Friday, February 16, 2007

A Wonderful Example of a RICH Interaction

I am in the midst of a Risking Connection training with two co-trainers, Michele May LCSW and Richard Nicastro, Ph.D. Michele is the Clinical Director of Natchaug Hospital’s Journey House Program. Richard is a therapist specializing in trauma with offices in Glastonbury, CT. He is also a life coach, and his blog can be found at

Richard gave a wonderful example of how even a brief interaction can be RICH.

A few years ago Richard was running an anger management group for boys at a local community center. He noticed that one boy was standing near by imitating his movements and mocking him. After the group, Richard went up to the boy and say: "You know, I am looking for some new members for this group, so if you or any one you know would like to join I’d welcome new people. But you know what, I am looking for someone who is a real wise-ass, because we need some humor in this group. Even though we deal with some serious topics we need some comic relief and I’d like someone like that in the group. So, if you know any one..."

The boy did not join the group, and in fact Richard didn’t see him again for over a year. He learned from others that the boy had been in a lot of trouble and a lot of programs, and that since he was young he had been living with his father’s serious illness and constant near death.

Much later someone called Richard with a referral of an adolescent boy whose father had just died. Richard accepted the referral and was astonished to find the same boy in his waiting room. It seems that when the boy needed to go to therapy he remembered Richard’s name and asked if he could see him.

Think how completely Richard displayed a RICH relationship in those few minutes. He demonstrated Respect for the boy in his approach, and in his assumption that a sense of humor could be an asset. He gave Information: the group is available, you could join, and you could help others. He established Connection (more than he realized) by appreciating the boy and his skills. And he conveyed to the boy the Hope that there is some one out there who wouldn’t judge or dismiss him, who might see the good in him and who maybe could really help.

And look at the power that one moment of RICH interaction can have in someone’s life.

Many thanks to Richard for this excellent example.

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