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Resolving Resistance to Change

Working with the Deep Epistemology Shaping Our Clients’ Worlds

How to Identify and Impact the Key Hidden Assumptions Influencing Our Clients

For coaches, counsellors, therapists, and consultants – and all those who would like to deepen their connection with the unseen yet inexhaustible well-springs of healing and transformation


Peter Wrycza, PhD, PCC

On Line, 6 - 11 June 2020

Introduction – Working with Hidden Assumptions

For coaches, counsellors, Change is not always easy. Clients often seek help precisely because there is something in their lives that they would like to change but have been unable to do so by themselves.

In accompanying people and organizations seeking to make changes, we also find that sometimes it is relatively easy to help the client make a shift. On other occasions, it appears that no matter how we approach the client and their request, the desired changes are elusive.

Many factors determine whether a client can make the shift they seek. But perhaps the most influential is the client’s deep epistemology. What the client assumes about self, world, and their relationship determines what the client ultimately holds to be desirable, possible, and attainable.

Tuning in to the client’s hidden assumptions about the challenges he or she is facing is the key to influencing the client’s relationship with themselves, with others, and with the world in way that allows them to make the changes they are seeking in a natural effortless way.

In this programme, we will deepen your skills firstly in tuning into the client’s underlying epistemology – the powerful assumptions shaping their world – and secondly in influencing the client’s epistemology so that change happens naturally.

In doing so, we make an important step in the great shift from Coach to Awakener through Conversations on the Edge of Silence.

Please note

This programme was initially designed to deepen the effectiveness of the work of graduates of our Dynamics of Deep Transformation diploma training programme. It will be of interest to practicing coaches with some experience, ideally at ICF PCC level or equivalent.

'The deepest order of change that human beings are capable of demonstrating is epistemological change. A change in epistemology means transforming one's way of experiencing the world.’
Bradford Keeney

Programme Run Down

This programme consists of short talks and discussions, supported by practical exercises to experience and integrate the principles and skills introduced in the seminar. 

The first half of the seminar is devoted to the process of identifying the key hidden assumptions influencing the client’s ability to fulfil what they are seeking.

The second half focuses on how we can help the client resolve and move beyond those assumptions. 

Getting to the Roots to the Resistance to Change

  •  Introduction: the impulse and the obstacles to change
  • How experience and meaning shape the ‘Embodied Cognition’ determining our strengths and limitations, and our resistance to change
  •  The ‘language’ of experience expressing in words, gesture, and image what is explicit and what is implicit
  • Distinguishing ‘beliefs’, ‘values’, and underlying ‘assumptions’ and understanding how they work together
  • Levels of intervention; tuning into the right level: mixing knowing and not knowing
  • Elegantly identifying underlying assumptions that influence our ability to make changes we consider important for personal effectiveness and well being
  • ‘Casting the net’ to catch influential ‘hidden assumptions’ affecting behaviour and performance

Tuning into the Critical Epistemology of the Client

  • Introduction: layers of assumption – how far do we go?
  • Common epistemological confusions that determine our limitations
  • Peeling away the layers
  • The sense and non-sense of common sense in how we listen but don’t listen
  • Existential and life-shaping assumptions and how to tune into them
  • Noticing what you (think) you are not noticing
  • The circularity of experience: working with the Uroboros of experience

Overcoming the Epistemological Interferences to Change 

  • Introduction: epistemology and the achievement of simple outcomes that clients bring to coaching
  • How cognitive leverage shifts the boulders resisting change 
  • Practising cognitive leverage to shift obstacles to personal outcomes
  • The power and limitations of counter-examples
  • Identifying progressive behavioural steps to overcome deep rooted resistance to change
  • Creating and implementing a programme to gradually cement behavioural change

From Coach to Awakener – Conversations on the Edge of Silence

  • Introduction: stimulating the deep learning and growth shaping the course of our lives 
  • Self and experience: figure and ground, content and container, the conditioned and unconditioned reflector of experience
  • How to tune into our own unconditioned awareness in order to perceive and respond to client misperceptions about the nature of self, world, and their relationship
  • Influencing the deep assumptions sustaining personal identity and life patterns. 
  • Reframing and outframing essential client misperceptions to free a more expanded worldview and awakened way of being in the client
  •  Freedom and flow in Conversation
  • Overcoming resistance to change: further applications with groups and organizations

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