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Dealing with Passivity

Passivity is a common word for a dysfunctionally handled personal responsibility. If someone has a problem and does nothing, states that he has no possibilities to take action, considers himself as incapable or quickly adapts, then he would do well to check whether he could not also see this differently. In consultancy it is often the case that the persuasiveness of the client is so strong regarding the power of the circumstances or the ‘impossibility’ of the close contact persons, that, as a consultant, it is very difficult to escape from this. Nobody is responsible for how the world is, but everyone is responsible for how they experience it and view it. It is exactly at this point that the consultancy techniques can be applied: it is always surprising what psycho-dynamic benefit can be gained by the client from being unhappy and suffering because of the world. As a consultant, you must reckon with the fact that people wish to retain their problem, at least from the viewpoint of one of their self-representations. This is why a well-meaning exploration into the hidden benefits is necessary in such cases: “What problem would arise for you, if you found a solution?” Many clients then say: “If that is the solution, I would rather have my problem back!”

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