by Aletta Wubben
People who do science don’t like woolly thinking. I don’t like it myself but we have to admit that some things can’t be set out in graphs and charts or rationally explained. Some things have to be experienced. And that can leave me with a dilemma.
Take the other day. My client is sitting on the sofa looking crushed. He is as pale as a ghost and he is so tired he has trouble putting his thoughts into words and it’s making him irritable. My first thought is to make him do an exercise, which will help him recharge his batteries. But that would be taking a risk. I have seen this particular scientist – I will call him Bert – only once before. He is an impatient man and my intuition tells me to go easy. The safest option seems to be to just start the conversation. But it’s difficult to see what Bert, stuck in his swamp of tiredness, will take away from this session.
I decide it’s worth the risk. ‘You look very tired. Are you?’ I say. Of course he is. Bert ran a marathon in the last few weeks and has been working through the night to meet a deadline.
As expected, my proposal to do an exercise to manage his energy levels is met with little enthusiasm. But he’s too tired to put up much of a fight, so off we go.
We do an exercise, which allows Bert to slowly recharge his batteries. Ten minutes into the exercise, the colour returns to his cheeks. He is no longer agitated and feels relaxed. He’s tired but it’s a different kind of tiredness. Bert is astounded. ‘How is it possible to achieve this by simply using one’s imagination?’ he asks. The swamp has turned into a meadow where it’s safe to thread and now our conversation can really start. But half the battle is already won.
Bert has found a new charger to use, should his batteries run low again. There’s nothing woolly about that.