Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Parable: Symptoms are Adaptations

Once upon a time a man named John decided to go for a kayak ride in a near by river. Unfortunately, he greatly underestimated the strength of the current, and shortly after he set out he capsized, He was tumbling down the river, being injured as he banged into rocks, when he spotted a large log near him. With considerable effort, John was able to grab the log, and he held on to it for dear life. Clinging to the log, John continued to be swept down the river. He still crashed against things but with the log he was able to keep his head above water and survive. Finally, the current ejected John and the log into the middle of a large, tranquil pond. The log got caught on a rock in the middle of the pond.

There were some people on the beach at the edge of the pond, and they saw John out in the middle. The called out to him: "Hello! You are safe now! It is not very far to shore! Just swim over here- the water is calm, it’s not that deep, you will be fine!"
But John could not let go of the log.


Why is John clinging to the log when he is so close to safety?

What will the people have to do if they truly want to help John?


They will have to swim out to him, and they will have to give him something like a life preserver to replace his log.


In what ways are you swimming out to your clients?

What life preservers are you giving them?

1 comment:

Arthur Becker-Weidman, PhD said...

It is very important to recognize that all behavior is adaptive. What may make a behavior a "symptom," is that the person is acting as if they are in the previous environment and not able to recognize that the world has changed. Their internal working model is based on an world that does not exist.

It makes sense to horde food if your world was one in which food was often not available, for example.