I ask my friends lots of questions. I try to get them talking as much as they can. Sometimes I’ll deflect questions about me and try to get them talking again. It’s fun to do because I enjoy listening to people tell their stories. Most people like talking too, and about themselves even more. It’s a win win and I believe that people appreciate talking to me and being heard dramatically improves ones understanding about what they are talking about.
However, every now and then I try to engage someone who is fairly unwilling to talk. I keep asking questions and they keep deflecting them over and over. I can be persistent and think I can come off as kind of pushy. There have been times when I felt the need to apologize for probing. Friends are good about saying it doesn’t matter and I do back off so there isn’t much harm done.
But if they were to ask me why I’m asking them, what value there is in talking about the big issue I would tell them that they need to make their story boring and the only way to make it boring is to tell it over and over and over again. I need you talk about the feelings, the consequences of all the actions, what was said, and by who. What other stuff was going on at the time and how was it impacted by the traumatic event. If it’s a forward looking thing, how will life be different as a result of whatever happens, what do you think you will feel like, what do you think you will say, how will people respond, etc…. Take a 50000 foot view and zoom in to make everything as granular as possible talking about each detail as it being the most important thing in your life.
It will likely take a few conversations and a lot of talking before the story becomes boring, but it’s very important that you stick with it and keep talking it out. It will become boring for you to tell eventually and when it does, you will begin to break free.
This is effective at helping people get past issues because it gives them the chance to make their thoughts real by speaking and having another person hear what they are saying. Being heard is the best way to turn your thoughts into something real. By allowing the complete emptying about a subject, you are clearing your unconscious brain of the things that were actively simmering below the surface. This clearing helps to close mental loops which consume mental processing capacity and the end result is improved mental functioning and energy, and a sense of liberation / happiness.
I have used this technique on myself and with other people and it tends to make people feel significantly better. You can feel things leaving you and your mood improves as the story becomes more and more boring. Eventually you just stop telling it and break free.
If you are the type of person who doesn’t talk about their problems or the things that bother you yet seem to always have them on your mind consider talking about them with someone who has the patience to hear what you are saying and who can help you talk the thing to death. If done completely it’s going to present your problem in a whole new light, one free from emotional arousal and based on logic and clear thinking.