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February 20, 2018

Crossing the Line

By Dr. Richard Boyum

Sometimes when I'm working with a client I ask them to cross the line with me. As I listen to a client's problem and how they have responded to it, I will ask the client to stand up, and I stand as well. I draw an imaginary line between their feet and my feet. I indicate to them that my goal really is to help them with their problem. Then I say the following: I want you to know after listening to you that the problem you have defined, and the way you are coping with it, is very adolescent. I want you to cross the line and come over on my side so we can deal with this from an adult perspective. After they have physically crossed the line, I rotate 90 degrees and ask them to face me. I physically pull the client chair to that side of the line and then ask them to sit down. We spend the rest of the time working on the problem from a more adult perspective. Clients report that this physical shift can make a real difference in how they deal with their behavior and their problems. See if this model might not work for you.