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I believe curiosity is one of the strongest assets that make a therapist successful. But, curiosity on the part of my patients can reap even bigger outcomes.
I have an acquaintance who is a mental health therapist. In her office she keeps a toy magic wand. Among others things, she will often give it to a client, often a child, and ask them if they could do anything, what would they do to fix things. Not an uncommon approach in mental health, and it often gives the client freedom to dream and wish. I use a similar strategy during myofascial release treatment. Picture this scenario…your client has seen a vast number of “specialists” all whom have proclaimed what is wrong (diagnosis), or what should be done (previously unsuccessful treatment history). Our client sits there, listening to the experts come up with one more thing that probably will not work, at least completely. Many, if not all, of our clients hold inside what they really think is wrong or what should be done, but what do they know, they are not the expert. So they follow along, like a dog on a leash, from one dead end to another.
What if you asked them what they think they needed; give them the credit they deserve? I will frequently ask my clients “If I could do anything for you, what would it be?” After they say “fix my pain” (they usually say this!), I ask them to feel and think; what could I do that would help. With uncanny accuracy, they come up with helpful advice for me. Me, the expert.
Be curious. Get out your magic wand.
Walt Fritz, PT