Attitude really IS everything…
So let’s just face the facts for a moment – attitude really is everything.
Recently, I conducted an experiment on myself that involved attitude. I identified two patients currently in therapy, Patient A and Patient B. Both patients are female.
Patient A is very easy to work with, not necessarily in visual diagnosis, but sweet, compliant, eager to please, full of life, respectful and a real joy to have in VT. My attitude about Patient A was positive, jovial and in general, I looked forward to the weekly visit.
Patient B, whose visual diagnosis is less complex than Patient A, has behavior that is much more difficult to manage, complains about anything she can, often wants to engage in lengthy debates about the “less fun” activities, and at times will be disrespectful to adults without remorse. My attitude towards Patient B is guarded, and in all honestly, to say that there were weeks that I didn’t look forward to seeing her, would be an understatement.
My experiment was simple – reverse MY attitude. Approach a few activities with Patient A as if she were Patient B, and vice versa. What I found was pretty incredible.
Patient A (who I normally enjoy) became combative, resistant to a new activity, started complaining, and even was obstinate at times. I wasn’t being mean or rude to her, and our activities still were effective, I just tried to imagine she was Patient B when I spoke to her.
Patient B (who can be tough) actually was enjoyable. She asked good questions, she followed instructions for the most part, and the complaining diminished significantly. Patient B still had an edge to her, but the overall success of the session was so much better than I could have ever imagined.
I am not sure if it was my body language, tone of voice, or perhaps the energy I was emitting, but something about the way I approached these patients (MY ATTITUDE) completely changed their attitudes, behaviors and approaches when working with me during these activities.
So I leave you with a challenge: Next time your “Patient B” arrives, forget all that is in the past, and approach them as you would your “Patient A”, and see what happens. I think you’ll be surprised…