hanlon, Page 127, 1987). In the above segment Geoff started with 'SO'. This pattern links the sentence to the one before it. Other joining words and expressions are 'And', 'So that', 'Because'.

 

The brain tends to chunk things together when they are linked with these joining words. A more advanced 'joining' pattern that Geoff uses is:

 

o   something obviously true

o   conjunction

o   something obviously true

o   conjunction

o   something obviously true

o   conjunction

o   suggestion

 

What tends to happen is that the listener lumps everything together as true and the suggestion is accepted along with what has gone before. There is an example of this pattern later in the above transcript. Can you find it?

 

'NOW HERE'S A SMART YOUNG FELLOW.'

 

(GEOFF SELECTS, WALKS TOWARDS, AND STANDS IN FRONT OF A YOUTH WHO PRIDES HIMSELF ON BEING SMART.)

 

All of the youths listening to this story had 'being smart' as something they valued highly. They could easily identify with 'being smart'. It is possible that the youths could less easily identify with the idea of 'being married.'

 

Geoff's non-verbal behaviours signal to the boy that he will be involved. Geoff is totally 'congruent' about getting the boy's cooperation. That is, every aspect of Geoff's verbal and nonverbal behaviour supports Geoff's implied presupposition that the boy will cooperate ('presupposition', O'Hanlon, Pages 87-90, 121-122, 143, 1987). This tends to be irresistible. Note that there is an implied presupposition of cooperation.

 

Being totally congruent about what he does is a vitally important part of Geoff's work. In this he mirrors Christ healing. In talking about Jesus, someone said words to effect 'We haven't heard anyone speak like him before!'' It is likely that an important aspect of what this person was talking about was Christ's congruence. Every aspect of Christ's speaking body would be totally consistent.

 

Jesus on one occasion said to a person who could not walk:

 

'Pick up your bed and Walk!'

 

Notice that these are two simple direct commands joined by a conjunction ('Direct commands', O'Hanlon, Pages 151, 1987). Jesus would have said these commands in a way that presupposed (presupposition) and implied ('Implication', O'Hanlon, Pages 87-94, 139, 1987) that the person would definitely be able to pick up his bed and walk.

 

Geoff also makes use of the same processes in his healing work, namely:

 

o   direct commands

o   conjunctions

o   presuppositions

o   implication

o   being congruent

 

'NOW HERE'S A....'

 

In the story Geoff has placed the youths in a story reality in a 'past' time. He then placed them in 'non-specific' time where they could personally identify with a 'smart' role model. Geoff now reorients everyone back to the present time by starting the next sentence with the word 'now'.

 

Geoff is continually reorienting the youth in past, present and future time to get specific therapeutic outcomes ('reorientation in time', O'Hanlon, Page 137 - 138, 1987)

 

'NOW HERE'S A ...'

 

The word 'here's' is a phonetic ambiguity ('ambiguity', O'Hanlon, Page 103 - 108 & 142, 1987). The expression 'hears' and 'here's' sound identical. Research shows that the brain is constantly making 'meaning searches' as we listen to speech. We consciously pick up the most likely meaning of an expression from the context of what's going on. However at a brain function level we do pick-up other meanings. These other meanings can be used therapeutically. In the above sentence the alternative meaning 'Now HEARS a smart young fellow.' implies 'Pay attention.' This second meaning fits Geoff's presupposition of cooperation.

 

'A SMART YOUNG FELLOW'

 

Geoff invariably gives a simple compliment prior to asking for cooperation. For example, on another occasion before asking Bill to use his watch to time a boy climbing over a rafter in the roof, Geoff said, 'Now whose got good eyesight? Bill! Will you help us?' After that introduction/implication, Bill, who wears bifocals couldn't refuse!

 

Note that in the story he had just finished Geoff had highlighted 'being smart'. Geoff selected a person who:

 

o   had 'being smart' as a very strongly held personal belief,

o   was likely to cooperate and hence be a role model for other less cooperative youth.

 

This belief about being a smart person:

 

o   adds great weight to the compliment

o   helps link the boy to the 'married thrifty youth' in the story

o   links the boy to the 'being married theme', and

o   points to 'being married' as a likely focus of the coming interaction.

 

The number of these links is also likely to be too many to be consciously processed by the boy. This limits resistance ('Overload - Confusion', O'Hanlon, Pages 51, 104-8, 112, 125, 135, 1987).

 

(GEOFF SELECTS, WALKS TOWARDS, AND STANDS IN FRONT OF A YOUTH WHO PRIDES HIMSELF ON BEING SMART.)

 

Geoff's non-verbals all support the above linguistic processes.

 

'WHEN YOU GET MARRIED (PAUSE) WOULD YOU LIKE ONE, TWO OR THREE CHILDREN?'

 

Geoff uses reference to time as one pattern to set up 'presuppositions'. In this case Geoff uses the word 'When' to set up the presupposition that the boy 'IS going to get married'.

 

Other references to time that can be used to set up presuppositions are:

 

o   before

o   during

o   while

o   after

 

Geoff pauses to have the youth settle into a future time frame in his imagination - a frame in which the youth is married.

Geoff gives the boy three choices each of which again imply that the boy will have some children ('Illusion of alternatives', O'Hanlon, Pages 90, 1987). This is another pre-supposition pattern based on making a choice from a number of presupposed items. For example, 'Would you like one or two eggs in your milk-shake?' presupposes you will have at least one egg in it.

 

'TWO'

 

From his tone the youth appeared quite definite about wanting two children; that is, he was not saying something just to please Geoff.

 

'AND WOULD YOU LIKE A BRICK HOUSE OR A WOOD ONE?'

 

'A BRICK HOUSE.'

 

'AND WHO WOULD BRING UP THE CHILDREN - YOU OR YOUR WIFE?'

 

'MY WIFE.'

 

'WOULD YOU HAVE ANY SAY IN WHAT THEY DID?'

 

'WE BOTH WOULD HAVE A SAY.'

 

Again Geoff uses the 'choice' or 'illusion of alternatives' pattern - by using the word 'or' - to set up the presuppositions of 'owning a home' and 'that his children would be cared for'.

 

'GOOD (GEOFF MENTIONS YOUTH'S NAME)! YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT!'

 

Geoff gives recognition and sincere compliments continually in his work and the youth love it. Often spontaneous remarks are not remembered by the person who makes them. Geoff, in drawing the youth's attention to what the youth had just said, increases the likelihood that the 'possible futures' that the youth had just described - of being married, owning a brick home and jointly caring for two children while caring for two children will be remembered.

 

(GEOFF REPEATS THIS FORM OF QUESTIONING WITH TWO OTHER YOUTHS.)

 

Having this first boy as a cooperative role model sets the scene for others to also cooperate.

 

'AND YOU KNOW (PAUSE) BRAINS ARE MARVELOUS THINGS (PAUSE)'

 

Geoff starts with a conjunction linking the new topic to what has just been happening.

 

'AND YOU KNOW (PAUSE)'

 

Here Geoff implies that they already know what he is about to say. Hence the idea he is about to introduce is readily accepted.

The pause can arouse curiosity and interest in what is to come - both ideal learning states.

 

'AND YOU KNOW (PAUSE) BRAINS ARE MARVELOUS THINGS (PAUSE)'

 

Geoff uses 'generalisations' in many ways to obtain therapeutic effect ('generalisations', O'Hanlon, Pages 97, 141, 1987). Here describing brains as 'marvellous things' does not tell us what he is getting at. The following pause invokes further curiosity. Geoff is very adept at creating and changing 'states' in others. Examples of states are:

 

o   curiosity

o   pride

o   wellbeing

o   puzzlement

o   fascination

 

'AND YOU KNOW (PAUSE) BRAINS ARE MARVELOUS THINGS (PAUSE) AND WE CAN RECALL GOOD THINGS...'

 

Geoff uses a conjunction to link up the next piece.

 

'AND WE CAN RECALL GOOD THINGS AND IMAGINE MARVELOUS THINGS'

 

Geoff here uses a pattern that Milton Erickson also used, that of the 'embedded command' ('Embedded commands', O'Hanlon, Page 142, 1987). Notice that embedded in this sentence are two commands, namely, 'RECALL GOOD THINGS' as well as 'IMAGINE MARVELOUS THINGS'. The general pattern that Geoff uses is 'We can 'X'', where X is the command in question. Other examples occur in the transcript. Note that the word 'things' in the sentence fragment 'recall good things', is another example of using a generalisation. The word 'things' allows hearers the possibility of coming up with their own specific memories and imaginings.

 

In having these hidden commands and suggestions in this sentence Geoff is warming the youth up for using their brains to both recall things and imagine things in a few moments.

 

'AND YOU KNOW (PAUSE) BRAINS ARE MARVELOUS THINGS (PAUSE) AND WE CAN RECALL GOOD THINGS AND IMAGINE MARVELOUS THINGS AND CHANGE OURSELVES WITH OUR BRAINS, AND ...'

 

This is where Geoff uses the 'obviously true' pattern mentioned earlier, namely:

 

o   conjunction

o   something obviously true

o   conjunction

o   something obviously true

o   conjunction

o   something obviously true

o   conjunction

o   suggestion

o   and

o   you know (pause) brains are marvellous things

o   (pause) and

o   we can recall good things

o   and

o   imagine marvellous things

o   and

o   change ourselves with our brains and

 

The first couple of sentence fragments are obviously true. These statements are then linked to the bold suggestion 'we can change ourselves'.

 

(GEOFF MOVES IN FRONT OF A YOUTH WHO HAD BEEN IN SOME TROUBLE THE DAY BEFORE) (MENTIONS YOUTH'S NAME)

 

'HAVE YOU EVER HAD SOMETHING HAPPEN THAT WAS NOT VERY GOOD?'

 

(THE YOUTH NODS AND IS VERY PENSIVE.)

 

Both the boy and Geoff know what Geoff is referring to and in recalling this situation a specific neuro-psychological state is fired off inside the boy.

 

(GEOFF WALKS OVER AND ADDRESSES ANOTHER YOUTH.)

 

'AND WHEN YOU CAME OFF THE HORSE YESTERDAY, THAT WAS NOT VERY GOOD WAS IT.'

 

(GEOFF IS VERY GENTLE AND CARING AS HE SAYS THIS. THE BOY LOOKS UNCOMFORTABLE AND EMBARRASSED AND SHAKES HIS HEAD IN NEGATIVE AGREEMENT)

 

Geoff conveys to the boy by voice tone that he understands how the boy felt yesterday and how he feels now.

Geoff, in suddenly having the youth recall the particular situation, has a particular neuro-psychological state firing off in the boy.

 

(A DOG BARKS AND BEGINS TO TUSSLE WITH ANOTHER DOG NOT FAR FROM GEOFF.)

 

'AND EVEN DOGS DON'T ALWAYS GET ON WITH ONE ANOTHER, DO THEY? GET OUTSIDE BOTH OF YOU (PAUSE) PLEASE.'

 

(GEOFF CHASES THE TWO DOGS OUTSIDE.)

Geoff 'incorporates' a possible distraction into what he is doing and in this way it ceases to be a distraction ('incorporation', O'Hanlon, Page 127-28, 1987).

 

'GET OUTSIDE BOTH OF YOU (PAUSE) PLEASE.'

 

Geoff has a very special way of saying 'please' at the end of his requests. It is very compelling and aids Geoff to get cooperation, even with the animals!

 

'AND (PAUSE) THINKING BACK ON THESE TIMES CAN MAKE US FEEL MISERABLE, RIGHT? (PAUSE) AND WE CAN (PAUSE) FEEL REAL LOW.'

 

Geoff uses the linking conjunction 'and' again. This conjunction pattern can be very hypnotic.

 

Again Geoff uses the embedded suggestion/command pattern to set up shifts in states.

 

'... can make us feel miserable...' '... we can (pause) feel real low.'

 

'RIGHT? (PAUSE)'

 

Geoff checks for non-verbal signs of agreement.

 

(AS HE SAYS THE LAST THREE WORDS GEOFF MOVES HIS BODY SO THAT HE IS HUNCHED UP AND HUNG OVER WITH EYES CASTE DOWN TO THE RIGHT. HE LOOKS MISERABLE. ALL THE BOYS ARE LOOKING AT HIM.)

 

It is a common experience that miserable people look miserable. They get into typical postures. They tend to have eyes cast down and to the right. They typically have muscles rather than bone and cartilage supporting the body against gravity. Muscles under load, tire very quickly. Bones and cartilage do not. This is why people in the posture of misery are also fatigued. Geoff embodies all of these understandings visually as a visual therapeutic metaphor. 'Stand like this and you'll soon feel awful!'

 

(BILL IS BEHIND THE BENCH HELPING NORMA (GEOFF'S WIFE) MAKE THE BREAKFAST TOAST. BILL IS ALSO WATCHING AND LISTENING TO GEOFF AS WELL. GEOFF STANDS UP STRAIGHT AND LOOKS TOWARDS BILL.)

 

'AND BILL (PAUSE) THERE'S BEEN TIMES IN YOUR LIFE WHEN (PAUSE)

 

YOU HAVE BEEN (PAUSE) VERY SAD, RIGHT?'

 

(GEOFF KNOWS THAT BILL'S WIFE COMMITTED SUICIDE IN HORRIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES. BILL IS CAUGHT UNAWARES BY GEOFF'S REMARK AND SAYS WITH QUAVERING VOICE 'I SURE HAVE!')

 

Geoff's behaviour has a devastating effect on Bill, and Geoff knows this.

 

'AND THINKING ABOUT THAT (PAUSE) UPSETS YOU NOW (PAUSE) DOESN'T IT, BILL?'

 

(GEOFF IS VERY GENTLE AS HE SAYS THIS. BILL'S FACE HAS BECOME ASHEN. HIS BODY SHRINKS AND HE NODS IN AGREEMENT.)

 

Geoff is fully present to Bill and acknowledges Bill's grief and supports Bill at a tonal level (Geoff is very gentle as he says this.)

 

'AND (PAUSE) THERE HAS BEEN A TIME (PAUSE) THAT YOU CAN GO TO RIGHT NOW (PAUSE) WHEN YOU FEEL REALLY GOOD (PAUSE) RIGHT? (PAUSE) AND YOU CAN (PAUSE) GO THERE NOW (PAUSE) RIGHT?'

 

Here Geoff again uses:

 

o   conjunction

o   presupposition

o   generalisation

o   presupposition

o   embedded command

o   time pattern

o   switch time focus

o   suggestion

o   presupposition

o   command

o   conjunctions:

o   and (pause)

 

o   presuppositions:

 

o   There has been a time (pause)

o   that you can go to right now (pause)

o   when you feel really good (pause)

o   right?

 

o   generalisations:

 

o   a time

o   good

 

o   embedded commands:

 

o   go to right now ;

o   feel really good

o   go there now

 

o   switch in time focus:

 

o   has been a time

o   go there now

 

(BILL' S FACE LIGHTS UP, HIS BODY LENGTHENS, HE TAKES A DEEP BREATH AND HIS WHOLE DEMEANOUR CHANGES IMMEDIATELY AND BILL SAYS THE FOLLOWING:

 

'YES! MAKING TOAST FOR NORMA!'

 

(GEOFF POINTS TO BILL AND ADDRESSES THE BOYS.

 

'DID YOU NOTICE HOW BILL CHANGED THEN, FIRST HE WAS SAD AND THEN A MOMENT LATER HE WAS HAPPY AGAIN.'

 

Moments before Geoff had deliberately moved his body into 'problematic physiology' - being hunched up and hung over, etc. Bill spontaneously shifted into much the same posture of despair that Geoff had assumed. Moments later, Geoff has Bill switch from profound grief to pleasure in a few seconds.

 

'... AND (PAUSE) YOUR BRAIN CAN (PAUSE) DO THAT ANY TIME YOU WANT (PAUSE) AND THAT'S MARVELOUS ISN'T IT.'

 

Geoff again uses conjunctions, presuppositions, and embedded commands

 

Tapping into the Process

 

Throughout all time special people have been able to have profound capacities to reconnect people to wholesomeness; to being whole, to being together with themselves and being together with friends.

 

And these special people have always been somehow different, and it is this 'difference' that makes the difference. The few pages that we have just shared gives us an introduction to this difference and these new knowings can make a difference to us as well.

 

The youth at Salem Aboriginal Training Farm are profoundly changed during their short stay. Most of Salem's youth arrive with problematic backgrounds, including strife with the authorities, alcohol and substance abuse, and possess little in the way of literacy, numeracy and vocational skills. Most live with the presupposition that their life is worthless.

 

After a few months at Salem they are extremely focused about what they want from life. The majority leave to take up jobs in the rural sector. In large part this behaviour change is initiated during Geoff's morning sessions with the Salem Youth.

 

Geoff works spontaneously and intuitively, and the therapy patterns are continually interwoven into what he does. Geoff is a special person and has a unique way of healing, and experience has shown that once the underlying healing patterns a person is using are identified, others of the right heart and mind can easily learn to follow that way.

 

Further information about Geoff's healing ways may be obtained at:

 

Healing Storytelling

More Healing Ways of Old Man

Geoff Guest - Petford Youth Camp

Healing ways Encyclopaedia

 

The Laceweb Homepage

 

Feedback & Email

 

 

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