I’ve always loved working with kids and have no doubt that this is where I’m meant to be. And it seems to be the same with most clinicians, personalities that lean heavily toward pediatrics or adults, medical or school-type settings.
My primary difficulty in working with adults, which I did for a spell with a mixed inpatient/outpatient caseload, was how to cheer them on.
I was a cheerleader and I can be perky. I’m often enthusiastic. I worried about coming across as condescending. And I love games, not just in therapy, but all the time. Board games, crosswords, silly contests, I love them all, but realize not many adults share this passion. So I was bored by my own therapy when we just did the “work.”
I’ve been at the hospital regularly, visiting an ill family member (adult, no cognitive issues). I’m very aware of the different approaches the nursing staff have. Some are brisk and no nonsense. Others are overly doting, using diminutive terms and apologizing for treatments, diagnoses, and discomfort as if they had some kind of control. My favorite are those who manage a middle ground that seems to convey, “you got a raw deal here, but let’s get through it as best we can together, and if there is something I can do to make it easier for you, by all means let me know.” What a gift.
Now it’s your turn. Anybody working with adults? How do you motivate your clients and what type of demeanor do you find works best for you and your setting?