I was running a Chair Chi session for an aged care centre and we had a new resident join the group.
He sat there in his wheel chair, watched with a blank expression, did not join in and I could just hear him mumble ‘it’s all @#$!’.
Rather than confront him I decided to continue on encouraging the group and occasionally glanced over to see if he was partcipating.
He still sat there motionless.
Then it happened.
I complimented him, as I did with other residents, but I was careful not to overdo it. He responded by joining in and slowly relaxed into the group activity. I think he even enjoyed himself.
I’ve found when I’ve worked with challenging participants, whether they are aged care residents, students, or staff and management in the workforce it’s best to allow them to join in when they are ready to do so.
And one of the ways of encouraging people to join in activities is to be patient, encouraging and just appreciate their presence.
Of course if their behaviour is disruptive to the group then I use other assertive skills to defuse or deflect negative Chi.
But usually what works for me is ‘just appreciation’.