The five T’s of Impact Therapy

The five T’s: Theory, Timing, Teaching, Training and Thinking are key concepts of Impact Therapy.

Impact Therapy is built on the premise that all sessions should be theory driven. Since Impact Therapy is an active form of therapy, the educator/facilitator has to always be aware of the timing of his/her strategies and techniques. There are times during facilitation when teaching and training are appropriate ways to have impact. Thinking plays a major part in Impact Therapy with regard to both the practitioner and the parties.

Adapted for use in marriage and relationship education, Impact Therapy provides the facilitator/educator with ways to frame the facilitation and to encourage the parties to be active, thinking, seeing and experiencing during each session, speeding up the facilitation by introducing multisensory, motivational, and marketing and maps to the processes.

Whilst firmly in the realm of transformative work and closely related to therapeutic counselling, Impact Therapy aims to help the parties to get to the core of the problem by cutting off unnecessary details, irrelevant stories and unfocussed discussion (Jacobs and Schimmel, 2013, pp 5). 

Integrating concepts from Relational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), Transactional Analysis (TA), Gestalt, Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT) and Reality Therapy with creative techniques, the approach is action and insight oriented and can be explained in the following 4 M’s:

  • Multisensory: Using multisensory tools activates neurons in the brain which tend to make the mediation more effective, increases meaning attribution and easier recall at a later date. Multisensory tools include, props, butchers paper, chairs, mindfulness and experiential learning exercises.
  • Motivational: Working with the parties to increase their motivation is best achieved by focusing on the balance of desire/aspiration and challenge/fear that gets in the way.
  • Marketing: Creating relevance in our work to what the parties need, often leads to openness to change and an opportunity to do something different rather than a process that is a hassle or a boring experience.
  • Maps: Maps are tools that help mediators enable the parties to get to where they need to go. Along with the use of REBT, TA, Gestalt, RCT and Reality Therapy, the educator using the Impact Therapy approach, uses the following RCFFS therapeutic map and depth chart to guide the discussion.

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