Radical thinking about change

I have been thinking lately about the way we, as psychologists, social workers, etc. have been trained to help people make changes. Most of us were not trained in the specific skills necessary to build a strong therapeutic relationship, even though it accounts for between 75-95% of any approach’s effectiveness. And we have been taught to dig into what is wrong, not what strengths, dreams and values the person has. It is as if we are taught to discourage the client first, then try to help him out of the hole we helped him dig! What do you think would happen if instead of rushing to dig into what is going wrong, we listened closely to what is good in his life, who he is, and explored his interests, his values, his dreams and what he hopes for himself, through simple and complex reflections, through really careful listening, and a gentle curiosity? What would we lose if we let go of our righting reflex? What might we gain?

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