The theme for the session is often a chord that is struck at the beginning. This might happen in various ways.
The client might come in with some kind of issue that is active. She might have had problems at work, or whatever. We would then probably work on whatever it is she is having problems with. However, it might not be clear at first HOW we will work on it, or exactly what is going on. So, it might take a little prodding before we realize what it is about, what the theme is.
If the client comes in feeling fine and without having any idea what to talk about, the facilitator will pick a general subject or technique, probably from the module currently being worked on. Whatever the facilitator picks will set the tone for what the session will be about.
It works best if the facilitator can pick a theme that has a distinct positive lesson in it for the person. The facilitator needs to get into the rhythm of steering towards a particular principle for the session. An applicable philosophical principle that is in a practical chunk that is big enough to fill up the session, and small enough to allow a completion in an hour. That takes some experience to have a sense of what exactly it is appropriate to pick.
This is one thing that makes the difference between a facilitator who gets great results and one who gets so-so results, even though they apparently apply the same technique or use the same question. See, it is not the exact question that is important. It is the underlying attainable lesson, discovery, state or experience that is waiting there for this particular client at this particular time.
The facilitator must develop a sense of what gift is lying there ready to be found by this client right now. In part, that comes out of observing where the person's attention is, and having a repertoire of philosophical principles handy.
A session doesn't have to start with either a problem the client presents or a general procedure from the facilitator's list. Sometimes it is most elegant to use whatever the client's attention falls on as an entry point to a philosophical theme. It doesn't have to be any hang-up at all, but simply a subject that somehow is touched upon.
As an example, my client this evening came in and mentioned a 3D picture she had seen in last Sunday's paper. That is certainly not a problem, and it is not either any subject that at first glance relates to any of our modules. But I think: "What is the underlying lesson in those 3D pictures where you have to shift your vision in order to see them?" Well, changing one's viewpoint and seeing things differently. That is rather perfect, that applies generally to life.
It is always great to link up the ideas we examine with something more tangible. That will give much more stable results, because it links up with an external validation. If you can make the thing "prove" the client's change, that is wonderful. So, whenever a suitable phenomenon presents itself, grab the chance by all means and attach some change to it.
With this client we worked with reframing of a few things she felt being a little hard in her life. I specifically asked for some material that I knew would fit the available lesson. We examined these "hard" issues from different views, noticing the positive side, realizing that what is hard from one angle is easy from another. What is a problem from one side is an opportunity from another. And then I continuously linked that up with the 3D picture phenomenon. What you see completely depends on HOW you see it. So, why not look at things differently to see what is hidden. And why not see things the way you'd like to see them. Because the world is what you see it is. See the world different and it IS different.
That is a very deep thing for a person to get. But if it is just presented as a theoretical idea the person doesn't necessarily take it on easily. But if we have at hand a physical phenomenon that "proves" that it is so, then our work is much easier.
Another client had arrived at a very simple and empowering conclusion about some principle about life. But she was a little bit hesitant about committing to it, wondering if it really could be that simple. I dropped the hint that the better truths are usually the more simple ones and that complication usually covers up a lack of truth. And I picked out a couple of items incidentally lying on the table next to me. The IRS Tax Code is a 3000 page tome of incomprehensible gibberish, and the US Constitution is a 16 page booklet in pretty straightforward language. Putting those two books next to each other on the table demonstrates quite powerfully the principle that truth is simple.
With a client who comes in whom I've been seeing for a while and we handled the major issues in her life already, so there isn't any particular crisis, we would usually do a little "small talk" first. Really what is going on is, I am trying to find out where her attention is at, if there is some material that can be the theme of this session. If I can find a theme that way, I'll prefer that. If I can't, I will resort to the written program of the current module.
I know by now that a theme always materializes, so I don't even worry about it. I have very little concern about getting anything specific done in a session. And I don't know at all in advance what we we'll be doing. What I DO know for sure is that we will be doing something that will be beneficial to the client.
The first task in a session is to prospect a little for an area where some gold is buried. You will be able to smell that. You might or might not know what gold we will find. In either case, its the client who has to find it. Even if you have a very specific lesson in mind, it is still something the client will discover. And if you have no clue, then you can both be surprised.
But, regardless of what exactly you do in the session, you need to have that sense of a coherent theme. You might know in the first second what the theme will be, or you might not really know before afterwards. But it still needs to be there.