I saw the accompanying image on social media, and it spoke to me loud and clear. I wish that in my years as a pastoral lead in secondary schools I had taught this directly to the children. Sometimes, it’s enough to just be there, and to not have the answers. It’s something I came to understand late in life, and I can think of times when I really, really needed to know it sooner.
As parents, we are extra vulnerable to doing too much. If our child shares that they are sad, or hurt, or worried, we spring into ‘let me fix that for you’ mode. We offer suggestions, solutions, or take the problem straight into our own adult hands. Sometimes, this is just what they need, and the reason they are sharing. At other times, they just want to say their worry out loud. They just want us to know. Simply asking ‘is this something you just want me to know, or would like my help with that?’ has became a sentence I wish I had crafted sooner.
There are other times too where the less I say the bigger impact I have. When I was in my pastoral role there was a lad who was regularly in detention. It didn’t appear to be having the desired impact; it certainly wasn’t reforming his behaviour and it was no longer a deterrent. One week I asked him if he wanted to do his detention hour differently, and he said he did. We sat on the floor, back to back, leaning against each other. We hardly said a word, he struck up a few short conversations, otherwise we just sat there. At the end of the hour he said ‘that was better than usual, can I do that next week?’ I said I was hoping he wouldn't be in detention next week. And he wasn’t. Or the week after. I will never know if it was the change of scenery, or the strange trust it takes to lean against someone, but I could mark a change in behaviour from that date.
As a hypnotherapist, in most traditional methodologies, there is a lot of talking. We talk for a good hour in the first session, before the hypnosis even begins. But sometimes, that proves not to be the way to go. I was trained in the Mirroring Hands method (Rossi/Hill) which works very differently. Sometimes means we can go for 10 minutes without a word being said. Yet the progress clients make can be phenomenal. Even more so when they don’t consciously know (or truly appreciate) what the issue really is.
I talk for a living. But some of the greatest progress happens when nothing is said at all.
Image rights: Bob Guy Instagram: Heybobguy