Is there any such thing as being “objective”? Those engaged in science would without a doubt claim there is or science should at least strive towards objectivity to the fullest extent possible. Well, most contemporary social scientists nowadays more or less agree there’s no such thing as objectivity. It’s just about how many people share the same opinion and the more there are, the firmer their truth appears. In most banal form possible it could also be said that if you repeat some experiment (hypothesis, statement, etc.) long enough and try different methodologies, sooner or later you’ll find the means to prove its probability, reliability and at the end even accuracy.
That’s okay when you acknowledge you cannot be objective (however you can be less emotional about it). It also means there’s no such thing as a failure and no such thing as an ultimate truth. This may sound really scary at first and at the same time incredibly comfortable. Sort of an uncomfortable comfort.
Clients (and friends who are not in sessions, but are keen to know what I do) often ask me if (in sessions) we draw some goals and set some plans/strategies. No. Clients themselves can if they choose to do so. But if they want, they do it anyway, I don’t have to tell them to. An underlying statement about plans and goals is that they predict victory or failure. If you follow a plan and meet the goal, you’re a winner and if you don’t, you’re a looser. Too bad if you fail. Not too complicated to understand, isn’t it?
It would be simple to understand (and to act accordingly) if situations were static. If yesterday’s goal is tomorrow’s reality. But yesterday’s breakfast might not be my favourite breakfast tomorrow. Because things, preferences and even values change. And sometimes they change fast and without an evident reason that would make change a justice. And that hurts, sometimes really bad, because we may feel we’ve failed or disappointed someone (ourselves?) and that we are frauds, liars, hypocrites and so on. We’re none of that. We’re just changing, because everything moves, even the universe changes constantly, not to mention relationships. Suppose we’re being really honest: I will love you forever is a really dangerous statement. It may not be true in 20 years. Does that mean we were lying when we said that? No, it was real. Well then, does it mean we’re lying now? No. Then what’s real?! Both.
Another client came one day to her following session. I asked her what’s been better since we’ve last met. She said her best hopes were not in place anymore as she went through some major unexpected change in her life. For that she labelled herself as being indecisive, confused, wandering and without any direction where she wanted to go. I commented she’s not the same person she was yesterday and that’s fine. We can change her best hopes, without blame, fault or feeling of failure. It’s a game called life.
That’s also why there are no goals. Because they imply failure. And if the client “fails”, she may feel she’s disappointed herself or me and that’s not on our agenda in making progress. The truth (my truth, speaking of ultimate truth) is, she cannot fail no matter what she does or doesn’t do (except in a life threatening situation; we’ll talk about safety and risk on another occasion), because she had a good reason to do whatever she’s done. She also has a good reason to come and she has the resources to create solutions to her problems. All clients do, they just may not know that. So failed prodigies? Not really, just changing. So have a nice day, make as many mistakes possible and spend some fun time laughing about them =)