Author Archives: Matthew Elton

Online workshop: The Drama Triangle II – Mon 16 May 2022

I ran a workshop on The Drama Triangle on 10th January 2022 as part of the Link Centre‘s CPD series. You can get a video of that event from the Link Centre. I was delighted to be asked to do a follow workshop: The Drama Triangle II: Exploring New Angles. The workshop will be standalone, so no need to have attended the January one. But  it’s will complement that, so if you did come in January there’ll be lots of new stuff and only a small amount of overlap / revision.

You can book on to this event via: Eventbrite – The Drama Triangle II – Exploring New Angles

About this event

The Drama Triangle is a powerful tool for understanding how we can get into unhelpful patterns with other people where we become caught up in the role of either Rescuer, Persecutor, or Victim. We’ll begin with a brief overview of the Drama Triangle. and then move on to explore the idea of its “life support system”. That is, we will be asking, what, for each client, are the ideas and people (both past and present) that have the effect of encouraging them to act as if adopting the Victim, Rescuer, or Persecutor roles will help them to solve problems in their lives.

The workshop will:

  • provide a concise introduction / refresher on the Drama Triangle
  • describe some practical ways of using the Drama Triangle with clients focussing on understanding why the roles can feel so appealing
  • introduce the idea of the “life support system” for the Drama Triangle and talk about the potential benefits of separating the person from the problem
  • explore how therapists can also get gripped by the Drama Triangle roles: we can Rescue clients (by being over-helpful), become Victims (when we feel useless and unable to help), and even Persecute (when we get frustrated with our clients)
  • discuss ways that both clients and therapists can step off the Drama Triangle and construct “life support systems” for preferred ways of solving problems in our lives and our therapy rooms.

The workshop will draw on some theoretical ideas from Transactional Analysis theorists (Stephen Karpman, Fanita English, Sue Eusden) as well as drawing on the tradition of Narrative Therapy (Michael White and others).

The workshop will mix teaching, Q&A, and some brief exercises. No prior knowledge of the Drama Triangle will be assumed. This workshop explores different material from Matthew’s earlier (Jan 10th 2022) Drama Triangle workshop, so it’s suitable as a standalone session or for previous attendees wanting to learn more.

This workshop will be recorded and you can use the ticket function to pre-purchase the recording before the event. This will be useful for colleagues who are not able to attend the event live and also for those who attend the event live and want to watch again.

Workshop slide

Online workshop: Not Knowing and Deciding – Sat 26th Feb 2022

This was a workshop that was part of the TA Cumbria Conference 2022.

Workshop Outline

We can all get hooked on wanting certainty before we make a decision, e.g. to quit a job, to leave a relationship, to attempt to begin one, or to begin a difficult conversation. In this workshop we’ll explore some different ideas of moving into action even when we might lack what we feel is critical information. We will look at some ways of working with clients who want to “know” before they can “act”, but are then stuck in an apparently endless state of “not knowing”. How can we help such clients to feel and think differently about knowledge and action or, in other ways, move out of their stuckness?

Online workshop: Working with Clients Who are Compulsively Nice – Tue 25 Jan 2022

When overly nice people face challenges in their lives, they can sometimes go into an overdrive of niceness in order to maintain feeling Ok about themselves, others and the world. However, instead of helping, such a policy can lead to all sorts of negative effects: depression, anxiety, outbursts of anger, etc.

This workshop looks at some ways of working with overly nice clients including the use of provocative (and “not nice”) language in the therapy room, words such as “brash”, “edgy”, or “forceful”. How can such words be used, in an OK way, to challenge and disrupt an “excess of niceness in a constructive way.

We will also acknowledge the ways in which the meaning of “niceness”, “brash”, “edgy”, “forceful”, etc. can be different for men and for women, for those with more power and those with less. Some of this difference is due to cultural stories that swirl around us – both old and new – of what it is to be a good and kind woman or a good and kind man. While many “new” cultural stories aim to empower – for example, we often think we are more progressive than our parents’ generation – they can also oppress.

In the workshop participants will:

  • hear about two case studies (one man, and one woman) where the client was able to find their edge and take a stand against an “excess of niceness”
  • examine how cultural stories about “niceness” (and kindness, and compassion) can both empower (be used as tools) as well as oppress (be used as weapons). We’ll also ask about the stories that shape different therapy cultures, i.e. ask if/when/how therapists’ risk being caught up in an “excess of niceness”.
  • explore the use of “pokey interventions” – interventions that are definitely not “nice”, are definitely risky, but can be effective in working with “nice” people
  • discuss how ideas/methods, such as Non-Violent Communication (a “nice” way to communicate) can sometimes be weapons and not tools
  • touch on some connections between “niceness” and “brashness” and the theoretical ideas of “shadow” (from Jung)

This 2-hour workshop will be recorded and you can use the ticket function to pre-purchase the recording before the event. This will be useful for colleagues who are not able to attend the event live and also for those who attend the event live and want to watch again.

This workshop will be hosted on the Zoom meeting platform where we will use our camera and microphones to interact with each other as a group.

To support practitioners in this time of extraordinary circumstances we are offering access to this group for a self-select fee.

The self-select fee is a radical inclusion policy to open learning for all colleagues. The guide price for this event is £20.00, however, we appreciate that income varies greatly in different locations and circumstances. Please contribute what you can to help us maintain inclusive professional training.

Online workshop: The Drama Triangle – Mon 10 Jan 2022

I ran workshop as part of the Link Centre’s CPD series on Monday 10 January. A video of the session is available from the Link Centre. And there is a part two workshop coming up in May 2022.

The Drama Triangle makes sense of repeated patterns we get into with other people where we become caught up in the role of either Rescuer, Persecutor, or Victim. In this workshop we will look at how to use The Drama Triangle in the therapy room. How can it help clients make sense and move out of problematic patterns? We’ll also look at a key development of the theory, The Winner’s Triangle.

Like any powerful tool, The Drama Triangle, can be harmful as well as helpful. So, we will also explore how labels such as Victim, Persecutor, or Rescuer can be used – sometimes unwittingly – to box people in or to silence and oppress them.

In the workshop participants will:

  • be introduced to the Drama Triangle and The Winner’s Triangle
  • learn some practical ways of using the triangles with clients
  • explore some connections with the Transactional Analysis concept of “discounting” and it’s complement “accounting”
  • discuss risks that come with the use of The Drama Triangle and its language of Victim, Rescuer, and Persecutor

The workshop will mix teaching with a breakout session for participants to explore their reactions to the ideas and try them out in some short exercises.

No prior knowledge of The Drama Triangle will be assumed.

 

Online session: Maps & Gaps – NETAC Sat 6 Nov 2021

I’m looking forward to contributing to the online day of this year’s North East Transactional Analysis Conference. I’m going to be doing the closing session of what looks like a great day. In my session I’ll be exploring some ideas about frames of reference – or “our maps of the world”. I’ll be building on some of the material in chapter 16 of Talking It Better and also relating it to some of the other workshops on the day.

Closing Plenary: Maps and Gaps – Putting the Concept of Frames of Reference to Practical Use

Matthew Elton, Diploma in Transactional Analysis Counselling (CPTI. Edinburgh)

When our clients have different maps of the world from other important people in their lives, how can we help them manage the tensions that will arise without either pathologising others or themselves? Frames of reference can be so all encompassing that it’s hard to see outside of them. And even when we can intellectually see beyond them, in a theoretical way, this is not always enough. We’ll explore some practical techniques for helping people reflect on their own and others’ maps of the world and to both intellectually and viscerally see beyond them.

Online workshop: The Responsiveness Ladder – Mon 10 May 2021

I’m delighted to be part of a the Link Centre‘s ongoing series of CPD workshops organised cooperation with onlinevents. The workshop is being offered on the self-select fee model. Contribute what you can, with a guide price of £20, or, if you can’t afford to contribute, pay nothing at all.

You can book a place at www.eventbrite.co.uk.

The Responsiveness Ladder: A Practical Tool for Handling Communication Failures workshop with Matthew Elton

The workshop introduces the Responsiveness Ladder, a practical tool developed by Matthew to help clients and therapists understand and talk about why well-intentioned offers of support, comfort and practical advice can repeatedly go very wrong. The core idea is that at any time each of us occupy a rung of our responsiveness ladder. If an offer of support is pitched too high, at a rung that is several steps above where we are, then it is likely to fail – it’ll be seen as unhelpful, discounting, or even antagonistic. The image of the ladder and its rungs can help both client and therapist understand why things go wrong and provide ideas for how to do things differently.

The Responsiveness Ladder is a practical way of distinguishing what a person “can” manage, by way of receiving support at a given moment. In the spirit of Transactional Analysis, the Responsiveness Ladder is described in simple language that is intended to empower both client and therapist by providing them with blame-free ways of thinking about how communication can fail and practical ideas about how it can be repaired.

In the workshop participants will:

  • learn about the Responsiveness Ladder and how to use it with clients – the rungs of the ladder are not universal, so part of the fun of using the tool is working with clients to find descriptions / names for their unique ladder
  • learn how the Responsiveness Ladder is similar to but different from some other tools/ideas that help us understand communication failure, e.g. the Drama Triangle, Ego States, passivity and Games
  • look at some worries – raised by both clients and therapists – to the Responsiveness Ladder, most critically that it invites us to (unhelpfully) “Rescue” or “baby” a person instead of encouraging them to “be more adult”
  • touch on connections between the idea of developmental stages and regression and the simpler (but more tailored to the client) idea of rungs on the ladder

The workshop will mix teaching with regular breakouts for participants to explore their reactions to the ideas and also an experiential exercise where participants can have a go and drawing up their own Responsiveness Ladder.

You can book a place at www.eventbrite.co.uk.

Online workshop: Talking It Better – Tue Mar 16, 2021

I’m pleased to be invited back to onlinevents.co.uk to run a workhsop based on some of the ideas in my book Talking It Better. Onlinevents have been running workshops, lectures, and interviews for counsellors and therapists for years. But over the last twelve months or so, they’ve hugely upped their game. There are lots of good resources on their site. And you can join up for a fee and get access to a library of previous broadcasts.

At the moment all their events are being done using the “self-select” fee model:

To support practitioners in this time of extraordinary circumstances we are offering access to this group for a self-select fee.

The self-select fee is a radical inclusion policy to open learning for all colleagues. The guide price for this event is £20.00, however, we appreciate that income varies greatly in different locations and circumstances. Please contribute what you can to help us maintain inclusive professional training.

About the workshop

Clients – as well as therapists – often hope that gaining insight will smooth the path to making significant change. But all too often, even though gaining insight provides some relief, the therapeutic process remains stuck. This workshop will look closely at this type of therapeutic block, offer some ways of explaining it, and provide practical ideas for how to overcome it.

In particular, we will explore an analogy between achieving psychological change and acquiring complex practical skills, such as driving, sight-reading music, or playing tennis. In all these cases we recognize that just knowing the theory – the equivalent of insight – is not enough. To develop skills also requires practice. Usually, we have to attempt to exercise these skills “badly” before we’re able to exercise them “well”. Sometimes, as with tennis, to gain the skill we also need to practice with another person. I will make the case that the analogy has much to offer practitioners and their clients and, further, that therapeutic work can fruitfully borrow lessons from music, sport, and the learning of other complex skills.

In the workshop we will:

  • share experiences of work where the gap between insight and change has arisen in the therapy room
  • look at and discuss some case studies where the practical skill analogy has helped both practitioner and client make sense of and overcome stuckness
  • learn about some specific techniques inspired by this way of thinking about insight, change, and stuckness
  • reflect on some of the potential advantages as well as limitations of this approach.

Online workshop: Being an OK practitioner (TA Cumbria) – Sat Feb 27 2021

sheep in Cumbria

Update: My colleagues at TA Cumbria have uploaded the:

(It doesn’t get going for a few minutes, so you might want to skip forward to the 8 minute mark.)

I’m going to be running a workshop at the TA Cumbria conference in February 2021. I usually attend this event in person, but this year the conference is going to be all online. I hope that, even though it’s online, the organisers and presenters will be able to find ways to generate a sense of place. In previous years at TA Cumbria, I’ve always appreciated that.

I’m thinking about how I might generate that sense of place just now. Maybe I’ll just end up with some pictures of sheep – but perhaps I can do better than that.

Workshop outline

What qualities does the practitioner need to bring to their work and what qualities do they need to encourage in their clients? This workshop builds on ideas from Transactional Analysis – such as the “I’m OK, You’re OK” position – looking at three key qualities: being welcoming, bringing curiosity and challenge, and the holding of hope. Faced with what the client can bring, the practitioner needs to be active and skilful in order to keep these qualities fully alive. And they also need to find ways to match and mirror where the client is at, not showing more welcome, curiosity, or hope than can be tolerated at any given moment.

Background

In the workshop I will be drawing on some of the material from chapters 4 and 5 of my book Talking It Better. Here’s a brief extract from chapter 4, where I am discussing the challenging of being welcoming of a person, even what it’s hard to hear what they have to say.

Perhaps more critically, the practitioner also needs to be sufficiently skilled and resourced to hear and welcome the toughest of stories. I’m thinking here of stories that might not be aired in many social settings and might not even be aired with those we are closest to: stories of being sexually abused as a child; of being physically attacked; of being sexually assaulted; of being bullied and mistreated – perhaps over many years. There are other kinds of horror too: stories in which a person is stuck, unable to find joy in their life and self-destructively wrecking all promising avenues of help and change; stories of going around the same hellish loop again and again.

Such stories make for uncomfortable hearing. But I need to make sure I am familiar with and able to manage this kind of discomfort. If I am doing my job right, this discomfort will not dominate or over-steer the way I respond to the help-seeker’s story. It will not bounce me into a response that would match a pre-given social template or that primarily serves my need to settle and soothe myself. That is, I can experience the discomfort and still be able to steer myself by what the help-seeker needs.

And, further, if things are going well, I can actually use my own discomfort as a resource. It may carry useful information for both me and the help-seeker.

For the practitioner, part of knowing how to hear such stories is having the space – the room to take a breath and make an active decision rather than just act – to decide what part of their discomfort to share and what to manage on their own.

There’s a lot more about it in the book. And I’m looking forward to exploring these ideas with the workshop participants in, as it were, Cumbria.

Slides

Book: Talking It Better

Talking It Better (book cover)

I’ve written a book about counselling and psychotherapy. It’s called Talking It Better: From Insight to Change in the Therapy Room and is due out on February 4th 2021. I’ll be posting a little more about this in the coming weeks. In the meantime you can find out more about the book or even pre-order at:

  • PCCS Books – be sure to check out the rest of the PCCS catalogue too. There are some really great books.
  • Amazon

The book’s a wee bit chapter (£14 as opposed to £15.99) if you buy it direct from PCCS. I get some tiny kick back if you click on the Amazon link and buy it that way.


About the book

Talking it Better is a practical book about the everyday practice of counselling and psychotherapy, written by a practitioner for fellow practitioners. Using case studies based on his own clients, Elton carefully examines what helps and what hinders the process of change in the therapy room. At the heart of therapeutic work, he argues, is the development of effective mind skills. He explains how counsellors and therapists can borrow valuable ideas from the teachers of skills such as swimming, reading music or learning to drive. And he shows us that, when it comes to developing our mind skills, practice is often far more important than insight or theory. Marie-Anne wants to manage the sergeant major in her head who keeps telling her what to do. Calum wants to learn to hear what his partner is really saying, rather than what he fears she is. Isobel wants to stop rushing to help people and then resenting them because they take her for granted. These, and the many other characters in this book, were profoundly stuck until, through talking it better , each found a unique path taking them closer to the self they would prefer to be.

Advanced praise for the book

This is a beautifully written, accessible and inspiring book, that has a lot to offer to both novice and experienced counsellors and psychotherapists, and also to clients. Matthew Elton invites other practitioners to look over his shoulder to find out how another colleague works. The reader is introduced to an array of vividly-depicted individuals who are seeking assistance to deal with life difficulties that are typical in therapy clients, such as anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties, stress, and recovery from trauma. Elton’s approach is highly collaborative. He writes about how he seeks to facilitate shared reflection on what does and does not work for the person, with the aim of creating a bespoke approach that varies from one help-seeker to another. Although he acknowledges the theoretical influences and training that have shaped his practice, one of the most striking and impressive aspects of the book is the extent to which he has integrated these influences, alongside aspects of his personal life experience, into a personal style that both demystifies therapy and is highly authentic. I enjoyed reading this book, learned from it, and would recommend it to anyone – practitioner or help-seeker – who is interested in understanding how therapy can make a difference. Julia McLeod, Lecturer in Counselling and Psychotherapy, Abertay University and co-author of Counselling Skills: A practical guide for counsellors and helping professionals.

I read this book avidly, riveted by the author’s creativity, the clarity of his presentation, and by the rich, compassionate case studies that weave through his writing from beginning to end. Informed by a range of psychological and learning theories, Matthew Elton generously and modestly shares his thoughts on what is possible to achieve through collaborative endeavour within a trusting relationship between help-seeker and practitioner. Beyond theory, he combines his breadth and depth of knowledge with his professional and personal experience to address how to help people bring themselves closer to becoming their ‘preferred selves’. Practitioners of differing approaches and levels of experience will find this book refreshingly practical. It encourages us to explore and experiment, to respectfully and sensitively work with long-established frames of reference (recognising the part played by our own), and to actively work through the ‘blocks’ that maintain our stuck patterns. Phil Lapworth, counsellor, psychotherapist, supervisor and author of Tales from the Therapy Room and Listen Carefully.

Here is an accessible and beautifully written account of how a psychotherapist understands and works with the people who seek his help. It is both rich in metaphor and eminently pragmatic. Matthew invites us to ‘look over his shoulder’ to see how he makes sense of and responds to a range of issues that his clients bring and that many helping practitioners will recognise from their own practice. I enjoyed this invitation and the unfolding stories, interwoven with distilled yet lightly held theoretical models and reflections, of helping people move from being stuck to finding their preferred ways of feeling, thinking and behaving. I also appreciate how, throughout the book, Matthew shares his impulses, dilemmas, options and choices at various points, mindfully demonstrating his ethical sensibilities. I never had the sense of being told how to do this work from a one-up expert position. Instead, I experienced a caring and skilled practitioner sharing his craft. What a gift! Graeme Summers, coach, trainer and author and co-developer of co-creative transactional analysis. See: co-creativity.com. Graeme is the co-author of Co-Creative Transactional Analysis.

In this engaging book, therapist Matthew Elton takes us on journeys with people who come to him for help, exploring the ‘internal blocks’ that get in the way of making changes in their lives. On one level, this is a book for therapists and counsellors. But it’s written with a lightness of touch that makes it accessible to someone who doesn’t know the first thing about psychotherapy or counselling. Indeed, it would be an excellent book for someone who thinks they might benefit from therapeutic help but is unsure of what it might involve or how it might help them. Fundamentally, it’s a book about the possibility of changing ourselves in ways that make us better equipped to deal with whatever the world throws at us. I really loved it. Helen Beebee, Professor of Philosophy, University of Manchester – author of Free Will: an introduction and, with Michael Rush, Philosophy: Why It Matters.

Nice work: how men and women can find their sharp edges (workshop for therapists)

Here are some details of a workshop I presented at TA Cumbria in February 2020. Many thanks to the hugely engaged participants at the workshop. As with some of my other workshops, I like the idea that I might write this up as a stand alone article at some point. In the meantime, though, here are some elements of the workshop.

Outline

When “nice” people struggle they can double down on “niceness” in order to be OK with themselves, others, and the world. But instead of helping, such a policy can lead to depression, anxiety, outbursts of anger, etc. This workshop looks at various ways of working with “nice” people including the use of provocative (and “not nice”) language – such as “swagger”, “edge”, or “forcefulness” – to challenge and disrupt an “excess of niceness”.

We will explored ways in which the meaning of “niceness”, “swagger”, “edge”, “forcefulness”, etc. can be very different for men and for women. Part of this difference is due to cultural stories that swirl around us – both old and new – of what it is to be a good and kind woman or a good and kind man. While many “new” cultural stories aim to empower – we think we are more progressive than our parents’ generation – they can also oppress.

These themes will be explored through examples of therapeutic work with men and women, exercises illustrating techniques for working with “niceness”, and group discussion.

More about the workshop

Picture of Frederic Douglass
I opened the workshop with a quote from Frederick Douglass:

Those who profess to favour freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men people who want crops without ploughing up the ground.

  • Adapted from Frederick Douglass 1818-1895 – described as an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman.

A key theme for the workshop was what I called the “tyranny of niceness”. “Niceness” here is intended to parallel a strong aversion to “ploughing up the ground”. We can agree that “niceness” has its place. And we can value politeness, respect, kindness, and a strong desire to avoid offending, disturbing, or harming others. And, at the same time, we can recognise that sometimes other values will trump things that are on the “nice” axis.

Ani DiFrancoAnother quote I used as a reference point in the workshop comes from Ani DiFranco:

’cause every tool is a weapon if you hold it right

  • Part of “My IQ” from Puddle Dive (1993). Ani DiFranco is described variously as a “voice of positive social change” and as a singer/songwriter.

This quote  and the idea of thinking about tools/weaposns in a therapeutic context introduced to me by Vikki Reynolds at a workshop in Edinburgh in 2018. (I highly recommend Vikki’s workshops – and you can check out her written work on her website.)

Megan Rapinoe playing footballMy third reference point isn’t a quote but simply an idea: the idea of a “contact sport”.

contact sport is any sport for which significant physical impact force on players, either deliberate or incidental, is allowed or within the rules of the game.

Just like football, I suggested, life is a contact sport. That is to say, significant emotional impact, either deliberate or incidental, is “allowed”. And, like life, I further suggested, “therapy” is a contact sport. That is the “rules” allow for significant emotional forces to be exchanged. There will be emotional contact. There may be emotional bruises. There will certainly be falls and mud on the face. And none of this need be an indication that anything has gone wrong. The tyranny of niceness, however, would not allow such impacts. Or would see such impacts as an indication that something had gone wrong.

To object the tyranny of niceness is not to provide a licence for cruelty. The point of using the phrase “the tyranny of niceness” is to make visible something that can be influential on us but unseen. If unseen – and unexamined – it may have an influence that we would, on reflection, reject or want to modify. Participants at the workshop explored their own attitudes to “niceness” and the extent to which they agreed or disagree with the suggestion that both life and therapy are “contact sports”.

Other ideas explored in the workshop included:

  • Diagram analysing "If you don't want to get hurt, don't play"Different ways of thinking about the statement “If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t play.” Participants were presented with this statement in written form on a slide, i.e. without any particular intonation. I asked them to reflect on how the statement “landed” with them. We then used some tools from transactional analysis to look at some different ways of mapping how it might be intended and how it might land.
  • Two case studies – one of work with a man and another of work with a woman – where the people seeking help were caught up with “excessive niceness” and could not find their edge. I described how I used some language that could be heard as transgressive, such as “swagger”. (There was also some swearing.)
    • In both cases studies the person’s father had been very far from nice. The fathers showed an excess of swagger, of callousness, of selfishness. I speculated alongside these clients that they might be concerned to avoid showing these qualities, concerned of being in any way like their fathers.
    • The idea I explored with the clients is that their “niceness” was an attempt “not be like dad”. I talked about how at times I made what felt like very transgressive statements, such as “What would it be like to channel a bit of your dad sometimes?” Such suggestions were disturbing to both me and the clients. With my clients, and then with the workshop participants, I explored whether we needed to be “edgy” to in order to disturb the tyranny of niceness that seemed to dominate these clients. That is, we wondered whether there was a “nice” way to free them up.
    • Both clients to some degrees “organised” themselves – or some of the feeling, thinking, and behaviour – in response to the example set by their father. Their initial “decision” was to be “not like dad”. I wondered alongside them whether they would prefer to reach a position where it didn’t matter whether some of their conduct was “dad like” or not, so long as it was conduct that they, in the here and now, thought was OK by them. We were exploring whether they could be “edgy” (or “fierce” or “show swagger” or “stand up for themselves” or “put themselves first”) without becoming monsters.
    • A key background idea was that while they were afraid of becoming monsters, they needed to stick to being “nice” at all costs.
  • We talked about non-violent communication and wondered whether as well as being a tool it can sometimes be a weapon.
  • We talked about Jung’s idea of the shadow. Much of the workshop content could be theorised in term of that idea. I don’t always find the shadow metaphor intuitive and don’t always find the theoretical discussion around it easy to follow. But I wanted to acknowledge the connections to what, for me, feel like more familiar and accessible words and ideas.
  • We talked a little bit about gender and various “nice” and “nasty” expressions.
  • We talked about what I call “pokey interventions”. This is where what the therapist says is definitely not “nice”. It’s not “nasty” either. But it gets right into a conflict and does so recognising that there is a risk that it might go awry – it could be powerful, but it could also be hurtful. Such moves are done on the basis that if there is a rupture, it can be repaired. And they are done on the basis that without disturbing the client in some way, we may not be assisting them. “Pokey interventions” need to be used with caution!