Understanding The Emotional Journey Our Clients Experience During Therapy

In this free therapy training, I’ll sketch out the emotional journey therapy our clients take when they book therapy and how you can use the emotional journey to predict how they might feel. This will make it easier for you to plan ahead and to be ready to step in with great resources to keep them motivated and focused on getting results.

Learning Outcomes in the Video

In just over twenty minutes we will cover the following:

  • What is the emotional journey and why it matters
  • The different stages of the emotional journey
  • 8 words that break through resistance and failure mentality
  • The simple system to get client feedback
  • How to manage low points and high points
  • The stress free way to happy clients and a successful therapy practice
  • The resources and support I can give you and you can give your clients

Grow by Giving: If you have a moment, would you please share this free therapy training with your friends and colleagues. I’d really appreciate your support.

What is the Emotional Journey and why It Matters in Therapy

What I am about to share with you today are important psychological insights into the emotional journey our clients take as they move through therapy.  And this training is equally relevant if you are just starting out as a therapist or if you’re already seeing clients.

Because no matter what stage you’re at in the process of building a successful therapy or coaching practice, it will help a lot if you’re able to understand the emotional high points and low points your clients feel at each stage of the process.

You see if you can predict how your clients might feel then you’ll find it easier to meet their needs, help them stay focused on making progress and keep them coming back for more.

Susan Wallace, Author

How It Works With Your Clients

Another thing to mention before we start is that this free therapy training is relevant for you no matter what kind of clients you work with.  Maybe you’re a sports mind coach, and you’re helping a golfer drop their handicap to single digits, or your teaching a team player how take a crucial shot without feeling a wave of anxiety that inhibits flow, or you might be helping a smoker to quit, or someone to lose weight, or to overcome a restrictive phobia. 

You might be coaching someone through a rocky patch in a relationship.  You might even be supporting someone as they move through a life-changing experience whether it’s a positive one or a negative one.

No matter who you are planning on working with, all of your clients will go on an emotional journey as they move through life and through therapy with you.

The Secret to a Successful Therapy Practice

So understanding the emotional journey is an important skill to master if you want to make sure your clients are happy with their progress.

And I’d even go as far as to say that the secret to a successful therapy practice lies in understanding the emotional journey people take, because if you use this training it will show that you have a very deep understanding of the psychology that underpins change-work and this level of client care will elevate your position as truly client-centered coach or therapist.

The Different Stages of the Emotional Journey

So you understand how it works.  Another thing to know is that I’m not here to tell you what to do, I’m sharing what I do in my general therapy practice and how I prepare for all of my students on my Triple Diploma Course in Hypnotherapy and Mind Coaching because they just like you and just like your clients will all go through a version of it too.

You see, learning new skills brings its own unique set of challenges that have to be met and overcome. These ups and downs create emotional high points and low points and with a bit of feedback and analysis we can begin to map them out.

So let’s take a look at a typical emotional journey of a client, so you can see how it works. 

Here’s an example of a typical emotional journey your clients will take during therapy

First of all, we have two axis, we have a positive emotion line on one side and results over time runs along the bottom.

There Are Four Distinct Stages

As you can see there are four distinct stages in the emotional journey.  And we all go through them as we learn new skills.

#1 The Starting Out Phase

This is where we are fearful about change.  We are uncertain and unsure that we can do it.  We worry a little and generally speaking this is where we all need a blast of confidence and a boost to our self-esteem. We alternate quickly between excitement, worry, a little fear and a lot of joy as we discover new things about ourselves.  We say things to ourselves like ooooh this is so exciting, oops I can see now I’m going to have to make an effort, ah this is a bit harder than I thought.

#2 The Action/Experimentation phase

We step out of our comfort zone.  Our coach or therapist gives us some tools to help us manage feelings of anxiety, we learn how to answer back any sabotaging thoughts and we learn how to tap into positive emotion. We make some fantastic progress and then things go wrong.  An unexpected challenge can frustrate us and we have to learn how to manage set-backs without becoming overwhelmed by them.

#3 The Solidifying Phase

This is where we are willing to step outside our comfort zone and soon we begin to find our growing edge. This is the stage where we know we have the answers inside of us and where we begin to realise that we have the tools to fix ourselves. There is still a lot of trial and effort but instead of making us feel uncomfortable… effort and experimentation becomes enjoyable and exciting.

#4 The Expanding Phase

But of course, we must be realistic and accept that the road to success is never straightforward, it’s filled with many dips and bumps, corners and curves as you try and find your way. As therapists and coaches, our job is to predict when high points and low points are likely to happen and to be ready to step in with the support our clients need.

How To See Patterns Emerge

It becomes much easier to understand the emotional journey your clients take when you see a number of clients for the same thing. When you see clients with similar problems, you’ll begin to see patterns developing as they move through each of the stages.

Remember that the journey will be a little bit different for each client, because each client is different and has their own unique experiences. So how do you predict the emotional journey they will take? Well the best way to do that is to ask your clients for feedback as they go through therapy with you. 

8 Words That Break Through Client Resistance and Failure Mentality

How do you go about asking your clients for feedback?  Avoid saying the following:

Let me know how you are getting on and if things go wrong get in touch!!!

Do not say this!

You don’t want to say this because you don’t want to suggest to them that things will go wrong, because that’s like a negative hypnotic suggestion. Yet you want to be realistic and not set expectations too high because if expectations are too high that could create feelings of failure and break the trust and rapport you’ve created with your client.

So how can you navigate this tricky area?   Well in Neuro Linguistic Programming we have an empowering belief that tells us ‘there is no such thing as failure only feedback’.

There’s No Such Thing As Failure Only Feedback

When we share this empowering belief with our clients we help them to understand how important it is for them to pay attention to the changes that are taking place, to notice what is working for them and what areas still need attention.  Equally important is that they communicate that information back to us.  This creates a positive feedback loop between the client and the therapist.

Once you have explained that this is how you work then it’s simply a matter of establishing the best times to get that feedback.

The Best Times To Ask For Feedback

A good time to do this is at the start of a session but a better time to ask for it would be when you touch base with clients between session.  On our triple diploma in hypnotherapy and mind coaching we call these Clarity Calls.

Six Big Benefits to Adding Clarity Calls to Your Therapy Process

  1. They allow you to check in with your client between sessions and clients love getting the extra support.
  2. They only last between 5 – 15 minutes max but for something so short they are filled with value that goes beyond monetary price – in fact most of your clients will tell you that the support between sessions is priceless.
  3. It’s worth noting that most therapists charge a small fee or build it into their pricing structure. Remember your clients book coaching or therapy not because they want coaching or therapy but because they want results. Offering additional support like this makes it clear that you understand what they want and you’re committed to supporting them.
  4. By checking in with your clients between sessions it means you can plan their next session in advance and you won’t have any unexpected surprises when they show up for their session. When you are starting out as a therapist you want to remove as much as the stress and worry from your sessions as possible.
  5. In time, you’ll be able to predict how a client might feel at each given stage. With this knowledge, you can step-in with important resources that will keep them motivated and on track.
  6. Your clients will appreciate your thoughtfulness as you explain that the way they are feeling is typical for most clients at this stage of therapy.

If You’re A Bit Like Me

And hey, I’m guessing if you’re a bit like me, you’d like to know how your clients are doing between sessions because it means that you’ll be able to plan their session before they show up and remove as much as the effort from the session before it starts.  I love showing up feeling confident and competent.  I like being planned and prepared for my clients and getting feedback between sessions allows me to raise my game.

What to do if you get feedback from your client and they are experiencing a low point?

The best thing to do obviously is to explore that low point.  Ask them what went wrong and then step in with a short intervention that will work by phone or by Skype or any other remote method. Remember this is a short coaching call so you’re not going to do any deep therapy work.  You simply want to teach them a technique or give them a tool to get them through the rough patch until they show up for their next session.  The Clarity Call is about building positive momentum and reminding them that there’s no such thing as failure only feedback.

Remind them that change is uncomfortable because we have to go through transition and that’s the fuzzy bit in the middle that no one likes.

If you look closely at the low point you’ll discover that one of the following is taking place. 

  1. They are sabotaging their own efforts with an unhelpful internal dialogue.
  2. They are struggling to change a behavoiur because they can’t get in the zone or
  3. They aren’t able to access the right feeling at the right time to push past their problem.

No matter who your clients are if they are experiencing a low point, it’s because unexpected challenges and obstacles have come their way that are causing them to feel frustrated or feel like a failure and that’s ok too. Because that’s life!

Now you might be thinking but Susan I don’t know anything I could do in just 10 or 15 minutes by phone or online. And that might be true but if you had access to our 101 Therapy Interventions for Busy Therapists then you’d have lots of tools and techniques, well you’d have 101 tools and techniques you could share with your client by phone, or by skype or even in person and ones that you could easily do in a short ten minutes. I can talk a bit more about that later on if you think it might be useful for you. but for now let’s stick to our learning outcomes.


What do you do when clients are experiencing a high point?

When clients report that they are doing great and they are really pleased with their progress, you want to acknowledge that this is happening because they are making effort and effort is paying off.  This supports what we call a growth-based mindset in positive psychology. 

Also this is the perfect time to ask them to refer other people to you. Because let’s face it, those of us who work in therapy don’t really like marketing and we often feel uncomfortable about the idea of ‘selling ourselves’ or promoting ourselves and in many ways marketing takes us away from what we like to do best.  So why not leverage the power of positive progress and ask your clients to refer some other people to you.  Now there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it and it’s something I teach on another course.Meanw

A Stress Free Approach for Happy Clients and a Successful Therapy Practice

The next learning outcome is my suggestion for a stress free approach for happy clients and a successful therapy practice.

Here we go, why not add a few Clarity Calls to your therapy offering.  Keep them under 15 minutes, remember they are focused on getting feedback so you can map out the emotional journey your clients take and also they will help make sure you stay one step ahead of your clients. Share a tool or a technique with your clients to get them over a rough spot and keep them motivated to attend their next live session.

The kind of tools you can share would include tools to help them answer back their sabotaging self talk, manage any feelings of anxiety they have or boost their mood or improve their mindset.

Here’s How It Works In My Therapy Business

So let me explain how it works in my own therapy business.

You see for half of the year, my students are my clients. I work with them on their personal and professional issues during live demonstrations in the classroom and in private practice. And I use the emotional journey to help make the learning experience as enjoyable as possible when they book on my double diploma in hypnotherapy and mind coaching course.

You see if you are just starting out or even if you are a counsellor or psychotherapist who wants to add strategic hypnotherapy and mind coaching to your portfolio then I know that when you sign up for the double diploma course that you will be stepping out of your comfort zone too.

So for the past nineteen years that I have been teaching, I have been mapping out the emotional journey my students take.

I Step In With Great Resources and You Can Too!

This means that every year when I run the course and I am able to step in with the resources students need so they can get the best from the course and to make sure that no student gets left behind.

Three Online Discovery Sessions

For example, I’ll give you three online Discovery Sessions.  These are similar to Clarity Calls but they are longer and last for 30 minutes.  We will connect by phone or by Skype and everything we do is focused on you.  It’s not a sales call.  It’s an opportunity for me to get to know you and to share the little bit of expertise I’ve built up over the years so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I’ve made along the way.

Access to 101 Therapy Interventions Online

I’ll also give you access to our 101 Therapy Interventions online.  You’ll be able to access 101 therapy interventions you can use with your clients from the convenience of your mobile phone.  This means that you’ll never be stuck for something to say or do with a client ever again – whether you’re on a clarity call or in a therapy session or if you’re running a group, seminar or a workshop.

Here’s a short video on our 101 Therapy Interventions for Busy Therapists. It comes free when you book a place on our Double Diploma Course

That’s just some of the ways I step in with resources to ensure my students enjoy the emotional journey on my Triple Diploma in Hypnotherapy, Mind Coaching and Online Therapy diploma course.

But you don’t have to sign-up now to take advantage of the resources I have created.  You can scroll down to the end of the page and book yourself in for a Discovery Session today. 

This session lasts 30 minutes and we do it by phone or by Skype.  On the call, we will put our heads together and figure out if learning hypnotherapy and mind coaching could help you build a successful therapy practice.

During the call, I will help you recognize ways you might be sabotaging your progress, highlight any opportunities you may be missing out on and last but not least I’ll make sure you leave the call, feeling energized and motivated to take the next step – whatever that may be for you.

So as always I’m going to end this free training with a musical anchor to help create the mental space so you can reply to the questions if you decide to book a discovery session with me Susan Wallace.

This is our musical anchor. Three minutes of time out for you to take what you need from this training and use it to build a lifestyle friendly therapy practice that you will love!