Where does it hurt? That’s the key diagnostic question whether you’re a presenter or a clinician
A common clinical dilemma in counselling practice is when the practitioner is more invested in change than the client. This is manifested in clinicians working harder than their clients and caring more than they do about change. How and why does this happen?
I think this disproportionate effort stems from two things:
- Practitioners are trained to identify issues of concern and have a heightened awareness of the long-term implications and consequences of negative health behaviours.
- Because of their training and awareness, practitioners often feel that they know what is best for their clients.
The first point is helpful; the second…not so much.
It’s like the quotation:
“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.” In other words, people are the experts in their own lives.
So what does all this have to do with presentation secrets?
In a teaching context, the instructor – just like the clinician – is expert in his or her specific knowledge domain and strategies for internalizing and enacting knowledge and skills. It’s when we take the stance of “I know best” that we run into trouble in the classroom. All people (whether patients or students) are in charge of their own lives and actions; learning is volitional and learners will always be self-determining in what and how much is learned.
Here’s the secret:
Always start with the problem that the learner identifies as relevant and pressing. Affirm autonomy. Offer solutions in the spirit of collaborative problem-solving. Tailor the content to the real-world needs of the individuals with whom you are engaged.
How do you know if you’re doing it right? Hearing “Yes, but…” is the clue that you’ve gone off track. Figure out the pain point and offer ways to make it better. Then leave it up to the real experts: the people you are entrusted to serve.