Secondly, following from this, an intuition must be subject to critical review and this means that it is best shared. Working in pairs is a great advantage for this purpose, if the pair have a trusting relationship or can use joint supervision to explore the issues. All sorts of questions can then be asked:
- Can the point at which the intuition occurred to the worker be identified and does this suggest how the intuition arose?
- Is there something in the worker’s own personal experience that could explain the feeling and if so how much light if any does it shed on the client’s experience?
- If working in pairs, do both workers have the same intuition?
- Was there anything in how the client presented, body language, facial expressions, eye movements, levels of emotion or suppressed emotion that provide evidence to validate the intuition?
- Do support staff such as receptionists have experiences with the client that help to validate or challenge a judgement about a client?
- Is there anything in the client’s past behaviour to support the intuition?
- Were there issues avoided or things not said that support the intuition?
This is the kind of critical evaluation that can make intuition a valuable resource rather than a destructive prejudice.
Thirdly, this kind of critical evaluation depends on the quality of communication between workers. Judgements about risk for example are always safer if shared with and challenged / supported by colleagues, supervisors, managers etc. As will be discussed later, the quality of the organisation providing the service is the most powerful factor in determining the effectiveness of that service. Effective organisations will generate the kind of working atmosphere in which shared feelings about the work are freely shared and discussed, and in which the experience of all staff including support staff is valued and used. This is the context in which intuition is most likely to be a useful resource.