This therapeutic method enables us to better:
The client formulates a "Sentence" of Intention, based on any issue they want to explore. This "sentence" may be a statement or question or even a picture, which illustrates something of the client's intention for change, up to a maximum of 7 words or "elements".
Once the "sentence" is written up on the board, the client begins by choosing people from the group to resonate with each "word" (or element of drawing). The client signals for the process to begin and in this way "activates" those who are resonating. After a brief contemplative time, the client proceeds, accompanied by the facilitator, to check in with each person and discover what they are experiencing. The dynamics that arise between client and resonators show something of the clients' internal and unconscious reality (intra-psychic state). The client ideally understands something new about themselves from what they see in the actions and dialogue of the representatives, and by noticing their own reactions to what occurs during the process. The facilitator affords the client autonomy and authority in making sense of what they see, and priority is given to what they understand for themselves. During the process the facilitator may ask the client questions or offer observations about what they see. The role of facilitator is to hold a safe space and to understand what is depicted, as it relates to trauma theory.
The phenomenon of "resonating" with a word using the Intention Method, is understood as occurring primarily through mirror neurons and limbic resonance. Our innate ability to empathise with people is based in the limbic brain, and enables us to resonate with a part of another person's psyche. This resonance is best experienced rather than explained, although everyday examples might include having a feeling that someone we love is in trouble, or 'knowing' who is there when the doorbell or phone rings. These phenomena are more linked with our subconscious awareness and are sometimes labelled 'intuition'. Similarly, when we see another person cut themselves, we often have a physical and emotional reaction that in some way 'mirrors' that person's experience; in this instance the mirror neurons that fire in the brain of the person who is hurt also fire in our brain, as we witness the incident. The work of Rupert Sheldrake explores resonance in more detail.
Integrating the experience is a subtle process which develops over time, ultimately effecting real, lasting change. The therapeutic process does at times bring immediate catharsis to the client as something important shifts, usually the culmination of a number of smaller steps. Nonetheless, every step is equally important in bringing the client gradually into better contact with their healthy self. Previously unconscious thoughts or feelings coming into conscious awareness may be enough to encourage important life changes. When a client makes healthy contact with themselves, or some denied truth surfaces, the representatives usually feel relief from the tensions they were holding on the clients behalf. Their reactions serve to verify the step the client has taken in the process. On other occasions the client has new insights and experiences a shift in perspective which is more nuanced. This too can lead to a powerful change of heart and mind which leads on to the next productive step and can cumulatively lead to a much bigger step forward. The value of a particular process is not always immediately obvious and can become clearer in the days or weeks that follow. We start handling old problems in new ways, we react to situations with new awareness and courage, we may find symptoms are relieved or alleviated.