July 18th, 2010 | Posted by Michael Taleff in Addiction | Addiction Discussions

Conflicts have always existed in our field. That’s not a bad thing. If handed well, the conflicts are resolved and growth results. But, what does it mean to “handle well?” It means asking good questions, that generate good theories, followed by good research, plus clear solid arguments that support the theories. From all that research and tough reasoning comes the reliable evidence to support the work we do with our clients. Arguably, the best of things.

Yet, there is a whole other drama in our ranks. The performance can be seen as squabbling. I would dare say we have all dipped our toes into this pool of muck at one time or another.

We will squabble over just about everything: what are the true symptoms of addiction, whose treatment program is better, what is best addiction treatment to use with our clients. The list goes on.

Take a stand on something with five addiction professionals in room and watch the squabbling start within a few short minutes.

It is particularly visible at addiction conferences. You see it as side comments made during a presentation, at the intermission, and certainly at the end of the presentation.

If you are perceptive, you can sometimes hear the squabbling comments made by workshop presenters as well.

One has to ask what in the world fuels this? An educated guess would include ego. Egos often protect pet theories. For many, an ego’s investment in a pet theory will surely feel the sting of any criticism. The sting in turn generates defensiveness and off we go with our squabbling.

Yet, at the very core of squabbling, one might confidently say is a scarcity of reliable data. Minimal data makes for a mountain of disagreements. And minimal data surely sets the stage for empty speculation, closely followed by the squabbling.

Should you wish to extricate yourself from a squabble, try asking the following questions:

  • ”What’s your data?”
  • “Could you please shed more light on your premises and conclusions?”

Please be sure to apply the questions to yourself as well.

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