With ten chapters and 101 techniques to choose from, many people are asking me how I would recommend they tackle reading it! I’ll admit – faced with 400 pages it can be hard to know where to start!
My own sense is that there are two types of reader – there’s the “cover to cover” person and then there’s the “dipper”. I fall into the second category and therefore that’s probably what I would suggest doing. The philosophical chapters are organised alphabetically, as are the techniques within the chapter – so it really is quite arbitrary as to what follows what.
My sense is that only the most eclectic and rigorous of practitioners will feel equally informed and skilled in using all ten philosophies. How you read the book, will be connected to what you want to get from it. For example, the book could be used to extend the number of techniques you work with in a philosophy you know well. In this case, go to the chapter you are familiar with and see what techniques you have yet to come across. It could also be used to introduce yourself to a new philosophy and to some techniques associated with it. In which case read the philosophy first and then see which of the techniques feel most accessible to you. Finally, you may be curious to discover where techniques you have used many times, originate from. Here you could find the technique in the index (bear in mind that it might not have the exact title you use) and then read the philosophy in which it is located. I am hopeful that the book will, therefore, have broad appeal.
Wherever you choose to start, I do have one request. Before using a technique with a client, make sure you have read the philosophical chapter in which it sits. Without this context, it is entirely possible that the technique may become distorted or offered inappropriately. Using a technique without this understanding makes it more likely that the approach will be ineffective.
While I’d like readers to honour the philosophy behind the techniques, I would be disappointed if this led to a cookie-cutter approach! My encouragement is to understand the method and to understand the mindset with which it was developed. Then, ideally, find some fellow practitioners to experiment with. Through that experimentation, you will get a sense of how it sits with your personal style. From here you can adapt it to be congruent with your underpinning way of working. Of course, some approaches will be quite inconsistent with your way of working. So be prepared to discard what doesn’t fit. And if you are up for a bit of challenge perhaps you might deliberately work with something that is very different to your normal style. This can be particularly useful if your client is stuck, or if you feel you are becoming unhelpfully comfortable in your ways of bringing value.
I hope the book helps you discover something which both deepens and extends your current practice. We have set up a LinkedIn book club group where you can share your experiences. I would love to hear how you get on there!