Institute for the Study of Peak States
"Methods for Fundamental Change in the Human Psyche"
Support Newsletter #9, November 2, 2006

"Charging for Results"

Newsletter Spotlight

From the Editor Paula Courteau…
Upcoming Teleclasses
Upcoming Classes for Professionals New to this Work
News from “the research team”

Getting Results with Clients
Some case histories of applying the charge-for-results principle
A student asks about how to arrive at a fair price for the work

From the Editor Paula Courteau…
     The year's first cold snap just hit the West Coast of Canada… we're shocked,
shocked! Brilliant sunshine days, crashing dark-blue waves from the west. The gold of leaves against that impossible ocean-blue, laced with whitecaps.
     This week, between the end of harvesting and bouts of stacking firewood, we bring you another essay from Grant McFetridge, with more insights about the way traumas originate versus the way they manifest in the present. The essay is framed around the concept of charging for results only, Grant's small ethical revolution against the way psychological help has been offered so far.
     So far in our culture, therapists bill at an hourly rate, regardless of results. And, sad to say, most therapy only offers temporary relief, meaning that the client has to return regularly, until the crisis passes on its own or the client gets fed up and tries a different kind of therapy, starting another cycle. It's like taking a subscription to a paid friend. When I began living among people who could actually afford this kind of service, I was amazed to discover that it's common to spend tens of thousands of dollars on therapy, mostly without any drastic results. And of course, from a provider's point of view, where's the incentive for effectiveness in this system? Maintenance therapy is a bottomless gold mine.
     No wonder, in this context, that the pay-for-results concept is a source of confusion and anxiety for many students. Witness this cry from the heart, heard at a workshop: "You mean I'll
really have to know this stuff??"
     Yes, we mean you'll really have to know this stuff.
     (Remember the one about practice, good old 'dirt time,' being the most important part of your certification?  
That's what I meant.)
     Inevitably, you win some and lose some at first; but there's a real satisfaction with working by this system. There's also a lot to learn about our failures, some of which I'll share with you at the end of the newsletter, sparing you the time and expense. Of course, I also included successful examples of how the fee was negotiated in different situations.
     One student suggested that it should be permissible to work by donation at first. This is in fact what I used to do when I first started out, because I wasn't sure what kind of change I was capable of fostering and what it would be worth to a client. We're still pooling the core members for their opinions, to make sure we're not overlooking any pitfalls, but it looks like a good way to satisfy the ethical principles while accounting for inexperience. I think the fact that Grant has mostly been training established therapists is the only reason why this concept hadn't yet been officially discussed.
     A group of us took the fascinating teleclass with Alexandre Nadeau last week. We came away with a useable method to temporarily stabilize peak experiences into peak states, adding to our bag of tricks to achieve the success that is to become our daily bread. Alexandre also had a lot to say about living a whole life, using our processes as means to an end rather than an end in itself. It's a special hazard, most noticeably, to the core research people, to become so involved in our process that we forget to look at that amazing blue sky and the pyrotechnics of autumn leaves.
     To this, I would add the concept of getting out and looking to our communities as well. An important aspect of trying to change the mindset of humanity has to do with fostering community, and the people taking suicide-prevention and crisis-intervention classes have expressed a renewed awareness of this. The Awareness classes with Wes Gietz also focus on this, in addition to other aspects of spiritual perception and awareness. It's all the same world, it's seamless, it's whole.
     Until next time...Paula Courteau

Upcoming Teleclasses
      An Improved Peak Experience to Peak State Process: November 4.       The next teleclass, on November 4th (5th in Australia), will teach the latest version of the Peak Experience to Peak State process, developed last June in Poland. This is a good one to know for certification, since the problems of stabilizing peak experiences are often challenging, as you will see in the examples at the end of this newsletter. This class will last one session, and is open to people who have taken at least one Peak State workshop.
     Please double-check the time on your invitation, since most countries have switched from daylight time to standard time (or the other way around, depending on which hemisphere you live in) over the last week.
     Brain Light State TeleClass (in German language): November 5, 12, 19. 10PM (in Germany). Successful completion of this process meets the current Basic Peak States certification requirement of +20% Brain Light state and the +60% for advanced training. It includes G/E score checking. The class requires time spent working on the process between teleclasses. This class is only for graduates of the PeakStates 1 training. (A professional training on this topic is offered in November in Australia.)
Email TeleClass to sign up for teleclasses.

Upcoming Classes for Professionals New to this Work
     We’re fortunate to have a number of basic level professional classes coming up in Australia, Europe, the UK, and the US this winter (in the northern hemisphere). Some of the classes are taught in 9 day blocks, others are in 4 and 5 day blocks. Click on this link to the peakstates website to see a complete schedule (

News from “the research team”
     We’ve got some exciting new developments in the R&D pipeline. In the last few weeks, we’ve made significant progress on two major issues: a way to simultaneously eliminate all trauma strings, and a way to heal multiple personality disorder. However, it will be some time before these are ready for testing with students, as we need to test and explore these new breakthroughs more thoroughly first.
     On another topic, we’d like to explain how our research team works with individual students. Each of us has different skills and abilities, and we work together to solve problems, for the student’s benefit. When working with students or during teleclasses, you should be aware that we share data on each of you if there is something relevant to the work. This is standard practice in these types of situations, in academia or medicine. Student’s confidentiality is a high priority in the Institute. All information is kept within the core group. Note, however, that we would be required to give our records to the police if they ever approached us in a legal or criminal investigation.

Quote of the day…
     "Peak States work is an extreme sport." --Tal Laks

Getting Results with Clients
     As you know, the Institute is pioneering a new way of charging for services, the ‘charge for results’ approach. Some people don’t have any concerns about this new way of working, because they’ve already been doing it or something similar for years. Others find this a difficult adjustment because the concept is so foreign to the way they’ve always worked, usually a fee for time spent. Today, I’d like to discuss just one aspect of this new paradigm – how do you get results with enough people to make a living?
     One way to do this would be to try and get as many people through the door as possible, and then try and treat them all. However, this leaves one’s success rate at the mercy of pure chance – “Will the client that walks through the door respond to the techniques that I know?” To have any hope of success, you would need to know as many effective therapeutic techniques as possible (e.g., “I know EFT and BSFF and…”). The idea here is that the more good techniques you’ve learned, the higher the likelihood that you can actually help the client. In effect, you are predicting that the more state-of-the-art schooling you have, the more likely it is that you will help enough of these people who walk in to earn a living. (This approach is often called ‘shot-gunning’ in other disciplines.) This is the method that many healers use. You’ve probably seen this approach, where the healer advertises the techniques he knows (“I’m a Rolfer”, or “I’m skilled in EMDR” and so on). Unfortunately, most clients have never heard of the techniques, and don’t care anyway. They just want you to be successful - they don’t care how you do it.
     Let us assume that you still want to treat anyone who comes in the door. How can you make this ‘general practitioner’ approach work? Obviously, you’d need to be able to quickly determine if you could help the client. You’d then treat them while sending the ones you are unlikely to help to other, more skilled healers. Therapists with lots of clinical experience do this automatically, after years of working with the techniques they’ve learned. But how would a beginner do it?
     There is a simple way of thinking about clients' issues that can help you decide how likely you are to get results, how much time it would typically take, what kind of training you might need, and which problems are hopeless. Instead of working from the therapy to the client, start with the
cause of the client's symptoms and work to the therapy. Although this is a rather rough approximation, the causes of symptoms can be put into three categories:
1) The symptoms are identical to those from a trauma;
2) The symptoms are not the same as the originating traumas – instead, they are based on defense mechanisms that compensate for a trauma;
3) The symptoms are not the same as the originating traumas – instead, they are caused by intermediate mechanisms that have different sensations from the underlying, causal trauma.
            There is also a far better way to work with clients than using the shotgun approach, which I will describe near the end of this article.

New Therapies

     In the past, the foregoing discussion on ‘charge for results’ would have been a pipe dream because the therapy techniques were not adequate. Fortunately, in the last decade the speed and effectiveness of healing techniques has drastically improved, as a direct result of the popularization of power therapies (EMDR, TIR, VKD, and TFT), their well-known spin-off processes (EFT, BSFF), and other approaches (TAT, my own WHH, etc.). With the introduction of the power therapies, it is now financially viable for therapists to implement a charge for results policy, because a skilled therapist’s success rates can be so high.
     Although power therapies each exploit different mechanisms in the psyche, they all create change in the same way – they cause past traumas to heal. Direct or indirect past traumas are the underlying cause of people’s problems. Some of these processes use overt regression, while others (like TFT or EFT) can often heal the traumatic memories without the need for conscious regression. But all work by healing traumas, which are directly
or indirectly the underlying cause for every problem we’ve seen in clients. This understanding allows us to also understand the causes of clients' symptoms.

Going Directly from Symptom to Cause: Symptoms are identical to those from a trauma

     Although each power therapy heals traumas in different ways, most of these therapies have a similar protocol – the therapist starts from a present symptom (like a body sensation, emotion, belief) in order to heal its traumatic origin. Fortunately, most clients' symptoms have a simple, one-to-one connection between a bad feeling in the present and the same bad feeling in a past trauma. For example, a client’s presenting fear of dying was caused by an early childhood experience of extreme fear during a near drowning. Thus, a power therapist finds it straightforward to heal most clients, and so charging for results is financially viable. .
     In general, for clients of this type, the therapist is only limited by his skill in using the technique. To increase his success rate and work more quickly, the therapist needs good training in a variety of approaches, so he can switch between or add different techniques to fit different clients. A typical client takes between one and three sessions to heal this sort of problem. Occasionally the trauma does not respond well to treatment, or heals excessively slowly; support techniques exist that can increase the effectiveness of the power therapies. For example, our DPR process removes client/therapist transference blocks, Hendrick’s ‘Loving Yourself’ technique speeds healing, etc. In rare cases, normal-consciousness techniques are inadequate for the particular trauma the client has – and because we charge for results, we would soon pass this client on to an advanced practitioner who could get results. Clearly, it is to our personal advantage under a ‘charge for results’ system to become the best healer we can be.
     Aside from problems in applying the techniques, the power therapy techniques sometimes fail because of the limiting beliefs of the therapist. For example, a disbelief in the existence of prenatal, sperm, egg, or precellular traumas, and the lack of an understanding that earliest traumas must be healed (in regression therapies) has often sabotaged treatment.

When You Can’t Go Directly From Symptom to Cause: Defense mechanisms

     Unfortunately, not all clients' problems have this nice, straightforward correspondence between past and present symptoms. Sometimes, instead, the originating trauma triggers a defensive behavior, which in turn causes the present-day symptoms (a causes b, which causes c). For example, a boy is sexually abused as a child – the causal trauma’s feelings are fear and helplessness. The child then decides that abuse won’t happen again if he is unattractive, so he overeats and gains large amounts of weight (the intermediate mechanism). The originating trauma and its decision are forgotten, and in later years the client comes to the therapist because he has overwhelming food cravings and can’t lose weight (the current symptom). In this particular case, the therapist finds the originating trauma by having the client feel the sensations that arise when he tries fasting, which lead directly to the sensations of the originating trauma.
     This class of problems takes some skill and training to solve, but it can be done, sometimes easily, sometimes with time-consuming difficulty. Gary Craig, developer of EFT, talks about ‘doing the detective work’ and gives many good techniques and examples in his training (his website, with its thousands of case studies, has become an encyclopedia of strategies for this detective work, and is well worth consulting regardless of the therapy you use). These sorts of problems are much less common than simple trauma (one-to-one correspondence) problems, and they generally take much more time to solve.

When You Can’t Go Directly From Symptom to Cause - Other intermediate mechanisms

     There is another class of problems where the intermediate mechanism creates symptoms in the present that bear absolutely no obvious relationship with the originating trauma. ‘Holes’, ‘soul loss’ and other unusual phenomena covered in the WHH training are examples of such intermediate mechanisms.
      In psychology and in medicine, diseases or conditions that are labeled incurable usually fit into this category. Fortunately, when the intermediate mechanism is identified, the ‘incurable’ disease suddenly becomes simple to treat. For example, the connection between mosquitoes and malaria was not accepted until the discovery of the intermediate parasite that caused the symptoms of the disease. Another well-known case was the rejection of the concept of antibiotic treatment for ulcers until medicine discovered that bacteria were an intermediate cause.
     This type of problem also occurs with almost all peak states – in most cases, the sensations of key developmental events and the sensations of their corresponding peak state characteristics have no obvious connection. This is also true of many problems that we don’t even realize are problems because virtually everyone has them. For example, ‘mind chatter’, the inability to heal our bodies quickly, and so on.
     From a therapist’s viewpoint, clients with these problems are virtually impossible to help. At best, the therapist can only treat some of the consequences of the condition. For example, the therapist can help reduce the despair of someone with conditions like chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, etc. The therapist would still use the ‘charge for results’ principle with this client, but the agreement wouldn’t be for a cure, but rather for what help he could deliver (an end to despair in the previous example.) This keeps the client from having unrealistic expectations, and the therapist from getting bogged down in a no-win situation that does not serve the client – it only adds to the client’s experience of failure and wastes his time and money, which would have been better spent in searching for a real cure. From ISPS’s perspective, an agreement to charge this type of client for your research time would be unethical for a basic certified graduate unless you had some realistic expectation that a talent or technique you know could cure the person. In general, these sorts of problems should be left to researchers with more knowledge and experience.
However, once the intermediate mechanism and the cause of the condition are tracked down, this class of problems suddenly becomes very easy and straightforward to handle. This is because the symptoms are usually quite distinct (“Oh, you have such and so”), the cause is the same for every client, and the treatment does not involve any ‘detective’ work. Over time, the treatments improve until the condition becomes easier and easier to heal. Thus, once they are figured out, these problems are much simpler and faster to handle than those involving defense mechanisms.

Become an expert in a particular problem

     Becoming an expert in a particular condition is a much better way to be successful with a ‘pay for results’ policy than using a ‘shotgunning’ approach to clients. Focus on becoming effective in healing a specific condition. Attract clients with that issue. Advertise for those clients who have problems you know you can heal. This is the approach that Gary Craig of EFT-fame recommends, and I completely agree with him. This is the approach that medical doctors use – after all, most people would rather go to a (higher cost) doctor who specializes in their problem than see a ‘generalist’….
     A big part of the Institute’s focus is on solving these problems so that our students can specialize (if they want to) in healing these formerly-hopeless conditions. Specializing in these kinds of problems allows a significant premium in fees charged, and the problems are usually much more straightforward to handle than the general problems clients have. The ‘charge for results’ principle is very easy and profitable to implement in these situations, and very ethically satisfying.

How is it even possible to find cures for ‘incurable’ conditions?

     Given this problem of unrelated intermediate mechanisms that create symptoms that are completely different from the original traumas, how is it even possible to find the underlying causes to a problem? The answer to this question is one reason why the Institute’s work is so revolutionary. By mapping out the underlying developmental events and the biological basis for consciousness, we also are uncovering the previously hidden connections between current symptoms and early developmental event traumas. Just as important, we have methods for accessing these events in a fairly efficient and simple manner.

How fast can we expect new cures?

     However, the Institute's breakthroughs in understanding underlying theory still don't mean that the problems are quickly solved – far from it. After all, these are the problems that no one has ever been able to solve. In my 20 years of experience with these sorts of discoveries, I have found that it usually takes me between one and seven years to identify the intermediate mechanism and the originating cause of a given problem. Once that’s done, it usually takes another 3 to 5 years of testing and refining to make a process that is relatively safe and effective. This entire process involves many volunteers and clients, much original research and serendipity, a lot of stubbornness, and lots of money to pay for both the research costs and an absolute minimum of living expenses (see last newsletter for an extensive example of this).
     To give you ballpark numbers, I’d estimate that each of these cures I’ve developed has taken about 7 years and cost around $200,000 US, doing it on a shoestring and only working with volunteers. Since we’re doing work that is outside of our cultural paradigm, all the money has come from our own pockets. Fortunately, as the developmental event modeling continues and our understanding grows, and if we start to earn money for this work to pay for staff and other expenses, I expect that the time it takes to solve these problems will dramatically decrease.
--Grant McFetridge
Some case histories of applying the charge-for-results principle
     Here are some case studies to illustrate the ins and outs of charging for success… I've included examples both of success and failure, because it still does happen once in a while that we have to reimburse our clients, and there is always something to be learned form the experience.
--Paula C.

Teaching Basic WHH

     I'm more comfortable as a teacher than a therapist, so I regularly coach people through a couple of WHH sessions, send them home with written materials, and remain available as a mentor. The financial agreement is simple: students pay me a flat fee for the first two sessions, the support materials, and as many short phone calls or emails as they need to keep going; then we negotiate the next sessions ¾ if they are needed. The fact that most people stop using the technique after they have solved their initial problem doesn't mean that I owe them a refund; after all, people buy things that only collect dust on their shelves all the time. This is a fact of human nature, not of the technique's failure.
     However, I did, in one case, send a student's money back.
     This student wanted to regain a peak experience, a sense of 'goodness' that he had experienced from time to time. He had tried other therapies with no success. He was very clear about wanting to do the work himself, so the arrangement I proposed seemed like a good match.
     The intake showed a thirty-year-old with few social skills and a punitive religious background. I had misgivings but took on the assignment because the client seemed so desperate. This should have been my signal to get out.
     The client had trouble working on his own, although he certainly spent a lot of time trying. During our second telephone session, he said he had read a section of my manuscript about birth traumas and really
really didn't want to experience anything having to do with an umbilical cord wrapped around his neck… You know what this means, don't you? Of course that was the trauma in the way of his peak experience! He kept skirting around and around it. Over the next few weeks his emails showed increasing despair, then some dark thoughts about suicide. Since he had no local support and refused to see a psychologist, I told him to stop all regression immediately and focus on techniques, such as the 15-Minute Miracle, that would keep him in the present. Although he didn't request it, I sent his money back because he had paid for a technique that he could not use safely at that point in his life.
     Heeding the alarm bells that sounded during the intake would have prevented this sort of situation. The paranoia about psychologists, the history of depression, the lack of local support and of realistic self-assessment were obvious signs. I have since learned to say 'no'.

Setting low expectations: working with 'incurable' disease

     In this example, the client came in with a disease that has no known cure. The therapist writes:
Although the Institute was working on the problem of multiple sclerosis and other neuro-muscular diseases at the time, I was careful not to give this client any false hope that we could cure her MS quickly. She agreed that a lessening of her fear about the disease to 2/10 or lower would be a wonderful outcome.
     She was a poster child for EFT, and TAT also worked very well on her. We used a mix of EFT, TAT and basic WHH in our sessions. She did almost all the work herself under my guidance, though I did use some advanced WHH to identify the developmental events and get data for the Institute's research. She also worked on herself with EFT and TAT between sessions. We worked both on the feelings of fear and worry, and on the physical sensations of numbness and weakness from the MS. In three sessions her fear dropped to zero, and this also coincided with the end of a sizeable flare-up of symptoms. Although we cannot attribute this improvement to our work with certainty, since MS symptoms often come and go on their own, it sure was a nice bonus.
     This client later worked with two advanced healers and regained some excellent peak states. Her MS is still present as a background condition but she has had no major flare-up since the one that brought her to my door. But I would still set low expectations for any client with chronic diseases, until we actually find reliable cures.  

Working with depression

     Depression is another tricky area. Although it looks easy enough to resolve with WHH, depression has a way of hanging on and resurfacing at all kinds of odd times. I've tried teaching WHH to depressive people a few times, because I myself have been successful in controlling my own moderate depression, but only one student managed to fully cure herself, through her own stupendous persistence and hundreds of hours of advanced coaching (we have not been able to reproduce her work in other clients). As a rule, most people don't have what it takes. There is no fast way out (yet); one has to keep working at it, sometimes daily. So I would caution any new therapist about taking on depressive clients on a pay-for-success basis. This is maddening because there are so many people who suffer from this.
     The exception would be situational depression: in this case, there is a known cause (the death of a spouse, the loss of a job), a known onset, and no history of chronic depression or suicidal ideation. Ideally, the client would have a support network and a good deal of maturity and self-awareness. I would try to set expectations low; I'd rather see my clients pleasantly surprised than disappointed.
(Grant's note: There are several different kinds of problems that tend to be all lumped under the heading of ‘depression’. Each has a very different cause and treatment.)

Stabilizing Peak Experiences

     This is one of the trickiest tasks to take on at the basic certification level because 1) people don't necessarily want any of the 'named' peak states on our list; they're just as likely to want solidification of an obscure peak experience none of us has ever heard of; so the therapist may well have all kinds of blocks in the way of that particular peak state; and 2) as you have seen with my coaching client above, the traumas blocking those peak states are often major. I have included two case histories, one of failure and one of success. The first example happened quite a while ago, and I have few details of the intake procedure that the therapist applied. I just include it as a way to show how things can get out of control, even with a therapist of some experience. Note the correct steps of the intake procedure as detailed by Grant in the second example.
     The first example runs like this:
A client wanted to make permanent a peak experience that he cherished. The therapist didn't recognize the state as any from our list, so she talked her client into trying, instead, for another peak state that she felt more familiar with. The client accepted and sent a sizeable payment in advance, and they worked by phone.
     The client failed to get either the peak state he'd originally wanted, or the one he'd been talked into accepting. Disappointed, he asked for reimbursement. The therapist, who was in a precarious financial situation at that time, had already spent the money. A very stressful situation ensued for all concerned, as you can guess.
     The next case still wasn't simple, but used the lessons learned the hard way in the previous example, and some more recent insights, to end up with a satisfied client. Grant and Tal did the work, but for the most part they did not use any advanced techniques.
A middle-aged, well-functioning woman had seen the Peak States website and called up wanting permanent peak states installed at the price offered. However, we’d since realized that clients are typically disappointed with the results because our well-documented peak states aren’t what they really want – instead, they want healing or a particular state based on momentary peak experiences in their life. We explained this problem to her, and she agreed that her personal peak experience was what she really preferred (this procedure is part of the basic training and competence is required for certification). A personal history was taken to check for unusual problems or factors that would make the procedure inadvisable (none were found).
     We then had her run the procedure. Together, we identified that her life was focused around one trauma-related problem (feeling like she lacked something inside herself) and two peak experiences that she continually sought out in her work and personal life (a feeling of newness, and a feeling of inner perfection). She had some difficulty in understanding the difference between a healed traumatic issue and a peak state, and grasping that peak experiences are not part of the external circumstances that evoke them; but eventually she understood the points. She was then told to go home and write down five clear and strong examples of each of the three items. Total elapsed time: approximately one hour. Normally a price would be agreed upon during this session, based upon each individual item.
     We then spent one session eliminating the feeling of lack; one session on initial stabilization of both states, using the new process; then, quite predictably, two more sessions to eliminate the further blocks (especially Tribal Block) that had surfaced about both states. As of this writing, we expect to have one more session to deal with any further blocks. The initial trauma healing seems to be holding perfectly.
     The woman was very typical for this sort of work, both in having a significant trauma that needed healing, and in being able to regress easily. The need to do a fair amount of education at the outset was also typical and must be included in one's estimates of the time needed for such a process.
--Grant McFetridge

A student asks about how to arrive at a fair price for the work
The student wrote:
     "What I need to know is more of the mechanics for arriving at a fair price for the work.
     "I had one client who had what seemed to be a simple phobia of highway driving. After a few rounds of EFT we had made some decent headway. But as the layers peeled off, he started to reveal a history of physical and mental abuse at the hands of his relatives. I had known this person socially and none of this ever came up. In fact, he even spoke lovingly of these relatives. I'm not even sure how much of their abuse directly tied into the driving phobia but I take whatever comes up in a session. And this was coming up bigtime. The phobia wasn't about to be resolved the underlying junk was taken care of.
     "I would have had no way of guessing this was lying under the surface and if I had charged by the result, I would have charged way too little. Charging by the hour would have been a much better thing for me.
     "PS. Just for the record, our session went about 90 minutes. I got him to a good place and ended there. I left him with the recommendation that he seek a psychologist who specializes in abuse. I'm a pretty good energy worker but I have my limits. There are certain types of cases I avoid and serial abuse is one of them."

Grant replies:

     "Let's start with an overview of the charge for results process, and then get into particulars.

Disadvantages to the 'pay for results' approach
     The really critical part is that there are two unpleasant realities that we have to recognize up front:
1) Sometimes we're going to spend too much time on a given customer, and our per hour rate will drop below average for that client.
2) We're not going to get paid from every customer. This is inherent in the new system, because we're not going to be able to meet our agreement with every client.
     To use this new approach, we've got to accept up-front that this is going to happen occasionally. Our cash flow isn't going to be tied directly to time, as if we're working for an hourly paycheck. This is going to be somewhat scary for some therapists until they get used to the ups and downs of this approach.

The Toyota dealership's dilemma is the same as ours
     Thus, our situation is structurally similar to ones that my local Toyota dealership deals with every day, so I'm going to use what they do as a guideline. When I bring in my car for repairs, they give me a price based on what they can determine from my description of the problem. Sometimes they give me a price after they run some tests. In either case, over the years I've had three or four occasions where they got into trouble and ended up doing much, much more work on my car - for the previously agreed upon price - than they anticipated. Other times the problem wasn't fixed, and they ended up working on it for free until it was fixed. (This is one reason that I take my car to the Toyota dealerships!). Occasionally they tell us that they can't fix it, for whatever reason (the car is too old so parts are unavailable, it would involve lots of other repairs that would make it uneconomical for us, and so on.) The bottom line here is that they charge in such a way as that they can account for times when things don't go right. To set the price, they use an average time for a given problem, and sometimes they are quicker, and sometimes they're slower. Over time, it averages out, and they make a profit. Along with their expertise in diagnosing car problems, they've also got a handy little book that tells them what the average time is for anything they do, which is partially how they set prices. The long and the short of it for me is that, after a lot of experience, I only go to the dealership - it has been cheaper in the long run.

How long will it take?
     Our charge for results approach has very similar problems to that of a Toyota dealership. Somehow we've got to make an estimate of how long it is going to take to meet the agreed upon result before we have actually 'torn the client open' - but we don't have that handy little standard time book (yet). Someone who has been doing therapy with hundreds of client is obviously going to be much better at estimating times from sheer experience, but even there, they are going to occasionally get surprised.
     Thus we're going to make time estimates and give a price that isn't right on the mark. Sometimes the client will be a 'one trauma wonder', and we'll use EFT and with one round of tapping we're all done. Other times, it isn't so simple and straightforward, and it will take longer than we expect. In some cases, a lot longer. And in other cases it turns out we can't help the client at all.
     I once studied under Gay Hendicks, and I still recall his often repeated phrase, "If you can't heal the client in three sessions, you don't know what you're doing" - and he was only talking about using his somewhat inefficient body centered therapy approach. Although there are exceptions to this rule of thumb, in general I agree with his sentiment. So, this little homily gives us an upper bound to how much time we will usually figure our work will take, as well as an upper bound on how long it should take. If it takes us more than three sessions, we're usually in over our head and may have to just either re-negotiate the goal or chalk the time you spent up to experience.
     As we gain more experience with our techniques, we plan on publishing our own ISPS 'length of time' guidelines for various problems. However, that's at least one or two years from now...

Knowing the limits of your expertise and techniques
     Obviously, learning our ISPS advanced techniques allows you to go a lot faster and do a lot more, but let's assume you are limited to just ordinary consciousness tools. Given that, you've got to recognize your limitations. For you, a trauma string isn't a few seconds job, but rather a major part of your session with a client. Thus, a therapist has to set his goals (the results part that he and the client have agreed to) to something he can do efficiently and effectively. Keep your agreement to something you can both agree on, that is fairly straightforward, and that you are fairly confident you can deliver.
     Put yourself in the client's shoes - he has a problem that has driven him to see a specialist, but he's also got to pay his grocery bill. This new way of working allows him to make a financially responsible choice. This is one reason why therapists using this new model are more attractive to people than ones who use the old methods.

When the problem was bigger than you expected
     OK, say that when you actually start to work with a client and its a much bigger problem than you expected. Now what? Is it something you can heal, maybe heal, can't heal, or shouldn't even try because you're not qualified yet? You can continue on the original agreement (perhaps at a short term financial loss but a long term advertising advantage through word of mouth), re-negotiate for a new result, or stop at this point. All up to you and your client.

     This new way of working has advantages and disadvantages. In the long run, I believe that you cannot help but feel better about yourself and what you're doing if you charge for results. And attract clients who recognize the value of what you're doing. With the clients you see, you would have the satisfaction that although you spent time with them, you did not take advantage of their situation. To return to my car analogy, there are many car repair services that basically ask you to write them a blank check for the time they spend on your vehicle, with oft painfully surprising results to the customer.
     From the ISPS perspective, as we introduce our new ways of healing, we simply don't want to have our name associated with that sort of problematic 'repair shop' situation. And really, there is no need to anymore with the newer generation of techniques. Sure, there are going to be ups and downs, but if your income depends on your ability to actually heal someone, it's amazing how quickly you get competent at the job.

OK, enough background material, back to the student's letter:
     "It sounds like you made good decisions. Realizing your limitations around abuse memories was extremely smart and ethical of you. It really is a job for someone who has experience in the specialty, and you did well to recognize this. Have you considered getting training in this area? Its a darn good thing to do, as many people who see therapists have this sort of problem.
     "The bottom line is that this is a client you probably would have lost money on with a charge results procedure (unless your agreement had put in some sort of partial healing provision, for example). But not necessarily. If the woman goes to someone who can help her with the abuse, it is possible that she'd come back to you to finish the phobia. And its pretty likely she would be back if there was something else she needed to have healed."
     All my best,

We welcome your questions and comments, email: Support Email.

Copyright 2006 by Grant McFetridge