Nick Kemp is a therapist and the developer of the therapeutic techniques of ‘Provocative Change Works’. Nick resides in the UK city of Leeds and has frequented as a guest on BBC Radio, curing phobics live on air. Nick will be presenting a three day seminar in Tel Aviv this coming June.
I am most excited to discuss with you your ‘Provocative Change Works’ approach as well as the upcoming training which you will be presenting in Tel Aviv this June, but first, having known you and from following your work quite closely over the past few years, I have come to realize that other than being a highly sought after therapist you are also an avid photographer as well as a music lover, all in all, quite a man of the arts.
With your visit being under a rather tight schedule, what will you be most looking forward to?
I am always interested in taking my PCW work to new countries and I have never been to Israel to date!
On the surface my interests in photography, music and arts may seem quite different, but the central theme is of course one of human expression and communication. I have heard a great deal about Israel and many of my favorite influences are of course Jewish comedians who have provoked the world into new ways of thinking and feeling. Groucho Marx, Woody Allen are just two examples of quite brilliant Jewish comedians that have been a major influence on my own work. I’m curious to see how my own Provocative Change Works is received in Tel Aviv and whether the response is similar to what I have discovered to date in other parts of the world, which is that humour and the human problems are universal regardless of social demographic, beliefs and age.
I first met Frank a decade ago and I was both highly entertained and totally mystified by his way of working. He seemed to defy all the conventions I had come to expect from 20 years of being involved in personal change, but was demonstrating quite breathtaking results. Crucially he worked in a very natural conversational manner and of course had decades of clinical experience having worked with some really tough clinical cases in Mendota Hospital in Wisconsin USA. Frank trained with Carl Rodgers the father of client centered therapy, but Frank’s own Provocative Therapy approach was totally different and like nothing I had ever come across. We became firm friends as well as professional colleagues. He stayed at my house many times over the years and I set up The Association for Provocative Therapy with Dr Noni Hoefner from Germany to maintain and promote his legacy. Frank is a major influence on my own PCW work and I greatly miss Frank since his passing in 2013.
In a few words, what is Provocative Change Works? Can one really provoke people to change?
PCW or Provocative Change Works is a communication model where a practitioner adopts a series of stances to provoke or stimulate the client into different ways of thinking and feeling.
There are 27 key stances that I teach during training courses. These client interactions are quite different to what often occurs in “formalized talk therapy” and the appearance is more like two old friends chatting. The PCW practitioner has a huge range of skills that allow them to assist the client in thinking and feeling differently, often in a very short period of time. To date I have conducted over 5000 hours in clinics and have had excellent results with clients in the UK, Europe, USA, and Asia.
Could you share with us a short example of what it means to use the PCW approach with clients?
Every client is different so it’s impossible to generalize about client outcomes, but for the most part clients really appreciate this conversational way of working. One of my most memorable clients in recent years was Pete Windridge from France who had a severe anxiety about swimming in the ocean and who was a few months later was due to swim the English channel for charity. After a couple of sessions this is what he reported
“Thank you for all your help – I couldn’t have done it without your help – You can now stand up in a room and say that your methods and techniques got this fat wheezing bloke across the channel, and I’d back you up 100%.”
Does one need to have a good sense of humor to be good at PCW?
It’s not essential for someone to have a good sense of humour to be good at PCW, but it really helps when people don’t take themselves too seriously! A good PCW practitioner has the skills to work with a wide range of clients with great ease and always is mindful of how to work in a productive and ethical manner.
Are there some types of people /cultures who suit PCW type work better than others?
To date I have found that PCW has worked equally well in all the countries I have visited and across all cultures and demographics. Fascinatingly the patterns of behaviour and the ways in which people create these patterns are very similar. When I run online study groups for students we look at footage from Asia, USA and India and people remark on how similar issues are. Many people I see as private clients have spent a great deal of time trying different therapeutic approaches without success. Often they appreciate this honest conversational and thought provoking way of working which doesn’t require extensive analysis and unhelpful analysis.
Which other countries have you presented your PCW workshops?
By the end of this year I will have presented PCW in India, Japan, UK, USA, Austria, Israel, Hungary, Spain, Sweden and Poland. I already have invitations for new countries in 2015 as people become more interested in Provocative Change Works.
For which type of issues have you found the PCW most effective?
PCW has been used to great effect with a wide range of client issues. To date I have had excellent success with anxiety issues, phobias, addictions, compulsions, anger issues, depression and food related problems among others. Over the years I have talked about these results during international TV interviews in Asia and Europe as well as during the UK BBC radio sessions.
What can one expect from a three day PCW training?
Expect to begin to think and feel differently about how you communicate. This workshop is highly interactive and is an excellent opportunity to learn about how to use provocation to great effect. I am one of the few Frank Farrelly approved trainers and PCW takes Frank’s work even further. I have road tested this material with thousands of clients, so I know how effective it is as an approach. This 3 day training is a level 1 PCW training and forms part of a full PCW practitioner which requires additional training. This is above all a training for business minds, coaches and therapists as well as anyone wanting to greatly improved their communication skills.
Thank you Nick and looking forward to meeting you in Tel Aviv!