Building Awareness – Part 2
Flawless vs. Accurate
In Part One, we discovered the influence of awareness, both in life and the VT room. With that in mind, let’s continue!
Given a choice, would you rather be flawless or accurate?
Some may view the terms as interchangeable, and some may not. Although I will agree, at times, this is a question of semantics, in the Vision Therapy room, the terms are not the same. Let me explain.
How many times has a patient stated: “If you tell me what I’m supposed to see, I can look for it, or at least tell you if I see it”. This is the “flawless” patient, or perhaps better stated, the patient who is trying to perform without imperfection. They are very concerned with the outcome, or the product. The best response I’ve come up with is to pull this patient into a more “accurate” world. Rather than be concerned with what you’re supposed to see, try providing an accurate description of what you do see, and we can work it.
See what I did there?
The “flawless” patient’s primary awareness is the right answer. What is the answer? What should I see? What’s the best indicator of success? How can I be right? They’re after the product. By asking them for an “accurate” description, we let them feed the need to be right, while pulling them back into the process of building awareness by opening the door to their subjective world.What I realized recently is that so many of our conversations are universal, in that we ask the same question of our patients – but what we’re really looking for is whether or not they’ve discovered a new visual awareness. Look past the activities, move beyond the circumstances, and peel away the instructional set, and we’re left with something quite simple: What is their current awareness? Every question we ask and every observation we make should be rooted in that simple concept – awareness.
Often times patients ask for “the right answer”, or what they should see. In the outside world, the world which is very concerned with instant validation, the right answer is all that matters. Tell me what it is, and I’ll tell you if I’m there. But in the Vision Therapy room, which arguably exists in a different dimension from the real world, the right answer has been replaced with your answer.
To give it a number, pretend the patient’s level of awareness with a particular activity is a 3, and as a caveat, it matters not which activity we’re discussing. The number is arbitrary, but significant in that it offers a starting point. After working the activity for several weeks, their awareness is measured at a 7. Whether their mechanical measurements show improvement or not (hopefully they always do), the increase in their awareness becomes the necessary facilitation for further progress. All of a sudden, questions like “what do you see?”, “what are your eyes doing?” and “where does that image appear to be?” are not such foreign concepts. We’ve build awareness, and our patients take it from there.
How all this came to me, along with the amazing patient experience that stirred the revelation, coming in Part 3.