On ‘Becoming’

Build your relationships first….then your dentistry. ~ Bob Barkley

On ‘Becoming’

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We are all flawed and incomplete, full of unrealized potential, while often stuck or confused about what to do next or even who or what to believe.

The same holds true for our patients. They are incomplete as well. They are often confused, and they often do not know who or what to believe about their situation.

So, how do we work around this basic truth and move toward greater understanding, completeness, and therefore better decisions?

That was a question Bob Barkley and Nate Kohn Jr. labored over for years. And they found the answers in the area of educational psychology, which at the time was being transformed by the work of Carl Rogers PhD.

The central idea that Rogers persistently advanced was that everyone has growth potential, and everyone has deep inside -albeit often suppressed or blocked – the desire to grow and become more, the desire to become more functional and effective, the desire to feel good about themselves, and the desire to be a fully creative and joyful human being. Rogers often referred to this positive process of growth and development as “becoming,” and it was centered around his deep faith in his client’s ability to figure things out and make better choices over time via facilitation.

As dentists, we are generally not taught to think about our role as being facilitative, rather we are taught to be interventionists. We are taught to use our knowledge and skills to tell others what to do, or to rescue. Yet, telling and rescuing tend to block growth if they become the central theme of a relationship – a relationship otherwise known as codependent.

Co-discovery was created by Barkley and Kohn as the genius work-around. It avoided telling, and minimized rescuing. It encouraged reflection, reassessment, values clarification, goal-setting, and problem ownership.

And it works. But only if you believe in the potential of others, and are willing to be a facilitator of ‘becoming.’

Paul A. Henny DDS

Thought Experiments LLC, ©2018

Read more at www.codiscovery.com

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