Provocative Therapy – How to Use it Effectively With Clients

by | Mar 11, 2018

Provocative Therapy involves using warm-hearted humour to bring light to the shadows, to illuminate the elephant in the room, and to help people to question their own assumptions – in a way that is visceral, impactful and memorable.

A provocative therapist will often play devil’s advocate, using surreal imagery and dramatisation to lampoon the client’s thinking, which allows the client to see their own patterns from the outside.

This activates the client’s psychological immune system, allowing them to immunise themselves against such unhelpful thought patterns (and behaviour patterns) in the future.

Find out more in this video…

If you’d like to get a deeper understanding of how this approach can be used to provoke rapid change, I have created a detailed, annotated transcript of one of Nick Kemp’s Provocative Change Works sessions:

Nick Kemp – Session with Laura – Annotated Transcript.pdf


About Frank Farrelly

Over the course of his life Frank Farrelly created a radically new model of therapy.

He was a tremendously experienced clinician, regularly treating people who had been institutionalised for years. With the methods he discovered, he got results where other people had failed.

Frank’s approach bypassed the normal conventions of therapy. He often took the side door to get into all the nooks and crannies of a client’s issue, coming at it from an angle they weren’t expecting.

He would use warmth and wit to provoke the client into using their own problem-solving capacities, to question their own generalisations, and to confidently assert themselves.

You can read more about Frank’s work at


About Nick Kemp

Nick Kemp was mentored extensively by Frank. Frank was highly complimentary about Nick’s work, and Frank bequeathed his entire archive of Provocative Therapy videos and audio recordings to Nick after his death.

Nick’s model – Provocative Change Works – breaks down the patterns of Provocative Therapy, and makes them teachable and learnable (something Frank himself never did).

Nick has worked with thousands of clients, and his model is thoroughly real-world tested.

He teaches how to educate the client at the start of the session, how to incorporate hypnosis and metaphor exploration, how to structure client recordings, and how to adopt various “provocative stances” with clients to provoke rapid change.

You can find out more about PCW at

Provocative Therapy and Provocative Change Works are approaches that I use within my own sessions. If you’d like to experience this way of working for yourself, you can get in touch with me here.

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