The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

The solving fantasy

A few days ago I was working with a client. I had seen patterns in his behavior and offered their presence as a hypothesis. In his reaction, he tried to address the idea by highlighting how interesting he found it to then continue and explain that he wasn’t sure what to do with it.

It was a wonderful reaction, even more so as he shared his discomfort.

There are many hypotheses as to why this unease was present in his case. And there is no reason to assume that there is a right answer to it I would know.

Nevertheless, some principles govern behavior. Feeling uncomfortable in the face of uncertainty is one of them. Another is that individual behavior results from their interpretation of the situation and their understanding of how to address it.

Using these principles assists in developing a more specific understanding of a given situation. That is, for example, what it is that impacts interpretations and understandings, or how uncertainty may show up.

In the conversation with my client, both the interpretation of the situation as well as his understanding of how to address it seemed to be driven by a belief that he has to know how to deal with my input. As in previous reactions to my input, he was searching for an explanation but couldn’t find it this time. It then was probably his desire to deal with his uncertainty that led to him sharing that he didn’t know what to do with my input.

However, building on the assumption that he had to know what to do with my input, he couldn’t ask what to do with it. Nor did he think of asking, for example, if I had expectations linked to my input. He could only share that he didn’t know what to do.

He was still busy trying to solve the riddle he was confronted with.

All of this may sound like a little detail, and it certainly is. At the same time, it is a way to start exploring how someone else thinks and develop a conversation learning to know what contributes to that thinking.

Whatever unfolds from such an exploration can teach both a better understanding of who the client is and what narratives he is using to guide his way of being.





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