Provocative Therapy (Provoking people to help themselves)
In April 1996, a friend sent me a flyer advertising a seminar on the use of humour in psychotherapy. An American called Frank Farrelly was running it and the process was called Provocative Therapy. I went down to Surrey University for the weekend course, but within minutes of seeing Frank demonstrate Provocative Therapy, I had a tremendous sense of ‘coming home’. The various pieces of my life started to fit into place. It had all been a journey that was meant to arrive at that very moment; my experience of the ‘nowness’ of the moment was profound. Perhaps all moments are this sacred; we just don’t recognize them as such.
Frank was doing 20-minute modules with volunteers and of course I went on stage and had a session with him. I remember it well. He just used humour to strip away the false and leave me with the truth that was always within me. The next day I did a 3-minute exercise in the group and this was also a profound experience. This time my therapist was Phil Jeremiah, a psychiatric social worker from Birmingham. We hit it off immediately, became close friends and eventually formed BIPT, The British Institute of Provocative Therapy.
But what about homeopathy? I find working with Provocative Therapy completely compatible with using homeopathic remedies. Without knowing that I was a homeopath, Frank Farrelly told a story of a homeopathic doctor who came up to him after a seminar and said that Provocative Therapy was ‘homeopathic’. The patient presents the problem and the therapist ‘potentises’ it with humour and gives it back to the patient as a remedy. Did I need any more confirmation that I was in the right place at the right time? I became very enthusiastic about Provocative Therapy and was fortunate enough to have Frank Farrelly supervise my difficult cases. This was done by telephone across the Atlantic and called ‘snoopervision’ by Farrelly. Once again I felt privileged to be accepted as a pupil by a great master especially in a subject that totally suited my personality.