The concept of fast and slow thinking was termed by Daniel Kahneman in his book ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’.
Kahneman talks about two types of thinking; System 1 thinking or ‘fast thinking’ and System 2 thinking or ‘slow thinking’.
There are strengths and weaknesses to both types of thinking and so ideally we want to use both types of thinking to ensure we make appropriate decisions. Obviously in Social Work and child protection, making clear decisions is vital and that is why I find this concept so relevant.
I think most of us would like to think that we spend most of the time at work in slow thinking mode or in system 2 thinking, however Kahneman’s research has shown that in reality the majority of our time is spend in fast thinking. So here we are thinking that our decision making is rational and conscious when chances are it might not be (scary huh!).
To help keep that slow thinking mind ticking over, these are 4 ways that you can slow down your thinking at work:
- Value the time you have for case noting, assessment writing and case planning. I’ve heard lots of Practitioners tell me that they don’t like this part of their work and that they would rather be out in the field supporting their clients. But the reality is that the time that we sit down to analyse and assess prevents us from being clouded by our bias and judgement and getting caught up in crisis mode.
- Have a plan and a purpose. Before calling or seeing a client make sure that you know your purpose for contacting them and have a clear plan for what you want to do while you are there. This will help stop you from getting diverted into fast thinking while you are carrying out your intervention.
- Supervision! Yes I know supervision is in most of my tips for anything related to the field. But guess what? Supervision will help you to think slow and to prevent you from being led into unconscious thinking. To help even clearer slow thinking go into supervision with a plan which will help guide both you and your supervisor.
- Practice meditation techniques. Meditation helps us focus on the present and to stop our minds from heading off into all different types of thoughts. So if you are feeling like your fast thinking brain won’t slow down to let you do the assessments or case notes then try a meditation or even a few long slow breaths.
What do you think of the tips above? Comment below and let me know what other tips you have for slow thinking?