In counseling, our patients’ awareness is often the combination of what they know, and their awareness of what they don’t know. We then try to expand our patients’ awareness by tapping into the unconscious incompetence zone. The area of, “I didn’t even know that I didn’t know that”.
Imagine if someone’s awareness is only in the 2D world, it’s going to be almost impossible for them to solve a complex 3D problem. So their limitation maybe in their level of awareness, and not necessarily their level in skills or motivation to act.
So how do we know when we have successfully tapped into this area of unconscious incompetence?
In counseling, when we have successfully tapped into this area, the external feedback we get from our patients is an “aha moment” reaction. The penny has dropped. That can the turning point for change, if we can leverage from there.
An example would be a husband, who desperately tried to make his wife happy, but keep on failing, and still don’t quite understand why she feels the way she feels. Expanding their emotional literacy around relationships was a natural starting point. Without emotional literacy to solve their emotional problems, is like expecting them to solve maths without numeracy.