I recently had the need to consult a couple of experts on a medical question. In doing so I re-discovered a maxim:
we trust in our own expertise to solve problem.
Or, more colloquially, if what we have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The psychiatrist puts her trust in her common tools. The neurosurgeon puts his trust in his scalpel. The neuropsychologist puts trust in the common diagnostic tools she uses.
Hmmm. I think I’m no different. I’d like to think that I’ll give my clients the right recommendation for treatment but when someone comes to me with a run-of-the-mill problem I must admit that I usually think I and my skills are up to the task.
Good care requires that I inform clients of other options. For example, if someone is depressed, I can provide counsel but they may wish to choose to see a psychiatrist for medication options. If a couple comes for therapy, I should inform them of the various kinds of therapy that might work equally well: EFT by a certified specialist, intensive Gottman style interventions (3 hour sessions every 3 weeks with lots of homework). Or, if a parent brings a child with ADHD like symptoms, do I suggest my style of intervention or do I recommend more careful diagnostics of a neuropsychologist’s exam? But even when we counselors tell clients of other options, they probably can tell we think fairly highly of our own counseling methods.
Don’t be surprised when surgeons want to use their knives, when oncologists want to ply their trade, or when nutritionists emphasize their health improving interventions. If you are seeking care, keep this human frailty in mind. And do be sure to ask more questions when you are seeking the best path for solving your problem.