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The PIECES project supported by NIHR , UK is  a very fertile ground for new learning!. Indeed the absolutely new SALT methodology (for me, personally) is an  eye-opener. In my experience, asking people to speak about the most important and positive moment(s) in their lives works seems to be practical conversation starter. Thanks to the gentle nudging as part of training by Rituu Nanda and Kauser Khan, I am in process of learning to use this very vibrant methodology in conversations with people – known to me as well as strangers!

What have I been doing…. I start with this simple question – Can you share about an important moment in your life that you have felt good about?  In the beginning, I felt that the question has been catching people off-guard – so I am learning to paraphrase the question –“ There would have been happy moments in your life wonder if you would like to talk about it?  or,  “We often hear about sad stories from people. Can you think of nice moments in your life? The paraphrasing happens according to the situation – the emphasis being on “proud moments, happy recollections that stayed in one’s memory.

What happened as a result? Invariably, most of the conversations tune on to what people felt were really “nice” memories – be it the uncle taking care of a parent, the taxi driver being proud of a child’s academic performance, the colleague helping out in disaster situations during the tsunami or the auto driver performing his daughter’s wedding. It has been a profound moment to hear my patient tell me “Doctor, let me tell you all the good things that have happened this past month”  People who speak to me – end up feeling “good” – as my auto driver said – “I  did not know that talking about happy memories can make one feel so relaxed” As the conversations came to an end – there was an expressed/unexpressed sense of “goodness” and an exchange of smiles and best wishes between me and the other person! For me, it lasted for quite a while – and set the positive vibe for the rest of the day. I do believe that the other person should have felt the same!

 What did this do to me? – It has certainly caused some soul-searching times. The consequence of a change in the style of the conversation has taught me several things – most people can be prompted to share “good stuff”;  hearing nice things certainly lessens one’s burden of stress;  how in spite of getting to the doctor to talk about “problems” people are willing to share good times and several others. I am picking up the richness of experience from powerful conversations – the ray of the sunshine peering through the clouds in the sky. The learning continues – the path is long, yet beautiful!

 

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Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on January 4, 2024 at 8:54am

The title of your blog reminded me of when I was exposed to SALT. I searched the article for you and posted it as a blog https://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/appreciating-people-...

Thanks Padma for the beautiful blog. Your ability to unlearn and re-learn is remarkable. Humbled to be with you as a co-traveller.

Comment by Dr. E. Mohamed Rafique on January 4, 2024 at 8:42am

Appreciate the introspective piece of writing.

This is a different view from the usual take. For, the inward look brings out what we can better describe and what others cannot refute. For it is one's own observation of what SALT does to oneself! 

Irrefutably True! :-)  

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