10th MOL example

Tonight I had a chat with a person named ash. I think it went well.
And without meaning to, I may have helped to solve a minor issue
between him and his wife. I think that I stuck to a plain Vanilla mode
of functioning except at the point where I made a suggestion in the form
of a question. The interesting thing about the session was that he put
his wife on and I chatted with her very briefly.

One of the deviations from plain Vanilla was the disclosure of a
background thought/feeling I was getting about what he was saying. I
then asked if this was on target and he confirmed it.

I did use the self-rating question, and he went from a 6 to a 7 in
self-awareness.

Attached is the dialogue.

···

From: David Goldstein
Subject: 10th MOL example
Date: 1/24/98

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       ICQ Chat Save file
Started on Sat Jan 24 18:37:20 1998

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<David> Hello Ash.
<Ash> Hello David
<David> Would you like me to tell you a little about the exercise?
<David> It takes 15 to 30 minutes of time. We start with any subject or topic of your choosing. My role is to keep a lookout for issues which seem to be implied in what you are saying but have not become explicit. I call your attention to the issue and ask if you would like to talk about it. The purpose of doing this is that the exercise is intended to increase a person's self-awareness.
<Ash> yes please
<Ash> okay, lets start
<David> As a reference point, let us do a self-rating of how self-aware you consider yourself to be at the start of the exercise. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is maximum self-awareness, where do you put yourself now?
<Ash> I take it that self-awareness is what I think I do wrong and right etc, is that right?
<David> Not exactly. It simply means how aware you are of your own thoughts and feelings and moods and
<Ash> i see
<David> so, 1 to 10 where are you?
<Ash> deep down i think i'm not too bad so maybe a 6
<David> OK.
<David> You can pick a topic or subject that you feel comfortable talking about.
<Ash> I am in the RAF but work is getting me down at the moment, I work as part time DJ on a local radio station and really enjoy this
<David> OK. Would you like to talk about your work in the RAF or the DJ work?
<Ash> DJing please
<David> Let us start with you describing the experience of being a DJ. Pretend that I know nothing about it which is close to the truth.
<Ash> To begin with, before you can go on air, you have to train up. This entails going to the studios and practicing
<David> Is this a long process?
<Ash> it took me around two months to get to grip with the do's and don'ts
<David> OK. Have you gotten beyond the training period?
<Ash> oh yes, I have my own 2 hour show every thursday night transmitting throughout cyprus
<David> Can you tell me what a typical show is like, I am very ignorant about DJ work.
<Ash> to begin with, you are given a list of songs that you have to play, if you don't like them, you can change them, throughout the show though, callers request different tracks and we oblige
<David> What about this typical session, do you like?
<Ash> My show is aimed at the children, so it has an upto date theme
<David> And what about this appeals to you, the children part or the up to date part?
<Ash> both, I get loads of calls and I also enjoy the music
<David> Do the children call you?
<Ash> yes, I work for the british forces so they are mainly our kids but we do get some calls from the locals
<David> As you think about a typical night's how, what sort of background thoughts and feelings do you become aware of?
<Ash> of being as good as i can be, not making myself sound silly over the airwaves
<David> What is it like for you when this happens, you achieve your desired result.
<Ash> not always, even the best make mistakes, it's the getting out of them which is the art
<David> OK, tell me what is like to get out of a mistake that you have found yourself in?
<Ash> you just have to laugh because you can't transmit to the public that you are annoyed with yourself
<David> Laugh out loud? or to yourself?
<Ash> mainly out loud, if you acknowledge the fact and then get out of it saving face then it ussually ok
<David> So, when you laugh out loud and then manage to get out of it, what is that like for you?
<Ash> great relief
<David> On a given night does this kind of thing happen very often?
<Ash> not now that i have gained more experience
<David> So you see yourself as gaining skill?
<Ash> yes, hopefully when i return to the uk, i am going to try for a station there
<David> Are there many opportunities in the uk for this kind of work?
<Ash> there are loads of radio stations in the uk, it's just about getting your foot in the door
<David> How does one do this?
<Ash> my manager here has said that he will give me a reference, then it's down to me to go around the various stations and get some interviews
<David> When you think about doing this , what sort of thoughts/feelings do you have?
<Ash> I really enjoy myself when i am on air, and would love to carry it on
<David> So, this is really you?, suits you?
<Ash> certainly does
<David> As you think of yourself in this role, what sort of thoughts/feelings do you have?
<Ash> I am 28 now, I leave the RAF in 3 yrs time, i need to find something to do that a, I enjoy and b, that my family can enjoy me doing
<David> Is it surprising to you that you enjoy the role of DJ?
<Ash> yes, I started it, thinking, maybe this could be fun, now it has taken over my life, in that i mean that i hold it higher than my job in the RAF
<David> What made you think that it may be fun and encouraged you to try it out?
<Ash> a colleague at work started doing before me and encouraged me to have a go
<David> What made you choose the RAF before you discovered the DJ stuff?
<Ash> I was 20 at the time and it was anything to get away from a moaning mother,( since then, my mum and I have got close again )
<David> What does she think about you going into DJ work?
<Ash> to be honest, she hasn't heard me, as i am in cyprus and she is in england, however, when i told her, she seemed thrilled for me
<David> Were you surprised at her reaction?
<Ash> not surprised, happy
<David> Have you ever made a tape of one of your session?
<Ash> virtually every week, I come home after the show, and to my wifes annoyance, play myself back to see how i sounded, ( my wife gets annoyed because she has just listened to me )
<David> I suppose she could wait to listen to you until you get home and then you two could listen together?
<Ash> not really, because my three children listen to me before they go to bed, & i've got some head-phones now
<David> What would she prefer you to do?
<Ash> hold on i'll ask her
<Ash> DJ work because i enjoy it and it puts me in a good mood
<David> OK, I meant, what would she prefer you to do instead of listening to the tape when you get home?
<Ash> say hello first
<David> hello? to your wife?
<Ash> she says hello
<David> hello to her.
<David> Did she hear my question?
<Ash> which one
<David> What would you like Ash to do when he comes home from DJing instead of listening to the tapes right away?
<Ash> he enjoys his work, so i don't mind really
<David> He thinks you become annoyed at him when he listens to his show on tape.
<Ash> not annoyed, he could listen to it any time because it is on tape
<David> And you would like to spend a little time with him when he comes home?
<Ash> Ash is back, yes i can see where your going, perhaps i could spend more time talking instead of being engrossed in my work, i will make a point of it from now on
<David> What were you thinking about which helped you to decide to make this change?
<Ash> some-one out-side of my affairs hitting the nail on the head
<David> What thoughts/feelings do you have about yourself when you think about the way you used to be, come home and rush to listen the tapes?
<Ash> i was that engrossed in it, that i wanted to see if i could be better next week
<David> And you can still achieve this by listening to the tape a little latter?
<Ash> looking at it now, yes
<David> The thought that is at the back of my mind is that you become very engrossed in something and sometimes lose track of other things, people who matter to you. Is this anywhere on target?
<Ash> smack on, i think it is because, like i said, i am leaving the airforce in 3 yrs time and need to find something to do that i really enjoy and to make myself as good as i can before the day when i have no job and more importantly, no income to support my family
<David> I understand completely.
<David> At this point in the exercise, I think we can stop. I will ask you to rerate yourself on your self-awareness, the 1 to 10 scale.
<Ash> you have certainly improved it in this short session, i'd say, 7
<David> OK. may I save the file buffer so that I can show it to others who are involved in this research project?
<Ash> certainly
<David> Thank you very much. I look forward to someday listening to you on the radio and wish you the best of luck in this new endeaver.
<Ash> thank-you very much
<Ash> good night
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[From Bill Powers (980125.-114 MST)]

From: David Goldstein
Subject: 10th MOL example
Date: 1/24/98

Tonight I had a chat with a person named ash. I think it went well.
And without meaning to, I may have helped to solve a minor issue
between him and his wife. I think that I stuck to a plain Vanilla mode
of functioning except at the point where I made a suggestion in the form
of a question. The interesting thing about the session was that he put
his wife on and I chatted with her very briefly.

This session left a strange impression in me. In the first place, the "self
awareness rating" gives a purpose to the whole session that's irrelevant to
what's on the subject's mind. It's _your_ purpose, not his. It implies an
evaluation of the explorer on a scale you made up. In the second place, you
introduced the level-changing queries in an arbitrary way instead of
following up on what the explorer has said:

<David> As you think about a typical night's how, what sort of background
thoughts and feelings do you become aware of?

Ash wasn't talking about a typical night's show; that change of subject was
yours, not his.

The same thing happens here:

<David> I suppose she could wait to listen to you until you get home and
then you two could listen together?
<Ash> not really, because my three children listen to me before they go to
bed, & i've got some head-phones now
<David> What would she prefer you to do?
[I think some of these lines got out of sequence]

DJ work because i enjoy it and it puts me in a good mood

<David> OK, I meant, what would she prefer you to do instead of listening
to the tape when you get home?

Listen to yourself offering advice and help. You have dropped out of the
MOL mode at this point.

His wife's annoyance at his replaying the tapes has caught your attention,
but not his. So instead of following up on his good mood, you say "No, I
want to go back and talk about what your wife would prefer you to do." I
think the man's self-centeredness might have awakened the therapist in you,
and you decided that he wasn't going to get away with this. And see what it
gets you:

<Ash> Hold on I'll ask her.

Blooie goes the MOL session as it turns into group therapy.

What we have at the end is a therapist in full cry, trying to get a patient
to see that he has a problem with his wife, and encouraging him to come up
with a particular solution to it (and even interrupting to talk with his
wife). The therapist went away pleased with his own performance, and the
explorer boosted his ego by telling him he hit the nail right on the head.
I feel so much better now, Doctor, and my awareness is a whole point higher
than it was before. The most telling interchange was this:

<David> At this point in the exercise, I think we can stop. I will ask

you to rerate yourself on your self-awareness, the 1 to 10 scale.

<Ash> you have certainly improved it in this short session, i'd say, 7

Note who the explorer thinks was the active agent in this process: you.
_You_ improved _his_ awareness. You set the stage for this when you did the
first rating, indicating that the purpose of the exercise was to evaluate
his progress on a scale. So all through this session, Ash had the subject
of rating his self-awareness in mind -- and never mentioned it until you
asked at the end.

I think that "vanilla MOL" means MOL and _nothing else_. I think it means
that the guide remains self-effacing, not wanting to solve problems for the
explorer or to point the explorer toward subjects that the guide thinks may
prove to be important. I think it means _doing_ the process without making
the process into the foreground subject. And it means following, not leading.

As you look back over the protocol of this session, do you disagree with my
evaluations?

Best,

Bill P.

Bill said:
As you look back over the protocol of this session, do you disagree with
my evaluations?

My answer: I think so. I have been trying to figure out how to evaluate
these MOL sessions. I tried out the scaling question. It is my purpose
to find out if there was a change in self-awareness as a result of doing
the MOL. I am simply asking the person to make a judgement about a
change in self-awareness. Who is in a better position to know this? I
could make guesses based on this or that, but that is all they would
be.

Another point is that when a person says something, it is just words.
I have no way of knowing what the person experiences unless I ask him.
That is what I was doing by asking some questions about the DJ work.
Asking him if he noticed any background issues when he was involved in
the DJ work, is not so strange. As I do my therapy work, I sometimes
notice myself doing this. Unless someone asked me, I may not bother to
self disclose this. He said he enjoyed the work. He was aware of a
developing skill in handling mistakes.

I was completely taken by surprise when Ash put on his wife. I
certanily didn't ask him to do it. I was surprised that his mom never
heard him on the air since they were supposed to have gotten closer.
That is why I asked about the tapes.

In the background, upon reading the script, are the issues: right
versus wrong, wanting to become the best he can. I am not sure about
the self-centeredness interpretation which you gave but it is possible.
It may be a privacy issue. It may be a side effect of controlling for
achievement which is what I suspect.

It is not unusual for people who come to a therapist, and make some
progress, to attribute the progress to the therapist rather than take
credit. Ash was ripe for change. He noticed his wife's annoyance but
apparently, was not bothered enough by it, to follow-up on it. He
also stated at different times that his family was important to him. My
question, just helped him realize that there was an easy way for him to
satisfy himself and his wife. He could have just as easily said
something like: This is my future career, she will just have to
tolerate it. There is no other way.

Bill, you are hard to please. In the last example, you commented that
you would have asked some probing questions. In this example, you
commented that I should not have asked some probing questions.

I am going to be taking a break from this. If there are others on the
CSG-L who want to give it a try, this might be a good time. Ten is a
nice round number.

What I learned so far: (a) even random strangers will engage in an
MOL-type of conversation, (b) whatever subject you start out with will
lead to some aspect of a person's self-image, (c) it is hard to be
plain Vanilla MOL. I am more inclined to use the MOL in my therapy
work. I have done it with some patients who have been seeing me a long
time and some new insights occurred. I don't see it as a therapy in its
own right but as a therapy tool which encourages self-reflection.
Focusing awareness on something is the first step of changing it.

···

From: 10th MOL example
Subject: Re:10th MOL example; Bill Powers (980125.-114 MST)
Date: 1/25/98

[From Bill Powers (980125.1104 MST)]

David Goldstein (980125) --

As you look back over the protocol of this session, do you disagree with
my evaluations?

My answer: I think so. I have been trying to figure out how to evaluate
these MOL sessions.

I was hoping that these sessions would serve mainly as practice in learning
to run MOL sessions smoothly. Since there's only one overt purpose of these
sessions (getting people to go up a level), and since we seem to have no
problem in detecting when this happens, I think we already have a criterion
for evaluating how well a session went.

You're raising the issue of whether going up a level has any therapeutic
value, which is a valid question but one that can't be answered until we
can be sure we are running MOL sessions as well as we can. When we have
learned how to get most people to go up three or four levels during a
session, we can then address the issue of whether this is a valuable thing
to do. I suspect that it will be valuable, but that's only a guess. It may
just be an interesting phenomenon of no importance.

I don't think a valid test of the MOL can be done by mixing it with other
approaches. If you prefer to interact with people as a therapist or
adviser, or to bring in rating scales and Q sorts and other such methods,
that is naturally your choice. But I hope you won't base your opinion of
the MOL on the results.

I think there is ample opportunity at the end of a session to discuss it
with the other person and check to see if your asessment of level-changes
agrees with that of the other person. Once the session is declared to be
over, particularly in this one-time format, it probably doesn't matter what
role you play; all the relevant interactions have already taken place.

Bill, you are hard to please. In the last example, you commented that
you would have asked some probing questions. In this example, you
commented that I should not have asked some probing questions.

If you re-read what I said, I also added that this would goof up the MOL
session. I was saying that I am perfectly capable of making mistakes in the
heat of the moment. I wasn't advocating probing questions, only admitting
that it's a temptation to use them when you don't seem to be getting anywhere.

I am going to be taking a break from this. If there are others on the
CSG-L who want to give it a try, this might be a good time. Ten is a
nice round number.

Right. You've devoted a lot of effort to this, which has been useful both
in uncovering things that may be mistakes and in showing what works. I'd
like to hear what Tim Carey has been up to, and whether Mark Lazare has got
started on this. But I hope you're just taking a vacation.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Tim Carey (980126.0720)]

Right. You've devoted a lot of effort to this, which has been useful both
in uncovering things that may be mistakes and in showing what works. I'd
like to hear what Tim Carey has been up to, and whether Mark Lazare has

got

started on this. But I hope you're just taking a vacation.

Hi Bill,

The MOL pond has been a bit dry over here lately. We are just at the end of
our long summer vacation so the discussion group I had started has taken a
break. We should be starting up again in a week or two so I may have more
then. I think this year we'll probably meet every fortnight or so. Also, I
start seeing clients in the course I'm doing in semester two so that's
about July. That should be lots of MOL fun :slight_smile:

Cheers,

Tim