Content Free or Analytical?


I see so much debate that all you need is the content free technique vs you need to understand the problem.I think the two are both fantastic and one shouldn’t exist without the other. I think being an analytical therapist requires more skill as you are required to be a detective and find the cause of your client’s problem which requires a thorough understanding of the mind and developmental behaviour. Saying that, marvelous results can be achieved with working the emotional expression of the behaviour in a content free way. Below is an excerpt from the manual for our training course ‘The Dynamic Therapist’ discussing the above:

In truth, both work. There are some wonderful content free techniques which we will talk about on this course, these techniques come and go depending on what the latest trend is. I always have concerns about working content free as there is an element of “the subconscious knows”, which I’m not sure it does. There are, of course, times when you don’t need to know and moving from problem state to solution state is relatively straightforward. However, some people’s issues are multi-factorial and accentuated by their current environment and a degree of therapeutic detective work is required so the subconscious understands it is safe to release the behaviour that is disrupting the client’s life. For example, in a case of agoraphobia, the client is afraid of open spaces and the subconscious is creating this fear as a while ago the person was attacked and mugged so it is deemed safer to stay inside, the subconscious will not release this fear until it is sure the danger is over, so subconscious dialogue/analysis is required. In analysis the story is everything, it’s where you learn from your client about their life, loves, hopes and dreams. You build a picture of them in your head and relate that to your knowledge of how the subconscious works and cross-reference this with any unmet human needs. This is a very thorough approach and requires a dynamic therapist and not a robo-therapist. Analysis doesn’t mean working slowly, with the techniques in this course you can and will learn rapid analysis and resolution techniques. There is a popular saying amongst NLP hypnotists in that analysis re-traumatises the client. This is utter nonsense as the client is already in trauma as that’s why they’ve come to see you, you’re helping them de-traumatise.

Content free:

Pros:    Can be rapid interventions.
Don’t need to know the story, shorter session times
Embarrassing issues don’t have to be spoken about
Easy to implement

Cons:   Have to trust the issue is resolved
Not thorough. Could be multi-layered issues but you’ll never know
Risk leaving unresolved conflict in related issues.


Pros:    Rapport and trust building
Client feels listened to and taken seriously
Match appropriate technique to client
Can be sure of getting to root cause of problem

Cons:     Can take a couple of sessions longer
Client has to be open and honest about things they’ve done
Can be very emotional – although this is desired as client ‘in state’

​ So you see there is a place for both in our world. Being a Dynamic Therapist means knowing both and having the range of tools and techniques to know the best way to help your client through their moment of need

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