Perceptual Distinctions (PDs) are specific, detailed qualities and quantities in the different perceptual systems. The perceptual systems are primarily Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic, that is, pictures, sounds and feelings. There is also Olfactory and Gustatory, i.e. smell and taste, but they have less of a use in processing in that there isn't much we can change about them.
Perceptions are seen in contrast to mental labels and other secondary mind manifestations. What we are after here is what one actually perceives, either with the physical senses, or that one perceives in a similar fashion in one's inner reality. It must be stuff that is actually sensed, not just words about something or the other.
The first task is to get the person to actually see, hear and, particularly, feel elements of her inner reality. Any process or technique will only work to the degree that we are interacting with a reality. Where that reality is and who agrees with it is secondary, the point is just that there is something that exists that is perceived.
Having gotten some detail on a certain reality, the next step is essentially to find out where the limitations are and how we can establish more freedom.
If the client's inner picture of her work situation is that a bunch of foggy things are moving around randomly, that probably limits her. That will correspond to exactly why she is feeling frustrated about not getting anything done. So, when she mentions her frustration, the first thing to do would be to get some more perceptual details. Visual information is always good, in that it is the easiest to change. Then let us see where the limitations are and what we can exercise doing differently. Well, if the different tasks are foggy and unclear, then she can't really see what exactly needs to be done. And if everything is moving, nothing stays still long enough for her to get somewhere with it. So, what do we do? We change the visualization to make things more clear and get something to stand still. How exactly to do that depends on what works for her. Maybe she finds that if she steps back and gives herself some space, and then pulls one thing in and makes it more clear and close, then she doesn't feel frustrated.
The thing is that the person doesn't just have vague, random reactions for vague, random reasons. There are very specific perceptual distinctions being made in specific sequences to get specific effects. If we change the perceptions, the reactions will change.
All perceptual distinctions have controls, most of which are sliding scales. There is a quality or quantity that you can control to make more of it or less of it. Some of these controls are more important to an individual than others, and different positions will have different effects.
If you find that a big picture makes the associated feelings stronger and a small picture makes them weaker, well, there is an excellent tool. A tool that you can very easily put in somebody's hands. The client just needs to learn to make her positive self-image and her positive goals bigger, and her fears and anxieties smaller.
Once a person realizes that what she does with pictures will control how she feels, that is really empowering.
Sounds work the same way. If one has a voice in one's head saying "You'll never get it right", then its tone of voice and tempo and pitch and location are probably critical. If it is exactly "right", you feel depressed about it. But if we change the qualities, making it faster, more high pitched, coming from 50 ft away and so forth, then the experience changes. It is hard to feel bad the same way about Dad's reprimands when his voice sounds like he just breathed helium and he is hanging under the ceiling.
Perceptual processing can be used in many situations where other techniques might be effective too. You would probably use it in situations where it occurs to you that the person is limited because of her own perceptions. Well, she always is, but if it particularly becomes apparent to you, it probably means that perceptual processing would work.
You can also use perceptual processing to supplement other types of work. It goes very well hand in hand with approaches like clearing of incidents, that are more oriented towards finding negative reasons. Perceptual processing is more positive, assuming that the individual of course is the cause of it all and she just needs to do something different. Both approaches balance each other off.
It is also very useful to get perceptual distinctions for many different areas, just to explore how they work. This fits in fine in any module. Like, if we are working on communication. There are specific perceptions that go along with being shy, or with being communicative, with wanting to communicate, or not wanting to communicate. There are perceptions that determine when and where one feels it is right to communicate and with whom. By discovering these the person can start to control them and use them as tools, rather than just being at the receiving end of them.
Just talking about any segment of life is useful. But if you can also identify the perceptions that govern it, the person will be better helped. If she knows what perceptions of that segment affect her in which ways, she can take charge over them. The controls for her behavior will be put in her hands.