When I began studying auditory verbal therapy, one concept I learned was the “equal time pie” or “equal talk time,” — the idea that all three participants in an AVT session (child, parent, and therapist), should each be doing roughly 1/3 of the talking during the session. For years, I tried to self-monitor during my intervention to make sure this was happening. But then I started teaching students about AVT at the university level. After weeks of hearing me drive home the point that families are their children’s first and best teachers, one student raised her hand and asked a question that revolutionized the way I think about sharing talk time in sessions…
“If auditory verbal therapy is all about families, shouldn’t the therapist be talking less?”
She was absolutely right. I’d love to say that it was my masterful explanation of family-centered therapy that led her to this understanding, but really she was my teacher in this moment!
And thus began my shift from making sure I only took up about a third of the “airspace” in each therapy session to making sure I spoke as little as possible, jumping in to the parent-child interaction only when necessary to provide guidance or coaching that would help propel the family toward their goals. Less of me in the session means more of that precious parent-child interaction, and that is key!