Having heard the story and checked on its accuracy, both therapist and clientÂ are ready for the next stage. It should be remembered, however, that this story isÂ almost certain to be altered, modified, enlarged upon during the course ofÂ therapy. But, for the moment, it is the agreed story.
During the spotlighting stage, the client is invited to select the parts of the storyÂ that seem to be most significant, most worthy of attention. He/she has alreadyÂ told the story but now is the time to concentrate on aspects of that story thatÂ seem to carry the most emotional weight. The client is controlling the spotlightÂ and the therapist is waiting to see what is revealed. The therapist may well have
his/her own agenda but it must wait. Wherever the client goes, the therapistÂ follows.
Now the co-operative venture takes off. The therapist is not unlike a sensitiveÂ director watching and listening to an actor, respecting his/her contribution butÂ stimulating, through thoughtful, empathic prompting, deeper exploration of theÂ part. The therapist will seek clarification and amplification of feelings, thoughts andÂ experiences. Both present and past concerns will be scrutinised.Â When the client has finished then the therapist puts under the spotlight areas ofÂ the client’s experience that he/she feels may have been overlooked intentionallyÂ or unintentionally. These are areas, in the therapist’s judgement, that may revealÂ important information.
At the end of the spotlighting stage, the therapist and client will have, by theirÂ mutual exploration, considerably deepened the content of the original story andÂ by so doing entered into a trusting relationship.