Thursday, January 18, 2018

Bridge Out

“Believing there is a bridge from where you are to where you want to go is 99% of the battle. The other 1% is to cross it.”
― Richie Norton

A bridge is something that connects two things that are in different places. To a motorist, a bridge is something that connects two pieces of land. A community liaison is a type of “human bridge”. Their role is to bridge people with organizations and services, trying to establish bonds and trust between two groups that were not previously connected. There is an additional type of bridging, one that I try to utilize. That is the concept of bridging thoughts and ideas.

Before I describe this idea of bridging thoughts and ideas further, I need to give a bit of a background of myself first. I have a Masters of Social Work degree and I write and speak about topics involving child safety, but the majority of my practice involves something called Instrumental Enrichment, which I use with clients as a means of helping them with how they think and process information. Here is how I describe Instrumental Enrichment on a basic level: The theory that you can teach a person to recognize their own thought process, and once you are able to get the person to that point, together you’ll be able to correct deficiencies in their thought process. These deficiencies can be in their input of information, in how they elaborate the inputted information and in their choice of solution, which is referred to as output.

For example: Isaac is a guest at someone’s table. There are 7 people at the meal, and there is one plate of fish on the table. This plate has 7 pieces of fish. Isaac takes two pieces of fish.

The issue is that Isaac didn’t process the non-verbal instructions. Seven people and seven pieces mean that the instruction is “if you would like fish, take no more than one piece”. This is my basic explanation of Instrumental Enrichment.

One tool used during the Instrumental Enrichment lessons is called “Bridging”. The teacher tries to connect the experience and lessons learned in the current situation to new situations. “Where else can we apply the lesson we have just learned” is a common question asked during these sessions. Sometimes more specific questions such as “Where else in your life to you suppose it is important to have a strategy?" and "How often has 'impulsivity' gotten you into difficulty in your family life?" to name a few examples. The goal here is simple, to try to create a thinking process that can easily adapt to new situations.

There is a classic Chinese Proverb that teaches us that by giving a man a fish you feed him for a short period of time, but if you actually teach him to fish, you will ensure that he will not go hungry for life. The quote illustrates that the skill is greater than the result of the skill. This lesson is even more important when applied to thought processes, as thought processes cover a much wider area than the aforementioned single skill. The ability of knowing how we think coupled with the ability to bridge known concepts to unknown situations leave us more powerful than the man who has only been taught how to fish.

Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages who are looking to improve their awareness and their social skills. He also lectures on the topics of communication and child safety.  You can email Yisroel at

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