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  • Writer's pictureDale V Wayman, PhD

Spitting in the Soup




Me: "So you're saying, bad people broke into our house and colored on the walls with your crayons, but didn't steal anything?"

Kid". "Yes, crazy right?" This is a hilarious meme but makes a point of Adlerian theory. Adlerians note that in this instance, you are giving the child the opportunity to practice lying. We would recommend that if a parent knows the answer to the question, "did you color on the walls?" then don't ask. Rather, offer logical consequences, for example, "I noticed you colored on the wall. Here's a scrub daddy, let's clean this up together"

Or....in a another way..."I love the art work, let's leave it there and build a frame for it so that other people can see your art work. Now, when you want to draw again, don't draw on the wall/house but let me know and I will help you put it on something that's easier to frame so that everyone can see your masterpiece." (this is known as the Adlerian technique of "spitting in the soup)

And...to go further...set up times where you and your child color together on a more appropriate canvas. "Spitting in the soup" - Adler used this homely metaphor to characterize the process of exposing to clients what they are actually doing, in order to make these actions distasteful to them. It is a way to spoil the clean conscience of the client, who may, of course, choose to continue in the mistaken movement, but who can no longer do so innocently. https://www.adlerpedia.org/concepts/88 Note that "paradox" or "anti-suggestion" can sometimes be included with "spitting in the soup."

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