Pressure versus pain can be somewhat difficult to intuit. Think about any time you hit your funny bone, or bump your knee on your desk. What do you do? As humans, and as predators, we generally grab the part or our body that got hurt. "Ow! I could have done without that!"
And we press on or hold the part that got hurt. This is actually a good thing at times, since if you have a cut you should apply pressure... but I digress. The point is, we move into pain. We quickly close in on pain. On the other hand, if someone is aiming at you with a water balloon, you tend to move away. We move away from pressure.
An example of pressure and pain could be a hard rubber ball at the end of a string, and your best friend, who is a bit of a trixter, swinging it. At first, you would move away from pressure, since you know your friend will probably bonk you on the head. However, when that friend finally nails you with the ball on your head, you will grab your head with your hand. You will move into the pain. Of course, if you are quicker, you will probably grab the ball... but that ruins my example.
The first thing you can look at when someone reacts to you, is whether or not YOUR behavior was interpreted as pressure or pain. In the picture below, my horse is not moving away, but is allowing me to pet him. This seems like a neutral position.
|Neutral - touching without pressure nor pain|
If I pinch my horse, what will he do? Well, I'd prefer not to experiment, but ultimately, it depends on how he interprets the feeling. When a horse feels the pinch of a girth being tightened, sometimes he turn to bite. This sounds like moving into pain. Other times, a horse may start to move away from a saddle when someone approaches. This sounds like moving away from pressure. This doesn't mean that when your horse calmly walks over to you he views you as pain!
An example of horses in a more natural environment would be when a horse pokes at his belly when he starts to colic. Moving into pain. When a horse walks away from another horse that has her ears pinned, that is moving away from pressure. In fact, that would be an example of emotional pressure, since there is no physical touch.
So, from this we learn that clients who move toward their treatment goals are moving because they or their therapist is providing them with pressure. When they leave or give up, they may have been pushed to the point of feeling pain, or too much pain.
When dealing with others, think about whether what you are doing elicits pain or pressure, and modify what you are doing to attain a more desirable result.