Uncertainty, Thinking and Communicating

Uncertainty has not left us. Many people have found the news, the “facts” and the decisions supposedly based on the facts to be inscrutable. And the timing of decisions has been impacting on our ability to plan ahead. As I have said before, judgment must be based on facts. No facts, no judgement. No judgement, no decisions? No, we have to make decisions, but there is no way that we can “justify” decisions when the facts and therefore judgements are murky.
 
So now we are commencing the new academic year, and that is our situation. In the fog each pulls in the direction he or she guesses to be best, and this is fertile ground for strife and disunity. Strife and disunity hardly improve our situation.
 
So what I am proposing is that not only decisions but the rationale that underlies decisions be made as transparent as possible. This transparency needs to be as clear as the fog of facts and judgements is murky. Only such transparency can create a common ground that can give us the unity we need. No need for everyone to agree with the rationale, no need for the rationale to claim any special wisdom. Wisdoms compete in the realm of judgement, which is currently suspended. A rationale can be the basis for discussion and can change, as long as the change is transparent, and not a question of who has personal influence over the rationale. Rationale is derived from ratio, the thinking function which can be expressed in language and therefore shared.
Here are the principles of the rationale for decisions about opening the clinic:
 
  • Decisions need to be in place no less than one week ahead of implementation, so that therapists and clients have enough time to adjust to changes.
 
  • Decisions need to try to predict some element of continuity. We do not need decisions that are likely to be reversed, for example opening when it seems likely that in the near future closing will again be required. Therapy requires some basis for continuity, so that today’s session assumes the next several sessions at least will take place. Otherwise, clients will either say too much and then regret being left alone with the feelings that came up, or say too little since the next session is in doubt. To my mind scraping for every possible session is not consistent with the essence of what we do in therapy. 
 
  • As the weather cools and possible spread of infection during the last Holiday becomes recognizable, we need a two week trend diminishing infection (not in “fact”, but “as reported” – the basis for decisions above us). We will not reopen based on a trend of one week because the likelihood of reclosing – as I interpret current experience – is too high.
 
  • Given the experience with the handling of decisions in the government, our decisions will be made by Thursday morning and become effective the following Wednesday morning. No last-minute Saturday night guessing about Sunday morning.
 
With this rationale in mind, and with the current lockdown being officially effective until Tuesday and the next discussion about continuing the lockdown scheduled only for Tuesday:  
 
  • We will not reopen the clinic this week. 
 
  • By this Thursday we will decide about the next Wednesday, and so forth. So your clients can know now that the clinic will be closed until Wednesday, October 21. 
 
  • By Thursday October 15 we will decide about October 22. It is highly unlikely that by this Thursday there will be the trend we need to reopen. Therefore, it is unlikely that we will open before October 29. My next guess is that by October 22 the trend will not be good, but no decisions based on guesses.
 
  • Because of its essential nature, decisions about Pinat HaYeled will be made independent of all the above.
 
Here are the principles of the rationale for decisions about training and group supervision:
 
  • The continuity of the group experience is essential for learning.
 
  • We cannot convene groups in the clinic at present – while the clinic is closed.
 
  • There is every likelihood that attempting hybrid learning – some people in person and some remote – will lack continuity as some people are quarantined, schools open and close, etc.
With this in mind, here is the decision:
  • All group supervisions and classes will be remote (Zoom, Webex) for the current semester.
 
I wish I could tell you that these decisions are a medical necessity, to protect your health and the health of the clients. I cannot say this, because such a statement would be a judgement based on facts, a I cannot make any claim to facts or judgement. It is how I think it is best for our learning and our treatment while “reality” is unclear.
 
Now think about families. Think about how decisions are made, what is the claim to “facts,” what are claims of judgement, and what is the degree of transparency. I think you will note that in families with lower levels of differentiation, it is hard to distinguish claims of fact, claims of judgement, claims of responsibility or authority and any transparency of rationale. We are engaged in an effort to preserve the level of differentiation in our “family” – no easy exercise, but one that engages all of us.
 
As we move from the heights of Yomim Noroim, where we hopefully achieved added clarity about the unbridgeable gulf between human and Divine wisdom, we can do our best  with human thinking, which is always uncertain but can least be  transparent and communicated.

Leave a Comment