How professionals deal with clients' explicit objections to their advice
Previous literature on advice-resistance in medicine and welfare has tended to focus on patients’ or callers’ inexplicit resistance (minimal responses, silence and so on). But clients also raise explicit objections, which put up a firmer barrier against the advisor’s efforts. In a novel look at resistance, we show that one important distinction among objections is their epistemic domain: whether the client’s objection is in their own world (e.g. experiencing pain), or in the world of the practitioner (e.g. difficulties in making appointments). We show that the practitioner may try to manoeuvre the objection onto grounds where their own expertise will win the day, in five ways: conceding the objection’s validity as a preface to moving on; proposing a ‘work-around’ that effectively repeats the original advice; selecting an aspect of it that could be remediated; correcting the client’s understanding of the challenges of the advice; and stressing the urgency of the original course of action. We discuss the distinction between objections to solicited and unsolicited advice, and the role of objections in revealing, and affirming, a service-user’s personal life-world contingencies.
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- Communication and Media