A City Council employee had an upset Pacific Island woman come into her office demanding a refund on a payment she had made. The staff member’s immediate response was to feel defensive and be judgemental about the customer. She had very little understanding of why this customer was so upset. When we explored the customer’s ‘system’ by setting out all the elements that make up her world the staff member came to realise that the customer’s distress was completely understandable. It was certainly different from what she had previously imagined. She said, “I can appreciate what the customer might have been worried about and will be very different next time someone like that comes in”.
By working in a non-judgemental way with the real examples people bring we are able to gently uncover what is behind the participant’s difficulty and provide them with a new experience that leads them to make changes in the way they think, feel and act.