Some of the best lessons can be found in children’s entertainment, such as the famous Rankin Bass “Santa Clause is Coming to Town.” There’s a famous song that includes the lyric: “Put One Foot In Front of the Other…”

I’ve been working with a client who feels that his life is going backward. He’s cut off long standing relationships and is even afraid to call people, preferring to text them instead. Naturally this has hurt his business, as customers tend to want to speak to a person rather than receiving a text.

Of course, the first thing to do is take him through the process of getting into a good state so he can re-connect with himself and then to the rest of the world.

With this client, there’s a tendency to want to jump ahead and rather than go through the process of development, he wants the magic bullet and he thinks that just because he goes through a process once, for example changing his modal operators, that it’s the end of the change process rather than the beginning and he gets discouraged at what seems like a lack of progress. He continues to look at his goal and his distance from it rather than noticing the progress he’s made from where he started.

But one of the things I’ve found very useful in dealing with him is to very clearly show him that the skills he’s learning are building his capacity for change. As he learns from each step in the process I have him apply these skills in everyday life and gain confidence. The confidence acts as a feedback loop for him to not only apply his skills but to open himself up to greater interaction with the rest of the world.

When you work with a client from the standpoint of taking that person through an entire process, rather than a series of interventions you can strategically move from working symptomatically building states that will generalize into other areas of the client’s life.

And getting back to “Santa Clause is Coming to Town,” the stanza ends, “And soon you’ll be walking out the door.”