The problem of seeing the answer

This dynamic (see last post) is familiar enough in the context of bereavement but the same unhelpful dynamics can be at work in all kinds of circumstances. It comes into play whenever we are foolish enough to think that we can see the right solution for our client more clearly than they can. This in a way becomes more of an issue the more experienced, knowledgeable and perceptive we become – we are increasingly likely to see ‘the right answer’ for our clients and be more frustrated when they can’t see what is so obvious to us. Janet Mattinson at the Institute of Marital Studies used to say that she was fortunate to be a slow thinker – meaning that this reduced the tendency for her to get ahead of her clients and so put her answers in the way of them finding their own answers. It may also be why I have heard it said that student social workers are the most effective social workers – they in a way expect to be bewildered  with their clients, ‘in a mess’ with them without answers and with only enthusiasm and hope to offer.


3 thoughts on “The problem of seeing the answer

  1. This is a really interesting perspective, thank you for sharing! I’m a student social worker and I definitely worry about doing things the “right” way and knowing what the “correct” outcome should be of an interaction. This post was very heartening in that respect 🙂


    • Thanks for following. I hope some of the rest of my story is useful – it’s a bit of a marathon to read it all and there’s plenty more to come, but I wanted to see if blog sized snippets would work. You will have your own different learning story of course!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m looking forward to following along! I’m sure looking back on one’s journey provides a kind of clarity that we don’t have in the moment. Hopefully I can say the same in a few months or years!

        Liked by 1 person

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