Eight Talks on the Refined Method

Excerpts from “Eight Talks on the Refined Method” by Ron Kurtz

My Vision

Over the years, my vision of the method has evolved. You’d expect that over forty years. It’s evolved not only in its fine detail, but also in a larger sense. I see the method now more as a natural process, not something very complicated. I see it as a way someone with developed skills for caring and relating can assist someone who has the courage and intent to seek a happier way of being through self-knowledge.

Because I’ve been free to change things and because I kept learning, I changed things. I dropped what seemed to me to unnecessary or because I found something that worked better and added it. The source of these changes, as you might suspect, was the great variety of experiences that come from working with all kinds of clients, in different cultures and the natural tendency to want to make something we do over and over again, easier, simpler and more efficient. And that’s what happened. The work became more natural, beautiful, and effective. I shaped myself to it and it to me, a kind of developmental dance.

The work became more natural, beautiful, and effective.

Loving Presence

Excerpt from the talk Ron Kurtz gave in Ireland as part of “Eight Talks on the Refined Method”

I added Loving Presence about fifteen years ago. Loving presence is the ideal state of mind for the therapist. It sets the general tone of the relationship. It’s very significant. I talked recently about the great mistakes of the Western World. I thought one of the great mistakes was the notion that we are separate beings.

In quantum theory there is an amazing finding called non-locality. It says that if two molecules have interacted in the past and they separate themselves in space by say a million light years, when something happens to one of them, the other will reflect it instantaneously. Now, light can’t go that fast, but non-locality is real. Such a thought cannot make sense to the ordinary Western mind. How can these two things be affecting one another instantaneously at such incredible distances?

Loving presence reflects the Buddhist position that we are not separate. If you sit with a client and feel this connection, if you feel non-separateness, (I mean feel, when the client gets sad, I can feel that sadness), if you carry that model, if you carry that way of being called loving presence, then you have created a safe and sensitive context for the work. Everything that happens, happens inside of that. And that has a tremendous effect. Loving presence by itself is healing.

Loving presence by itself is healing.

Silence and Following

Excerpt from the talk Ron Kurtz gave in Sheffield, England–part of  “Eight Talks on the Refined Method”

I’m going to talk about the refinements I’ve made to the method. The use of silence is a good example. Over the years, I began to leave more and more time for the client to simply be turned inward while I waited without interrupting. For people who observe me doing sessions, that’s one of the things they notice and most often comment on. It seems so obvious now, but it took me thirty years to actually understand it. I want to read you what Salvador Minuchin said in a recent interview.

“As a physician I was trained to take over, to become a leader, and to take responsibility. As a therapist I also had to learn the language of silence, to learn how to become invisible, to learn how not to intrude and at the same time, to be central. Achieving a centrality that can get people’s attention without being so intrusive that you take too much responsibility, is essential in the process of therapy.”

It’s not only the use of silence that’s important. You also have to back off the idea that you have to always be leading and responsible. When you back off of that, you discover that you’re really there to support something positive that takes place within the client. The client has resources. If you’re not intrusive, if you’re not taking charge all the time and running things, you give the client respect and room to use those resources. The client isn’t necessarily conscious that you’re doing that, but it will have a significant effect nonetheless. It will encourage spontaneous processes to emerge. That’s one key to the Refined Method; it is determined to be nonintrusive. I talk about it as following. You get in sync with the adaptive unconscious and follow its “directions,” the spontaneous directions it takes when you signal by your behavior that you will follow.

That’s one key to the Refined Method; it is determined to be nonintrusive. I talk about it as following.