I find the term ‘elegant solution’ compelling. I think I would practically swoon if presented with an elegant solution for something. That’s funny though as I can not recall any elegant solutions in my life for anything. Elegantly is just not reflective of how my everyday tends to pan out, quirky is a better fit for me.

004I am setting up my own therapy practice, and as I am a student and will be working under supervision the emphasis is on practice. It is an unrefined sort of title to call myself Trainee Process Work Therapist – Working Under Supervision, and it sums up where I am. Now back to elegant solutions…

Over lunch I could hear someone at another table bemoaning that his elegant solution to a business problem had been dismissed by someone or some forum or another. On and on, if he said elegant solution once he said it twenty-seven times. The count is a rough guess rather than an elegant or meticulous tally.

Actually I have to thank the guy for rabbiting on, as I had to switch off my ears and I paused over my sandwich to think about what it is that I offer to clients.

Something meaningful? Another perspective? Support for emotional well being? Sense making? Dreaming? Connection? Insight? Self awareness? Nothing elegant per se, although the term per se is in itself rather elegant. Therapy, and life for that matter, is about the questions more than the answers or solutions. I mean a client’s questions, insightful though I hope my questions will be. I value curiosity over solutions, and my clients will have a chance to lean into discovering their own solutions.

In fact I think not knowing from a therapist is appropriate when working the complexity and wonder of someone else life experiences. Thanks elegant-solutions-guy-in-the-cafe for prompting me to step into a greater awareness around how I will, and already do, work. In summary I think I will be more gracious than elegant. I like that and I won’t be every persons therapist. I like that too.

“The best predictor of positive outcomes for any treatment is the quality of the therapeutic relationship” John Read, Senior lecturer in Psychology at the University of Auckland