There is nothing more difficult than another Person

Recently, I did some professional development for Couple Counselling. An approach to Couple Counselling based on Attachment, Developmental Neuroscience and Arousal Regulation. This approach to therapy has been developed by Dr. Stan Tatkin (who happens to be a lovely bloke). His approach is called PACT, which stands for the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy. PACT has a number of Maxims or Principles, and I would like to share these with you over the next number of BLOGS. The reason I want to share these is because they make sense, and when I have shred them with my clients, I can see relief instantly appear on their faces. They are incredibly disarming, permission giving and fit the category of unconventional wisdom.

The first is “There is nothing more difficult than another person”. That includes YOU and ME. People are difficult, we are difficult, I am difficult. We all have a unique fingerprint, and in this way we like to do things in our own way, and we unconsciously hope that others will treat us in the way that we like to be treated. The problem with this is, we are all treating others in the way, we like to be treated and sometimes this works, however more than often it doesn’t.

So realising we are not experts on others can paradoxically release us from the position that we know what is best for the other. If we are willing to understand that there is nothing more difficult than another person, then the invitation in this principle is for us to let go of any theories of how to treat the other, be willing to step back and learn to listen to understand the other in a way that THEY want to be understood. While this takes conscious intent, it can help us be much more empathic and be their in a more open and empty way to receive the other for who they exactly are.

In doing this we can then respond from what they need from us, instead of reacting in way that exacerbates the difficulties that are inherent in human relating.