In counseling, we often have to balance the validation and acknowledgement of our patient’s experience, with the “challenge” of new ideas and strategies to move our patients forward.
Sometimes we over validate, and sometimes we over challenge. It’s a very sensitive dance indeed, and if in doubt, go back to more validation.
The challenge of new ideas and strategies may be met with some resistance in the form of defensiveness, anger, or “excuse giving”. This is often unintended.
Resistance may indicate that we have to shift back to more validation, acknowledgement, and defusion before moving forward again.
With acknowledgement, we must be careful not to acknowledge, and then follow with a “but”. “But” negates acknowledgement in many context.
Try “And at the same time, I wonder” instead.
“I can see where you are coming from, and at the same time, I wonder if there is another way to look at that.”
May be more effective than...
“I can see where you are coming from, but there is another way to look at that.”
Simply think “BUTectomy”. This is of course, useful in our relationships as well. Try and shift from a “but” user, to more of an “and” user.