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As a graduate student I developed a method of listening that I called the Schrödinger’s cat method of listening. I borrowed this from a famous thought experiment introduced by the physicist Schrödinger. The really short version is that there is a cat in a box and its fate depends on the disposition of a subatomic particle. Basically, Schrödinger was arguing that one interpretation of quantum physics implied that the cat could be both alive and dead until the box is opened.

And while the independent truth is that the cat is either alive or dead whether or not someone is looking at it, to the person staring at the box both realities are possible.

It’s the same when listening to clients’ stories. Is there a truth that I have not yet grasped? Yes, whatever is true is real whether or not I hear or understand it. Yet, to me as the clinician the truth is yet unknown, so I hold all possibilities as both true and untrue.

In this way, I can non-judgmentally approach people holding all of these possibilities until I better understand what is real.

By from When a Client Says Something Hard to Believe (via traumatherapist)