Behavioural change.

Mathias observed “When people talk about “behavior change” I often feel a very subtle but deep lack of respect for the humans that supposedly need to change.”

I thought about that for a bit.

It makes me smile that the older I get and the more I do my work, the more I am taken by Eastern stances for teachers – to have a beginner’s mind and remain a student.

This is to continue to do the work that’s necessary to show up authentically, and just be present for what wants to unfold. I am juxtaposing this against the expert attitude: I have THE answer which can be imposed upon matter – human and non-human. (Guilty as charged in the past).

I see that behavioural change is being picked up in new domains (advertising, marketing, fintech to name a few) and quite possibly becoming a bit of a fad, lately. I also think a lot of the “good” language and bodies of work end up being “cookie-cuttered” and even abused, to various degrees.

When people talk about behavioural change, they often talk about interventions too. An “intervention” is actually a word that has grounded theoretical roots in several branches of social science.

Bill O’Hanlon, not the least in the field of psychotherapy and systemic change once coined the phrase: “The success of an intervention depends on the inner state of the intervenor.”

Framed like that, you can sense at once that it requires inner work and ethics to do interventions, and also that you must dance with yourself, others and systems.

As soon as you think you can impose, you enter the the domain of counter-transference, particularly the God delusion (being able to reshape patients or systems in your own image), once defined by the psychiatrist Groen as one of several potentially dangerous biases.

How do you think about behavioural change?

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