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Supporting Self-Reflection

Reflection requires a conceptual framework. Providing this framework is one of the functions of hermeneutic working: The consultant introduces models to the client which enable the client to classify his person, feelings, thoughts, preferences, behavioural patterns etc. and to differentiate them from those of other people. There are many such models. Their value consists of supporting people in ‘describing’ their own or other’s behaviours by getting to know terms and connections (“Aha, I am in a driver dynamic at the moment / in an unfruitful inner conflict / super-ego fixation / Not ok position / old pattern etc.”). Without such models it is far easier for you to tend towards devaluing or condemning yourself or others. If concepts with content are introduced to the client which enable him to describe himself instead of judging himself, then the necessity reduces for him to continue holding onto his own unconscious inner processes. Therefore, you could say that you need ‘permission’ to be the way you perhaps (also) are. Psychology provides many of these type of models: personality typologies, communication typologies, behavioural typologies, decision typologies, conflict typologies etc. All can be used effectively in order to encourage self-reflection, to obtain feedback, to work on describing yourself, to facilitate dialogue and to ease encounters. It is important that the consultant, when choosing his model, knows with regard to which function he chooses and uses it. The temptation to market such models commercially is obvious. However, this encourages the spin-off and the undifferentiated usage of such tools – the automatic assessment of the tool becomes a drawer full of general expectations with regard to behaviour, which supposedly make you successful and popular. This is particularly the case when self-descriptions are made available online, and, therefore, the chance to receive feedback and dialogue for an individual’s unfolding personal development is eliminated.

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