Dr Noni Höefner AFPT
I first met Frank Farrelly in a PT-workshop in 1985 in Munich and he totally destroyed most of the beliefs I had had so far concerning what you should do and what you should absolutely not do when you work therapeutically. He gave the clients nicknames, had no scruples at all to address their most shameful thoughts in a very cheerful and humorous way, and he touched the clients, without asking them for permission - which I had learned is absolutely forbidden.
This workshop changed my life, and I knew, that I had found the vein of gold, something which I had looked for in the last two decades. I had studied Psychology and finished it with a Master degree in the sixties in Munich, worked afterwards doing clinical research about endogene depressions in the Max-Planck-Institute and then made my Ph.D. in the seventies with a theses on personality-structure and satisfaction at work. After this I ran through several trainings, e.g. client centered therapy, hypnotherapy and NLP, and became an unhappy average therapist. In the eighties I was looking for something else. I was longing for something, where change was not so loaded with doom and gloom. I wanted to make change lighter, quicker, more efficient and sustainable. I found it in Frank Farrelly's Provocative Therapy and immediately fell in love with it.
After this first workshop Frank had no chance. I just did not let him go. Since 1985 I have accompanied him in innumerable workshops, and after we founded the D.I.P. (Deutsches Institut für Provokative Therapie, German Institute of Provocative Therapie) in 1988 we have organized a number of workshops every year in Germany. He and his wife June lived in our house, sometimes for several weeks, and so I really got to know him. We had night-long discussions and emptied some bottles of good wine together.
Since then this therapy did not loose it's grip on me. It influenced my working life as well as my private life. My husband and my two kids, who are both adult now and have kids of their own, know what I am talking about.
I do not say that I have understood all the implications of the complex provocative strategy, but I grabbed some of it in the last almost three decades. If you don't understand a thing, you should teach it and/or write books about it. So I did and figured out increasingly, why this approach is so efficient, why it works out so quickly, why it helps so many clients to (re-)gain control over their lives, to take on responsibility for themselves, to overcome anxiety and fear and to assume risks in a sensible way.
I owe Frank a lot. I am very grateful for the gift he gave me with Provocative Therapy and with his friendship over these long years, when I had the chance to watch him and his work so closely. I feel obliged to do all I can to carry on the provocative approach in trainings and further publications and I am happy when I manage to get across the spirit of a heart-felt appreciation and acknowledgement of the client's abilities, no matter how hopeless he or she seems at first sight. Exactly in the sense of one of Frank's favourite remarks: "As long as the body is warm you can do therapy".
Dr Noni Höefner