Figure it Out
My husband, Darren, is a talented coach. Before we even had children, he was coaching youth league sports. This year he's been working with our daughter, Hannah, on bowling. For a while, he was calling her back before every ball she threw to tell her how to adjust her position, approach and release. Recently he's been pulling back and giving her space to make her own decisions. When she participated in a tournament in March, Darren turned to me and said, "She's figuring it out. She's doing a good job of adjusting without me having to tell her." She bowled her all-time high game: 210.
Hannah didn't bowl her high game when her coach was scrutinizing her every throw. Receiving instruction from someone with more skill and expertise was a necessary step in her success, but it wasn't when victory was realized. She excelled when she began putting it together herself.
As therapists, we have to share our skill and expertise if our patients are to improve. But there are times when we have to step back and let our patients "figure it out." As spouses, there are times we see situations more clearly than our spouses. Still, the best outcomes are usually achieved when we stay quiet and give them time to come to their own revelations.
As parents, we want to protect our children from every danger and hurt. But there are life skills they cannot master while in protective custody. Whether we are wearing our therapist hat, spouse hat or parent hat... we are always coaches. A wise coach - an effective coach - knows when to step back and let the players "figure it out."