The context for these videos
Each post in this short series is from Alec’s weekly livestream to the Facebook group Finding the Balance with Anxiety Freedom Cards. Each week I focus upon one of our innate resources or needs as depicted in the Anxiety Freedom Cards. And the reason I’m doing this is to show you how you too can live a life free from anxiety and stress.
Please let me know what you think by scrolling to the bottom and commenting below!
Below is a direct transcript from the video shown above.
Hello and welcome to another Tuesday Two o’clock Topic on this Tuesday the 20th of July. Today is the second week on the topic of rapport. One of our innate skills, one of our innate resources and a very important part of life. It has a part to play in every aspect of communication with other human beings.
And last week I went through the basics of rapport. I talked about how it was essentially an exercise in mirroring and matching and being on the same wavelength as somebody else in order to communicate with them. This week I’m going to run through the worksheet, which you might choose to download and print out and use with your clients. If that’s useful to you feel free to do that. I also want to talk a bit about the problems of communicating without rapport.
I mentioned the quotation by George Bernard Shaw last week, that the biggest problem in the field of communication is the illusion that it’s taken place. Well, that’s exactly what happens when we try to communicate without rapport.
I take part in a couple of weekly zoom based discussion groups on different topics. And one of them is a, a group that discusses dreaming. But over the last couple of weeks, it’s been turning rather slightly towards being a sort of a therapy or support group, because there are a number of people in the group who are struggling for one reason or another. And I’m very aware of the difficulties in talking about therapy, from my perspective, as someone who is enjoying life and feeling pretty healthy and pretty fit, and I’ve dealt with all of my issues, also I feel, and I’m pretty upbeat about things. And when I’m talking to people who are struggling, then it would be useful if I could get into a rapport with them. And that’s obviously done routinely in the therapy room, when you’re working face-to-face with someone. You don’t tell them how good your life is if they’re struggling, that’s not going to build rapport. But people are interested in my knowledge and my experience and they ask me questions. And so I feel sort of honor bound to share what I do know for instance about depression and things like that. But it’s so difficult because people are asking for information, but on a zoom call with lots of people on the call, you can’t really develop that sense of rapport. And so I feel I have to be very careful about what I share because at the end of the day, it’s just information and it’s no substitute for working with someone, connecting with someone, listening to what’s going on for them and sharing just what is appropriate.
And I think in a sense that’s part of the difficulty of doing a live call like this, a live broadcast is that if you don’t comment or get back to me or share your response or your thoughts or your criticisms or anything at all, I’m kind of like just, you know, shouting out into the void and there is no rapport. And that’s one of the reasons why I really encourage you to drop a comment if you’re watching us online, or if you’re watching it on the replay so that I know what my audience are thinking. And so please don’t be shy about doing that. It doesn’t have to be particularly meaningful, but if obviously, if you do have any questions, then I’ll do my best to answer them either during the call or afterwards.
So yeah, one of these discussion groups is sort of turning a little bit into a therapy help group, but not effectively because we can’t do it in a realistic sense. And I think there’s a limit to the value of explanations about anything to do with therapy. You know, we talk about how we approach trauma. We talk about how we’ve all these conversations have come up in the last couple of weeks about understanding of the cycle of depression, but not everybody needs to know the same stuff. Some people are very interested in the theoretical underlying model. Some people just want to get better and without rapport, you can never work those things out.
And it’s been, it’s been a constant theme really recently for me. I was listening to some parents explaining to an angry child the other day, and the child was in no fit state to, to be receptive to information. So explanations were, to my mind, completely pointless to this upset child who’d been ranting and raving a little bit. And the mum was saying, “Love is about..” this and that and respect. And that she was doing it with an angry voice and there was absolutely no rapport. So there was very little chance of any communication between the two of them. And I think in those situations, it’s quite sad because it’s really the duty of the adult in that relationship to take the upper hand and to realise that communication on those terms is not going to be effective and it wasn’t effective.
And again, it’s not my part to jump in and offer advice or pointers. You know, we’re all finding our own way in the world, but I do think it’s important that we ask for help when we need it. And that’s, that’s about using our rapport skill, reaching out to others and seeking to make a connection.
I think there is also something a bit magical about face-to-face proximity when building rapport. We talk about being on the same wavelength. I’ve a tuning fork here, and I like to talk about rapport, or I like to think about it in terms of resonance these days. So here’s my tuning fork. It’s a slightly unusual one. It’s got a low tone. That’s why they’ve got these heavy weights on the end, but it’s tuned. If I bang it, then hold it to my microphone. I hope you can hear that has a low “om”sound. Now it’s a different shape, but this other tuning fork is tuned to the same frequency or it’s made to resonate at the same frequency. And although I can’t demonstrate that very effectively in this medium, if I was to bang this one on my knee and put it next to this one, after a short, while this one will start to vibrate. Now this one hasn’t been excited or dinged or, you know, hit at all, but it will vibrate at the same frequency because it’s in the nature of things that have a resonant frequency to respond together. And I think when we talk about human interaction, it’s worth considering that actually there is this sense of resonance when you’re on the same wavelength as somebody else. You know, these two tuning forks have the same wavelength. That’s what it means.
So when we sort of take this to more extreme limits, I was listening to a conversation recently of somebody who had been on a week’s retreat, a course with the Monroe Institute. And they’d done an exercise in remote viewing, which is pretty far out there stuff. I don’t know if you know the film, “The men who stare at goats”. I’ve not seen it myself, but it’s based on this idea of getting into altered states of consciousness and being able to either astrally project to have an out of body experience and view things remotely. And in this experience, the, my, my colleague was asked, he was given some coordinates, some latitude, longitude coordinates for somewhere in the world. He had no idea what it was, and then asked to kind of astrally visit this place and describe what they saw. And he said that he picked up McDonald’s. Well, actually the coordinates were for the gateway arch in St. Louis, Missouri. And if you look at a picture of the gateway arch in St Louis, Missouri, it looks very like one half of the “M” in McDonald’s. So I, my response to his reaction was that he saw it right, but he had double vision.
But I think that when we are close in proximity to people, we can resonate with them and we can pick up things that we don’t necessarily can always explain exactly how we knew them. I’ve, I’ve had this happen many times in therapy when I’ve picked up on an idea, or I’ve just mentioned something and the client has looked at me and said, well, how did you know I was thinking about that? And the truth is, I didn’t know, I’m just improvising and trying to be in strong rapport. And I’m trying to hold a space where the right things can come up and the right issues can be discussed. And I’m very careful to censor myself if I have, if I feel an urge to share a particular insight or a particular piece of knowledge, I always question is, is that what the client is asking for? Is that what they need to know right now? And if it’s not, no matter how interesting is to me, I don’t go there. And I think that when you have a strong rapport, it becomes easier and easier to do that. So there is this sort of slightly magical aspect to it. And I think the more we explore that, or the more we’re curious about that, the more real it becomes.
As I said, without having a lot of rapport on these broadcasts. And I know a lot of people are too busy to watch them live and they watch them on replay. And that’s great. And I really like to know when people have watched on replay, but it is hard for me to judge what’s appropriate in this interchange when there isn’t a lot of feedback going on. And partly because of that, and also partly because I’ve been doing it for over a year, and we’ve also got another grandchild due at the end of this month, which we’re excited about and also planning to make some time to support my son and his wife, cause they already have a child. And so for that reason, I’m going to be stopping these Tuesday Two o’clock Topics. This will be the last one for at least until September. And it may be the last one ever because we are going to be revising the format of the in8 membership. So watch this space, the, the emails to the membership will continue to go out on a Monday morning and they will follow the same pattern as they’ve always followed. But I won’t be talking about the topics live every Tuesday as I have been doing for the last year.
There’s a quote from the book by Charlie Mackesy “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse”. I don’t know if you know that book, children’s illustrated children’s book. The boy is talking to the horse and he says, what’s the bravest thing you’ve ever said? He asks the horse and the horse answers, he says, “Help”. Asking for help isn’t giving up, it’s refusing to give up. And I think that’s a very interesting rea… I haven’t got words. It’s an interesting thing, because it requires rapport to ask for help. It requires a reaching out and a connection with other people. You know, I’ve, I’ve often talked about this as the phone-a-friend card.
How often do we actually ask for help? When have you needed help? When have you had the courage to ask for help? Because it does sometimes take courage.
I’m just going to check the comments and see if there’s anything coming in. No, I can’t see any at the moment. So I’m going to press on,
I promised today that we’ll go through the worksheet. So here is the worksheet.
You can see it’s a single side of A4, and it has some, a brief explanation of the card, card number five, the rapport card, one of our innate skills or resources. And then underneath that with a small picture of the card, it says, and I invite you to do this as I, as I work through it. Name somebody that you feel can read you well. So somebody who knows you, somebody who, when you’re with you get to quick sense of rapport, you know, you don’t, you don’t have to spend time building it. The communication channel is already open if you’d like.
And then the second question is, how good are you at knowing how someone else is feeling? So, are you the sort of person who picks up on like the energy in a room, the resonance that I’m talking about? I know that when Bindi walks into a room that maybe has, you know, a number of people in it for a social event, like we used to have a couple of years ago, she will sometimes be emotionally aware that someone is upset even before she knows who it is, because she kind of picks up on this field. And I think this is a real thing. She actually told me while we were talking about this topic this morning, that when she was working as a health visitor, she would often go to people’s houses shortly before and after they’d had a baby, to check on, on the mother and the, and the health of the child and all the rest of it. And some, most of the time these were appointments. So people would know she was coming, but occasionally she would drop in unannounced if she knew that they needed support, and she had a spare minute, and she was in the vicinity. And she said that as she walked up the drive, she would often know whether people were in the house or not. Whether there was anyone home. There was no obvious way of knowing.
But if you know the work of Rupert Sheldrake, he’s done some quite interesting studies on this idea that we have an intuition that tells us all sorts of things that we can’t yet scientifically explain. So for instance, we sometimes can tell when someone’s about to phone us, you know, we’re just thinking about them, then the phone rings and it’s them on the line, and he’s done some statistical experiments that prove this is a real thing. You can tell more often than you would be able to tell by pure chance alone. There are studies where he can show that there are pets who know when their owners leave work, and they go to the window to wait, whether it’s a dog or a cat to wait for their owner to return at the precise moment that their owner has left work.
Now you might, I’m away with the fairies at this point, but I think these things are very interesting and we should look at them with an open and critical mind. We should use our rational thinking. Anyway, enough about that.
The next question on the worksheet is describe a current situation in which you might benefit from asking someone for their thoughts. So it’s a bit like asking for help, but it might not necessarily be help. It’s like, what, is there a situation where maybe you’ve been trying to figure something out yourself and, or maybe you have been thinking about doing something or getting started on something. And perhaps now is the moment to consider well actually, who do I know, who might have an opinion about this, who might be able to help me with this? Sometimes it’s the hardest thing in the world to ask for help. It’s the bravest thing in the world to ask for help, because we kind of have this conditioning that unless we’re really suffering, we shouldn’t ask for help. Well, no, the people who are most successful in the world know how to ask for help.
I remember there’s a story about Henry Ford who, you know, produced the first car production line in the US and he was criticised for not having, I think he didn’t have a college degree, or it wasn’t particularly well-educated according to traditional standards. And he said, I have a, a button on my desk, or I have a box on my desk with 20 buttons on it. And each of those buttons will call an expert. So if I want to know about strength of materials, I press this button and Joe down the hall will get a buzz and they’ll come and see me. If I want to know about accounting, I press this button and my accountant will come. He said, why would I need to have learned all these things separately? If I, if I have the resources to call on the experts when I need to? I mean, that was a very luxurious situation to be in, but he definitely knew the power of, of being able to ask for help. So that was the worksheet.
The next thing I wanted to run through was something that we call the support network, and it’s another handout.
And I’m just going to stop that screenshot and start a new one. This is another single page resource that you are welcome to print out, to download print out and to use with your clients, if that’s interesting to you. And I’m just looking for where it is, and here it is, here’s the share. So I will work through the questions on this support sheet. And this is something that we’ve found useful when we know that someone is struggling on their own, a client who maybe who’s coming into therapy. And it wouldn’t be something that we bring out in the first session. But if it’s, if somebody is well, yeah, if they’re struggling, one of the tools that they have at their disposal is their innate resource of their ability to connect with others, their rapport skills. So there’s always the question of is it being used? And this little handout is a good way of identify whether you’re using your, all of your resources. So I’ll just read through it.
It says my support network, who, and what do you have to support you in your life? Think about the tools that you could use to get things done, and the people who could help take some time to consider the questions below and write your answers, then review whenever things are getting on top of you. And I’ll just run through what these questions are.
What local service could help me with transport, laundry, home maintenance? You know, any of the practical day-to-day things in life, because if someone is overwhelmed, then anything that reduces their stress levels is obviously going to be useful, but people very often don’t think about reaching out to local services. So there’s a question to stimulate a response for that.
Who can you rely on in a crisis? Now this might be a family member or a partner, or it might be a good friend, but do you have someone who you can rely on in a crisis?
With whom can you be totally yourself? You know, when you go to a party and there are people you’ve never met there, we have to sort of put on a bit of a front sometimes. And we have to, I’m not suggesting put on airs and graces, but there is a side to, you know, developing rapport and small talk, but it’s great when you can be totally yourself with someone and they “get you”. I’ve got a couple of friends who get me in that way and it’s, I don’t often use them because I don’t often need to use them in that way. But if I was struggling, if I had a setback in life, I would certainly reach out to them.
Now, the next one, the blue one is: Who is calming to be around? So that’s not a question we ask ourselves very often, is it?
And then: Who introduces you to new ideas, new interests and new people? And when I reflect on that one, myself, it would certainly be probably my daughter, because obviously she’s younger, she’s connected with a younger generation, but she’s very vibrant and she’s very willing to share with her aging dad. So I’ve learned a lot from her.
Where, and when do you have your most inspiring thoughts or ideas? Well, again, speaking personally, that’s definitely when I go for a five mile walk from my doorstep through the local woods, that’s when I get my thoughts and my ideas. That’s not using a rapport thing, but maybe if you’ve got someone who you bounce ideas off, it would be worth considering that.
Who do you know who is good at internet research? So research for finding jobs, finding resources. I know that Bindi is far better than I am, even though I have more technical knowledge than she does. She’s much better at using Google to find things out than I am. I don’t know why she’s better, but she just is much quicker, much better. She knows which questions to ask.
Who can tell you in a constructive way, how well, or how badly you’re doing? You know, we very often are wary of people who criticise us, but if the criticism is done from the heart and with rapport, why shouldn’t we listen to it? Oops, I’m just knocked my microphone. I hope you can still hear me. It looks like so. So who can, who can tell you, who can you get honest feedback from?
And who can you talk to when you’re worried? Now, those are just some questions that are under the heading of my support network, but I hope you can see that there are times when maybe it would be appropriate to, to hand that to a client and just get them to start thinking about, you know, are they using all of the resources that they might do?
And I’ve got a comment here from CG, and I think it would be okay for me to share this. So, hi, my Springer spaniel rescue dog I had in the nineties would go to the door when I left the restaurant I was playing piano in. The time varied as it was dependent upon how busy it was. It changed every night but she went at the right time. Well, there you go. Firsthand confirmation from CG that I’m not away with the fairies. And that this can be a real thing. I think that science is starting to wake up to the fact that we haven’t yet answered all of the questions that encompass the magic of life. And I love that story. So thank you very much CJ, for sharing and for being here today. And give me a little bit of feedback, a little bit of rapport. I really appreciate that. So, yes, that’s interesting. I’d love to know more about that. Where are we up to?
I’ve gone through the two handouts, which are in the comments below, so do feel free to download them, print them out and share them and use them, or even just give me some feedback. If you think you could do a better job of them, I’d be very interested to get into a conversation about those things.
So next week there won’t be a Tuesday Two o’clock Topic and they won’t be any more for the foreseeable future. I may restart them in September. I haven’t decided yet, but the email, if you’re in the in8 membership will be on the innate need for emotional connection. And that really is the need to embrace a sense of fun, friendship, intimacy, and emotional connection with people, which is obviously to some degree dependent on our ability to develop rapport. So I hope that was interesting to you today. Do let me know, do drop any comments below and I will reappear in some form at some time, but thank you for being with me. Thank you, CG, in particular, for your dedicated ability to turn up on a regular basis. Where is the last in8 sheet available? Okay. I will answer that in well, it’s below the original post in the Facebook group in the “Finding the balance with Anxiety Freedom Cards”, but it’s also in the membership. And I know not everyone watching this is in the in8 membership, but I will make it clear by repeating the, the posting in the comment below this video in a moment when I’ve finished.
So thank you for your interest, I’ll see you again soon and whatever else you’re doing, don’t forget to keep breathing.
Please let me know what you think by commenting below! Thanks, Alec