Why it’s important to admit what you don’t know.

Lately I’ve had some interesting conversations about not knowing what to do and vulnerability.

It seems some senior psychologists don’t like people to know what they don’t know. They hide from their employees where they get their business ideas from, believing that as leaders they can’t demonstrate any kind of not knowing. That admitting they don’t know would make them look weak.

You may have noticed I’m not that kind of leader. I’ll happily talk about my experiences of being coached and any training I’ve done without one inch of embarrassment.

I’m happy and even proud to admit that I pay people to teach me stuff and that I think it’s important to do so to increase your skills.

It never occurred to me that it would be viewed as a weakness.

Also, if you can’t say where you’re ideas come from or that you seek help to increase your skills, what does this communicate to younger therapists?

That some of us are born all knowing and the others are somehow deficient or that the ideas come from a higher power ?

If we take this idea one step further, it explains why some therapists are afraid to admit to clients that they don’t have the answer to something.

But I would argue that in being vulnerable enough to admit to a client that we will need to explore something or consult with a colleague, we are also teaching them something.

We teach them that some people’s experiences are complicated, that it’s ok not to have all the answers all of the time and it’s ok to ask for help.

Isn’t that something we want to model?

So next time you don’t know, don’t panic. Avoid hiding it from your clients and your peers.

Instead use it to model vulnerability and an openness to learn, not just when you first start out as a therapist but always.

If you are interested in being mentored by me, reach out to me at support@nadenevanderlinden.com

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