The idea in recursive processes is that repeated viewing of an area will eventually resolve it. It will break through any social mechanisms and force one to look at what is actually there.
In processing an area we are working on uncovering the truth about it. The truth is usually not directly available, particularly not if it is a loaded area. Layers of untruth, misunderstanding, and so forth are found around the truth. When asked about the area, one is likely to respond with one of the many layers around the subject. By repeating the question loop, one will gradually peel off the layers and be able to see what is really going on.
Recursive techniques might consist of one direction or question or several directions or questions. If there are several directions, they are given sequentially over and over.
Recursive processes can be subjective (introverted) or objective (extroverted). Subjective processes ask one to examine one's beliefs, views, feelings etc. Objective processes ask one to examine one's environment.
Recursion works by exhausting the available responses. By repeatedly putting attention on a narrow area, one will run out of responses to it. One will then be forced to look deeper and to deal with it in a new way.
Recursion is one technique that could be administered robotically and still get results. That is, one could quite easily instruct a green facilitator to do nothing but asking the same question until a result appeared. That would not be very smooth or pleasant, but it would to some degree work, if both the facilitator and client agree to carry it through.
This is also a technique that can with benefit be done by oneself. It requires very little thinking to just do the same thing over and over, so one is not likely to distract oneself by thinking about what to do next.
Meditation is essentially a recursive technique one does by oneself. One sits down with a simple direction in mind, such as being present, or paying attention to one's thoughts, or to a particular outcome. Then one notices the responses that take place. And then one gets back to the objective again. It is a repetitive loop. Eventually all the responses will quiet down and one will simply be there, cleanly being aware, with no more reactions to it. And, in principle, that is the end of the process. But such a process can be done to various depths, so one could continue and do it to a deeper level.
In a session recursion is a simple way of covering a certain area. In itself the repeated questioning will tend to bring different aspects up for examination. Also it is likely to bring up stuff that is suitable for other techniques.
If something more heavy duty than just different viewpoints comes to light, it might be very appropriate to branch off to a technique that fits it. For example, an unwanted kinesthetic reaction calls for the Re-Experiencing technique, polarized personality parts calls for Polarity Integration and, so forth.
After branching off and resolving a specific phenomenon you can probably go back to the recursive question and continue it. Unless it is clearly apparent that it has been resolved with the deeper technique we switched to.
Recursive questions are usually quite general. They don't ask for a specific answer, but will naturally have many answers to them. They don't converge on anything in particular, they diverge into many different viewpoints. All on a certain subject, but we want many different angles on it. Also, the subject should not be very specific to the client, but would be worded as a more general phenomenon.
These are some examples of valid questions to use for recursive questioning:
"Tell me about sex"
"What would be interesting?"
"What have you succeeded at?"
"Think about relationships"
If the client walks in and tells you about a loaded area, you generally don't have much use for recursive questioning. Unless you absolutely can't think of anything else to do. It is always safe to repeat questions like:
"Tell me about ___"
"What have you thought about ___?"
"What has happened concerning ___?"
"What don't you understand about ___?"
but it is much better if you can do more interactive dialoguing or you isolate a phenomenon that you can use a more comprehensive technique for. But it is comforting to have a simple technique one can always fall back on.
Generally, recursive questioning is more in its place as a way of bringing up material when the client doesn't particularly notice anything special going on. If the client presents you with a specific complaint or some specific material, you probably would not think of using recursive questioning on it.