Transformation of uncertainty in the therapeutic process


Transformation of uncertainty in the therapeutic process

 Jon Echanove (AoEC, China)


For most therapeutic schools the experience of uncertainty is closely linked with unhealthy behaviours and emotions. This understanding of uncertainty is anchored on a reductionist understanding of human beings. However, uncertainty is an essential experience in the way we navigate through our lives. Instead of being defined as lack of information or equated to anxiety, it could be seen as being aware of the permanent lack of accuracy of our chosen course of actions; as an opening for learning.

It is our personal and social history what defines how we experience that lack of accuracy in responding to the challenges of life and how we approach novelty.

The disentanglement of the experience of uncertainty by individuals as a process of appraisal of challenges and action enables the development of a framework where the reduction and the increase of uncertainty co-exists as possible routes to remain ‘healthy’.

When dealing with emotional disorders, all therapeutic approaches aim at offering their clients a renewed sense of certainty in their lives. The thesis of this seminar is that this valuable goal of any therapeutic encounter is achieved via the transformation of the experience of uncertainty, not through its elimination.

To show that, I will start by introducing the definition of uncertainty based on a non-reductionist worldview. Secondly, I will identify the main components that shape the different experiences of uncertainty. Finally, I will use that framework to represent the most common emotional disorders and its relationship with effective therapeutic interventions.

Keywords: uncertainty, anxiety, curiosity, flow, therapy, action, challenge


Slides of the talk:


The speaker:

An Executive Accredited Coach and Basic Consultant for Positive Psychotherapy, that has developed most of his management professional career in multicultural organisations, in particular supporting and developing cooperation between Europe and its main trade partners. This strong cross-cultural background has lead him to support individuals and couples to integrate cultural and relationship changes.

Jon is currently a core member of ECCO, the Evolution, Complexity and Cognition group at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), conducting research human experience in complex, uncertain environments.

As Managing Director and Faculty of the Academy of Executive Coaching China, he is based in Beijing training and developing Executives Coaches in parallel with his coaching/counselling private practice.