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Curiosity in the therapy room

Don’t read the rest of this blog! You kept on reading, didn’t you? Why didn’t you stop? Perhaps you are just being nosy. Or perhaps it’s our natural curiosity that makes us need to keep reading? It’s certainly true that humans have an almost unquenchable desire to know what’s going on and to make sense of the world around us. And it’s the same in the therapy room where curiosity is a key tool in your toolkit as a therapist. So how can being passionately curious make you a better therapist whilst also supporting your clients to flourish? Keep reading to find out if you are curious enough.

Curiosity has sometimes been described as the wick running through the candle of therapy. Whether you believe that or not, it’s certainly a powerful image to help us understand its importance. It’s certainly clear that curiosity is a necessary first step toward building a successful therapeutic relationship with our clients. It drives us to delve deeper into our clients’ lives as we ask questions to help us to understand them better. Our genuine interest in our clients and our own natural curiosity lead us to find out what makes our clients tick; it helps us ask the right questions at the right time which allows our clients to uncover and make sense of their own narratives.

A mindset of curiosity will open doors for our clients

When we ask our clients how they are actually feeling, it is our sense of curiosity that conveys our honest interest. And it is this honest and congruent curiosity that builds those connections. As therapists, we really care about our clients, and we want to know what’s going on for them; curiosity supports us to do this.

A mindset of curiosity will not only open the door for your client, but it will also support you as a therapist. By embracing your natural curiosity, you will gain better insights into your client as you dive into those hidden narratives. The questions you ask will also support your client to become more curious about themselves and their own feelings. Your curiosity can actually be infectious, and it can support the client to foster their own curiosity as they imagine different possibilities for their own lives. This can support self-acceptance and even start to push on the door which leads to self-healing and growth.

Can we embrace our natural curiosity in the therapy room?

So how can we embrace our natural curiosity in the therapy room? Remain curious throughout the time you share with your clients and ask open-ended questions to allow the client to fully explore their experiences with you. Asking hypothetical questions about how the client would like their experience to be can also support the client to imagine how things might be better.

Useful discussions in the therapy room

This may also promote personal growth as they start to see a different and improved future. Although some clients may find it difficult to imagine their life-changing in such a positive way, these curious and hypothetical questions may lead to useful discussions in the therapy room about what the barriers to change are. Curiosity can also help you to approach different issues in creative ways which can help you adapt to each client’s individual needs. Whilst in supervision, your own natural curiosity about your abilities will support your professional self-reflection and growth as a therapist.

Einstein famously believed that curiosity was more important than knowledge, once quipping that he had no special talents and that he was only “passionately curious”. As we have seen, being passionately curiosity is key to being a successful therapist. And for those of us still in training, we can feel confident that our curiosity will ensure we are supporting our clients whilst our own professional knowledge and skills are developing. So next time you find yourself feeling a little out of your depth as a trainee therapist, remember that it’s that kernel of curiosity that’s key to supporting you and your client. Keep being passionately curious and you’ll keep growing as a therapist. Now, aren’t you glad you kept on reading?

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