Thursday, March 4, 2021

Comments by garthwolkoff

Showing 2 of 2 comments.

  • Another way to think about this, perhaps, is that we are all seeking control–what will happen to us and what other people think of us, for example. I’m an instructional coach at a large public high school, and part of my job is to help teachers relinquish control while guiding students to discovering ideas or answers or solutions themselves or with each other. I use this lens–giving up control–when I feel anxiety about someone or something. I have been working on two things–what is it I can control and what is it I can’t. I cannot control what people are thinking, as in the student in Hugh’s example, nor can I know what they are thinking. I can only be in conversation with other people, and I can only engage in my own ways.

    I don’t think this is easy. Part of what’s difficult for me is that I want certain things to happen, certain outcomes, certain reactions–certain things out of my control. Desire. That is a great obstacle. If I knew the answer, and if I could control the answer, I would feel calmer. I am learning that those things are impossible.

  • Hi Hugh and Ann,

    In public school teaching, we talk about wait time–letting kids think about questions before we expect them to respond, to the teacher, the whole class, or each other. Wait time is certainly not something we’re socialized to have in conversations with our friends, family, other loved ones, and, most noticeably to me, in the public sphere, especially at work.

    Your exercise sounds intense. As a member of one of Hugh’s Social Therapy groups, I wonder if that exercise is something we should try. I find it frustrating in our group when members don’t think about what is being discussed, but instead, respond with a story or just by passing on someone else’s words. It is as if the need to talk is stronger than the need to listen, to get close, to understand, or engage in a dialogue. I understand that. Some of us, myself included, have grown up responding immediately to people, as if response is a biological need, like breathing. If our therapeutic conversations were less about telling and more about engaged discussion, the learning might increase. I know this is not easy. I think people, again, myself included, come to therapy to talk, to talk about their lives, what troubles them. Talking, though, is not enough, or, ultimately, not as satisfying as discussing.

    What do you think?