Another popular misconception is that “Provocative” means being comedic or funny! Years ago during one of my many conversations with Frank, he repeatedly groaned when a host asked to show the Patch Adams video during one of his trainings…
I similarly groan when I see “provocative therapy” presented as comedic as such characters have totally missed the heart of what Frank was teaching. The skill in being a provocative therapist is to have a massive amount of flexibility when working with clients and excellent state control. It’s not about emulating “Monty Python” or any other classic comedy, but rather responding in the here and now to the client’s verbal and non verbal responses. To date I have only seen a few people be able to work in this way alongside some really terrible attempts at what some imagine is “provocative” Usually there’s a total lack of subtlety and the practitioner is very formulaic in how they work. Frank asked me to preserve his archive and part of this task is to highlight this kind of behavior. Frank was decades ahead of his time and his archive reveals how groundbreaking his work is and how much courage he had in challenging the traditional therapeutic models of the day. His work remains quite unique and a massive influence on my own Provocative Change Works model. Yes laughter can occur in Provocative sessions BUT “provocative is NOT about being comedic”
A decade ago I attended a training where one such individual actually dressed up as a clown (yes you couldn’t make this up) when presenting the one day workshop. This is the worst example of distorting Frank’s original work and it’s in my view important to point out such nonsense. So if you see “Provocative therapy” or “Provocative trainings” presented as “stand up comedy” it’s not as Frank intended and more than likely not that funny either..
Nick Kemp 2016