Perspective Transformation

Perspective transformation is the change to how you see something. I think a lot about perspective transformation. I am sitting with an educational theorist (Mezirow) whose theory is about the power of perspective transformation. I’ve also found reframing to be a pretty nifty pastoral skill over my years. The two are very related.

When I was getting consultation on a paper draft last month, one of the supervisors scribbled something on the page. Now, I should back up to say that when we present at this particular monthly meeting, we get immediate verbal feedback. Your work is engaged and your person is engaged. It’s great but it’s labor. You get a massive amount of constructive, careful, powerful, and pointed critique from pastors who have been therapists, educators, and chaplains for years. I can’t live without the stuff in some ways. But, again, it’s work being in the room!

I bring all my papers to the hospital the next week and flip through my friends’ comments. I imagine that I also review the event, almost writing a verbatim in my head about the presentation and the feedback in particular. Of course, the presentation comes up in my own supervision with my training supervisor as a major conversation topic.

Well, one piece of feedback on my theological theory was to consider writing it as a devotion. We had been working through the expectation of me exhibiting “mastery” (something on the grid that tells you what you need to pass essentially) and how I thought about that. The supervisor knew I wrote devotionals and he asked me how my theory would come across if I looked at it similarly. “What if you wrote this as a devotion?”

He was offering me a potential perspective transformation. He used something I could relate to and employed it in what has become a change of my view. Not all changes of view are comfortable. And they always require work. But they can be gifts. They can be good gifts.

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