The German physicist Werner Heisenberg was mostly interested in sub-atomic particles. And that is where the principle becomes most obvious. There is the annoying problem that you can't measure what a sub-atomic particle is doing without changing what it is doing. So, you can't know what it was REALLY doing in the first place, because as soon as you measure it it will do something different. One phenomenon that is discussed in quantum physics is how a particle is sometimes a particle, and sometimes a wave. It will appear in very distinctly different ways depending on what method of observation is used.
Think about what is involved in taking a photo of another person. It they know you are taking a picture they will invariably change their facial expression and body position. Even if they didn't see you taking the picture, if you show it to anybody afterwards they will inevitably change their relation to that person a little bit. And you having taken the picture will interact a little differently with the person based on the experience of taking it. You can't JUST take a picture without it somehow influencing that person to change a bit, even if it is just a trifle and goes unnoticed.
Now, that is even more noticeable if we are doing a processing session. Two people will spend an hour together, communicating. There is no way that they are not going to influence each other. And that is the idea, too. The whole intention is that the client will walk away as a different and better person with more choices after she has spent that time with the process facilitator. If the facilitator and her actions didn't leave any impression at all on the client she wouldn't have changed, of course.
It is one of our basic rules of transformational processing that the facilitator should be neutral. So, how do we reconcile that with the apparent fact that we can't avoid influencing the client?
First of all, being neutral does not mean that you don't influence the client. Being neutral means that you don't take sides, you don't favor one extreme over another. You don't advocate any specific ideas or behavior as the right ones. You allow the client to be what she is and to desire what she desires. You help her with what she wants, without having any judgment about it.
Transformational Processing is based on certain beliefs, like that people are cause, improvement is possible, better perceptions is a good thing, there are positive intentions behind everything, and wholeness is better than fragmentation. Our whole system is based on these very big and general ideas. They are not polarized ideas, they are not against anything. Therefore it is fairly safe to apply them to anybody and expect them to go along with them. We will not apply them authoritatively, we might discuss them, but we will be open to the client having different ideas.
However, occasionally somebody might be polarized against one of the key principles of processing. Usually we can work around that and get them to change their minds, but sometimes we can't. We will then have to respect the person's integrity and the way they are creating their reality, and we would have to back out. Processing is for people who would like to change and who would go along with becoming more cause.
Neutrality means to not judge and to not have opinions and reactions about what the client presents. It is what it is. That is the only effective attitude to have if you want to help her change. To help her change you have to present her with some communications that she will respond to internally and externally, and thereby she will change herself.
We can't avoid influencing the client. But we can influence her in a way that supports her in what she wants, and which makes her stronger, having more choices, being more aware, and having more fun. And we can respect her integrity.
The client is not just a conscious mind. Parts of her are sub-conscious or super-conscious. Our pledge of assistance is not just to the conscious portion, but to the whole person.
It is OK to exert influence that is in agreement with the whole person. It is not OK to exert influence that isn't in agreement with the whole person.
You might pursue a line of questioning that implies that the client is herself cause over a certain problem, even though she consciously claims that she is total effect of it. You might do that from the confidence that at a deeper level she is fully cause over her problem, and that will come to light if you work a little at it.
The better you are at knowing what the client really wants, the more precisely and specifically can you influence her, while still respecting her integrity. You can to some degree go by what she says explicitly, but certainly not exclusively. If she tells you that she wants to get rid of the part of her that feels things, then you are better off disobeying. You can much better trust what she states positively that she wants, but be very suspicious about the stuff she wants to get rid of. When you look deeper there is usually quite a different story, and good reasons why she has created it for herself.
You don't influence the client blindly either. Whatever you do or say, notice what effect it has on the client. Evaluate for yourself if it brought her further in the direction she needs to go in or not. Make the appropriate adjustments to make your communications work better.
Don't be afraid of influencing people. But influence them in ways that give them more choices in life, not in ways that limit their choices.