Monsters in the Bedroom

A woman in one of our seminars recounted the following excellent example of establishing rapport and a therapeutic relationship by matching a person’s content and cultural world models: She was staying with friends when one evening the friend’s little boy came running out of his room because there were “monsters in my room”. His parents told him that there was no such thing as monsters and compelled him to return—crying—to his room. The next day the boy overcame a great deal of embarrassment and fear to ask the visitor if she thought there were such things as monsters. She became serious and replied that CERTAINLY there were monsters, but that they were afraid of bed covers and of milk. He was visibly relieved to hear this and reported the following morning that there had been monsters in his room that previous night but that he had pulled the covers over his head, and when he poked his head out a minute later the monsters had vanished! This is an excellent example of mirroring an individual’s cultural model to create rapport, and then utilizing that cultural model to make the appropriate changes. The parent’s pontifications about “reality” did nothing to change the boy’s reality, serving only to begin him questioning either his parent’s judgement or his own. Whether disrespectful of the boy’s culture, for among children it is a well known fact that monsters are possible, if not prevalent

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