Trouble Shooter’s Guide
This is a brief guide designed to aid you in troubleshooting various issues that you might encounter during a TPM session. It is not all inclusive, but it covers many of the most common scenarios that may arise. This guide has been structured around the Seven Boxes to make it easier to identify your particular question or issue.
In addition to what is listed on these pages, we strongly encourage you to access the “TPM Compass” located on our website. This tool will help you quickly determine where you are on the MAP at any point in any session! With both the MAP and the Compass at your disposal, you never have to be lost in a session.
To access the “TPM Compass,” visit: Transformationprayer.org/the-tpm-compass
- If the Mentee is NOT feeling anything or is unable to connect to emotion, he is probably engaged in a solution. Ask the SOLUTION Box questions.
- The person seems to be unable to stop blaming the current situation for their emotional pain. They are solely focused on what recently happened and are unable to proceed. This may be a solution behavior, such as, “I have to hold onto what happened so that they don’t get by with what they did.” This could also potentially be due to their feeling angry but not admitting it. If this seems to be the case, ask, “Is any portion of what you are feeling being felt towards any person or any thing?”
- If the Mentee does not surface a memory in response to being asked the second EMOTION Box question, “What comes to mind as you focus on what you are feeling?” then several possible issues may be the case:
1) He does not understand the intent of the question. Be sure that he understands that you are NOT asking him to try to remember something or go on a memory hunt. The purpose of the question is to remind the Mentee to be focused on what he is feeling and to be attentive to the process of association.
2) He is choosing not to remember to solve a perceived problem. As such, he has a lie-based reason to not remember. If this is the case, ask the SOLUTION Box questions.
3) He is angry but has not yet acknowledged it. Anger is a solution that has many different ramifications, including not being able to move forward in a ministry session. You might ask, “Is any portion of what you are feeling being felt toward any person or thing?”
- If, after asking the second EMOTION Box question, the person reports having multiple memories come to his mind and does not know which one to deal with, simply have him choose one. It really does not matter which one. You can also simply ask the second EMOTION Box question again to see if one memory comes into focus more than another. Once he lands in a memory, you are still in the EMOTION Box until no new memory comes to his mind.
- If after asking, “What comes to your mind as you focus on what you are feeling?” the Mentee repeatedly comes back to his current situation and does not focus on any other memory, a couple of factors need to be considered:
1) The Mentee does not understand the purpose of the question being asked.
2) The Mentee may just want to have someone listen to and acknowledge his perceived injustice. If you choose to do this, it doesn’t mean you’re agreeing with his perception or validating the accuracy of his assessment of the situation, but only listening. You might say something like, “That sounds very difficult,” or “I’m sorry that happened,” etc. Coming alongside a mentee who has been treated unfairly or unjustly is always appropriate.
Although empathy and compassion are usually appropriate, we must not lose focus of the purpose for meeting. If our empathy and compassion cause the Mentee to “feel better,” then we are being counter-productive in the moment, as we may be unknowingly assisting him to suppress what he is feeling.
3) Orientation is needed here to help the Mentee understand the purpose of the ministry session. If they are only seeking affirmation, empathy, or counsel, this may need to be addressed in a different setting. They need to understand what TPM is and what it is not.
- If a memory comes to the person’s mind a couple times, but he says his emotions have gone away or he reports not feeling anything, then he is engaged in a solution behavior. Ask the SOLUTION Box questions.
- If the Mentee complains about the MEMORY Box questions being redundant, this is an indication that he does not understand the process or the purpose of the questions. Take time to explain the purpose of these questions.
- If the Mentee responses to the first two MEMORY Box questions are looping or repeating, but no potential heart belief has been identified, you are still in the MEMORY Box. Ask the looping question: “Why does believing _____make you feel _____?”
- If the Mentee is focused on a memory, while feeling emotion, and is not looping, but a potential heart belief has not yet been identified, you are still in the MEMORY Box. Continue asking the two primary questions. But know that you might also be dealing with a solution.
If the Mentee is in the MEMORY Box but reports that his emotion has shifted from being negative to something more positive, this is likely a solution behavior. Ask the SOLUTION Box questions.
Mentee: “I was feeling very afraid and knew that something bad was about to happen. So I ran into my closet and hid under a blanket. It is as though I became invisible.”
Mentor: “How does that make you feel?”
Mentee: “I was feeling afraid, but now everything got still and quiet. I feel better.”
Mentor: “Why do you feel that way?”
Mentee: “Because I am in the closet and invisible.”
Mentor: “How does that make you feel?”
Mentee: “Better. It’s quiet now.” (If you ask the “looping question” here, it will not work.)
Mentor: “Why does hiding under a blanket and becoming invisible make you feel better?”
Mentee: “Because I am invisible.” (Ask the SOLUTION Box questions using the act of “becoming invisible” as the solution behavior.)
- If the Mentee responses to the first two MEMORY Box questions are looping or repeating, and they fit the definition of “heart belief,” you are still in the MEMORY Box. Ask the looping question. If the person responses with the same belief, move to the BELIEF Box and ask the baseline question.
- If the Mentee’s response to the BELIEF Box question is something like, “No, I know that’s not true,” then the person may not fully understand what is being asked. This question is not asking IF the belief is true. It is only asking if the belief feels or seems true, even though the person likely already knows (intellectually) that it is not true.
- If the Mentee’s response to the BELIEF Box question is something like, “No, that does not feel or seem true,” then the actual belief has not yet been identified. You essentially need to start over by asking “What are you feeling now” in the EMOTION Box. And, if after focusing on what is felt, the same memory comes to mind, move to the MEMORY Box.
- If the Mentee’s response to the question, “My we present this belief to the Lord?” is “no,” then they are likely avoiding going to the Lord for truth in order to solve a perceived problem. Their choice to not ask for truth is their solution behavior. Ask the SOLUTION Box questions.
- Never assume that anything has happened just because the Mentee claims to have heard from God. At the same time, do not assume that nothing has happened just because the person claims that nothing happened. Always test for transformation.
- No matter what the Mentee does or says after asking the Lord for truth, the Mentor’s next step is always to ask the TRANSFORMATION Box question.
- There are several potential reasons for why the Mentee would answer the TRANSFORMATION Box question with a “Yes.” Those reasons include:
- The person may simply not understand what is being asked. They might think you are asking, “Is it true that _____?” or “Did it seem or feel true that _____?” etc.
- The Mentee yet willing or able to receive due to a solution belief.
- The actual heart belief has not yet been identified. More questioning and exploration is needed.
- The person is angry. Anger can clog up communication making it difficult to hear.
- The belief that was tested with the TRANSFORMATION Box question was worded differently from how it was used in the BELIEF Box. This is the fault of the Mentor. Write down the belief!
- It is important to note that regardless of the reason or cause for their response to the TRANSFORMATION Box question, the next step is always to check the clock and to proceed to the EMOTION Box if you have time.
- The Mentee claims to still feel “bad” even though they reported that the identified lie-based belief no longer feels true. The remaining negative emotion is an indication that there are other lies currently triggered. You are in the EMOTION Box.
- If the solution behavior is still present after dealing with a lie-based belief that supported its use, then other solution beliefs are likely present and need to be identified. It is common for a mentee to believe more than one lie which supports their solution behavior. Work through the SOLUTION Box question again to identify another solution belief.
- If the Mentee’s response to the first SOLUTION Box question is “no,” but the solution behavior remains, he may need clarification and instruction regarding the concept of solutions and an explanation of what is meant by “resistance” and “hesitancy.” Preface the question with, “I am not asking you do anything, to stop doing something, to try to do anything, etc. I am only asking you to check for any resistance or hesitancy you may feel as you consider (doing the opposite of their solution behavior).”
In some cases, you may just simply ask the next question, “What do you believe would happen if you were to _____ that would cause you to hesitate or resist doing so?” Ideally, however, you want to equip the Mentee so that they understand the Process well. You should not want them to be dependent upon your involvement; otherwise, they will miss the opportunities for mind-renewal that God has for them unless you are in the room with them.
- The Mentee is engaged in a distracting behavior such as repeatedly opening his eyes, fidgeting in his chair, shaking his leg, wringing his hands, biting his nails, twisting his hair, etc. Any of these behaviors could potentially be used as a solution behavior. If this seems to be the case, ask the SOLUTION Box questions.
- If the Mentee repeatedly explains things away, minimizes the situation, makes excuses for what they feel or remember or are doing, this will either be due to their lack of understanding regarding the Process and Principles of TPM or it is a solution behavior.
- If the Mentee remembers disappearing, dying inside, putting up a protective wall, numbing out, going invisible, etc. in order to deal with their painful situation, ask, “How does that make you feel?” If they report a negative emotion, continue asking the MEMORY Box questions. If they report a positive change in emotion, or if their pain diminishes, ask the SOLUTION Box questions.
- If dissociation and/or alternate personalities (alters) hinder the process, do not change how you administer the process. Work with whichever part of the mind chooses to present itself. Understand that “alters” are essentially personified solutions. Each one is fulfilling a role, performing a task, or providing a solution that is supporting the person’s dissociation (which is a solution in and of itself). The protocol is the same even when you are addressing dissociation or Dissociative Identity Disorder. Follow the same MAP, asking the same questions, in the same way. This even holds true for highly complex SRA memory as well. Expect to spend a great deal of time revisiting the SOLUTION Box again and again, chipping away at solution belief after solution belief.
- If the Mentee reports having what is believed to be a “womb memory,” do nothing different; simply follow the standard protocol. Do not attempt to interpret or explain, as your perspective is neither needed or helpful. Remember, it is not the memory that is causing the emotional pain, but rather the belief with which the memory is associated. Ask the same questions you would ask in any other memory.
- If the Mentee seems to be analytical or overly rational in an attempt to explain away their pain, ask the SOLUTION Box questions.
- If the Mentee claims to not have the capacity or strength to choose to feel or remember, then this is likely a solution behavior, as we each have the capacity to connect with our emotions, remember our memories, identify our beliefs, etc. Their behavior is already an expression or the resistance and hesitancy that is asked about in the first SOLUTION Box question. Ask the SOLUTION Box questions.
- The Mentee has reported that nothing is going on: no emotions, no memory, and no thoughts. If the Mentee reports feeling peace and is not triggered, have them share about any recent event that triggered their emotions. If there are no negative emotions, use the time to teach and offer orientation regarding the Purpose, Principles, and Process of TPM. Remember, the Mentor’s highest goal is to mentor the Mentee.
- If the Mentee responds to any of the TPM questions with, “I don’t know,” then either they misunderstand what is being asked, they are genuinely confused, or are using “not knowing” as a solution to a perceived problem. The context will determine the appropriate course of action.
- If anything causes the session to stall out at any point, go to the SOLUTION Box and ask the questions therein.
- The Mentee appears to be angry but has not admitted it yet. This can occur at any stage of the process. Always provide orientation concerning anger, so that the Mentee is alert to anger and able to call attention to it. If you have informed the Mentee about anger, and you are RELATIVELY CERTAIN that it is present although unacknowledged, ask, “Is any portion of what you feel being directed toward anyone or anything?”
- If the Mentee’s response to the second “angry at God question, “Why does that make you angry at God?” does not depict his or her opinion or perspective of God, His character, His nature, His capacity, etc. simply ask the question again.. Occasionally, this question needs to be asked a few times due to the person’s ignorance of the Process or the simple fact that he needs to dig a little deeper. You can also replace the “that” of the question using the most recent statement that the Mentee made.
Mentor: “Why do you feel angry towards God?”
Mentee: “Because He let that man hurt me.”
Mentor: “Why does that make you angry towards God?”
Mentee: “Because He should have stopped him.”
Mentor: “And so, why does that make you angry at Him?”
Mentee: “Because He could have stopped him but He chose not to.”
Mentor: “Why does believing that God could have stopped him but He chose not to make you angry at Him?”
Mentee: “Because God didn’t do what He was supposed to do.”
Mentor: “And why does that make you angry at God?”
Mentee: “Because, apparently, God can’t be trusted. He is not as faithful as He claims to be.”
If it appears that the process does not work with the Mentee receiving ministry, first consider whether you are having good success with others with whom you are ministering. If not, there may be a Mentoring issue. Seek out someone to observe and practice with in a safe, training environment.
- Feel free to send a specific and detailed description of the issue, as you understand it, to the TPM office for help. If you are not having the same issues with other people, but only with a particular case, it will almost always be due to a solution of some sort.
- There really is only a limited number of things that show up and cause problems in a typical session; and almost all of them are solution behaviors. The vast majority of those who are learning and applying TPM have reported very positive outcomes and high success rates. If TPM is only successful with some of the people with whom you are doing ministry, then you are likely missing something in your application of TPM. When there is a consistent difficulty with a particular person, it is almost always because of a solution that has not yet been rightly identified.
- If the Mentee is unwilling to prepare for a session by reading the assigned materials, watching specific videos, etc., you can simply make it mandatory; “no study, no sessions.”
- If the Mentee is unwilling to have anyone in the room except for the Mentor, you can make the requirement be “no prayer partner, no session.”
- If a mentor on the ministry team refuses to follow TPM protocol and insists on being allowed to “follow the Spirit,” you can make following protocol mandatory, if this is what your church has decided. If the Mentor cannot comply then they should find another place to minister (assuming TPM is the ministry tool that you have chosen for your setting and ministry context).
- If a Mentee repeatedly misses appointments or cancels meetings at the last moment, direct confrontation is the best policy. Help him understand that when he fails to show up at the agreed upon time, it is not only a waste of the Mentor and Prayer Partner’s time, but it also prevents others from having a session. Consider requiring some non-refundable donation before he makes his next appointment. When he does make it to his session, you might ask him what he feels in those moments when he is thinking about canceling or not showing up. His habitual canceling of appointments is probably driven by a lie-based emotion and is his “solution” to the pain.