Who, if anyone, lives a completely problem-free life in a problem-free world? Probably no one.  Therefore having problems is not the problem. The problem is when it becomes overwhelming, permanent, unmanageable and apparently intractable.

Most of the time, most of us are able to work through our problems. That some of us are not able to do so, suggests that there are deeper problems beneath the presenting problem. At the very least it indicates that we don't have the tools to work through the (surface) problem.

The 'lack-of-tools' approach applies particularly to how to conduct expert witness evaluations for educational, medico-legal and legal purposes as well as for enhancing personal well-being. There are three aspects to this radically different approach:

  • First, and somewhat counter-intuitively, the initial focus is not so much on presenting problems, but on acquiring the tools needed to solve them.
  • Second, tackling the hegemony of the /right/ .
  • Third, seeking to eliminate a possible mis-match between the writing and the adept hand as a co-factor in the presenting problem. The reason being that writing with the non-adept hand, in a literate culture, constitutes a core-processing dysfunction but for which no-one seeks help. Together with the hegemony of the /right/ these two aspects constitute a major treatment meta-problem.

Why problems remain Intractable

Intractable problems are defined as those long standing personal, inter-personal and interactional problems which endure despite one's best attempts to resolve them; even when using common-sense and when trying to follow experts' advice.

The puzzle is why, in spite all our best efforts, it should be so difficult to resolve them. There can be only two possible explanations. The first, the problems have been inadequately framed. The second, the problems are genuinely unresolvable. The way to find out which is which is by accepting that each presenting problem lies within three frames On the one hand lies the hegemonic quartet:  wright, wright, write and rite. On the other lies the lack of adequate tools. And between them both is the issue of handedness itself.

Hegemony of the /right/:

The hegemonic quartet - right, write, rite and wright - constitutes a problem whatever the presenting problem, because together they frame how we ask questions and determine what we accept as valid answers to those questions. At the heart of the hegemony is the interplay between on the one hand our senses, sight (in this instance spelling on the page) and sound (speech) and resulting feeling and on the other their overlapping meanings.

Failure to acknowledge this meta-problem creates an unnecessary waste of time and expense when trying to solve presenting problems. This hegemony constitutes a key issue in literate societies where writing defines and structures our sense of self. For the 'helping' agencies to ignore this meta-problem indicates they're suffering from at best begnign neglect and at worst from willful negligence.

Adequate Tools?

One of the principal reasons why problems remain unresolved is because we fail to consider what tools we're using to solve them. The following are considered to be some of the key tools

  • Tetrahedron
  • Ice-berg
  • Jig-saw puzzle
  • Cusp catastrophe graph
  • World-views : mind sets : explanatory schemas ; mental frameworks
  • Pen and paper
Tetrahedron (ie four-sided pyramid)
is used as a holistic image to model the systemic nature of individuals, who are either in harmony or not with themselves and the worlds they live in. It is used in contrast to a 'separatist' image which regards the physical, emotional, social and intellectual aspects of ourselves as separate components which may or may not interact with each other to help or hinder the individual.
The ice-berg
image is used to indicate that the 'problem' we see, is often, the tip of greater problems which we don't or can't immediately see.
Jig-saw puzzle

to represent the fact that all parties to the interaction hold some of the pieces of the puzzling picture. One task is to lay out the pieces face up. Another is to allow them to assemble themselves into a meaningful 'problem-solving' strategy.

The cusp catastrophe
is used both to assess orientation difficulties (when trying to draw it) and as a map on which to metaphorically place oneself with the current problem and where to re-position oneself once the problem has been resolved and to show the path between them both.
explain why experts working in the same field often disagree with each other. World-views determine which facts we seek and accept as evidence and which we neither seek nor accpet. There is a general ignorance about world-views (otherwise known as mind-sets, explanatory schemas or mental frameworks) among both professionals and the public. The best account of world-views in Pepper's World-Hypotheses: A Study in Evidence


Pen and paper

unlike ;talking therapies, clients use pen and paper to make tackle some of the tasks and thereby establish their own 'record' during the session.


Handedness is not normally considered to be indicative of a core body-mind problem. However whenever we experience an appararently intractacble problem (in our literate society) we need to consider how we use our two hands. For example, we assume that people quite sensibly write with their 'writing' hand. We assume that the brain tries to work in its most effective and efficient manner: For why would a brain knowingly spend time and energy working against itself?  The simple question then is how to identify the adept hand, the hand which should be used for writing?

Here we need to label three types of 'hand':  writing, adept and preferred.

  • The writing hand is easily noted by watching which hand is used to write.
  • The adept hand is the hand which is better able to read the mind's eye image with seemingly effortless ease. It is not necessarily the writing hand.
  • The preferred hand is, as the name implies, the hand one chooses to regard as their 'right' hand.

It is important to note that the term 'handedness' is shorthand for a whole mind-body orientation-organization phenomenon. Writing with the non-adept hand is indicative of someone out of harmony with themselves and therefore potentially with the world as well.) This is labelled latent or converted handedness. 

Failure to eliminate a mismatch between the writing and the adept hand, as a co-factor in any presenting problem when conducting evaluations for psychological, educational, medico-legal or legal purposes, incurs heavy financial and emotional costs, particularly for the entire education and penal systems. Its neglect results in ineffectual Personalised Education, Professional Development or Reasonable Adjustments in the Work Place for Fitness-to-Work treatment programmes. The greatest cost-savings are in respect of  dyslexia and recidivism.

Our radical strategy is to ask the meta-question:

"What constitutes necessary or sufficient evidence that handedness is NOT  a co-factor causing or sustaining presenting problems, whatever those problems might be?"

We seldom ask this question because we assume that everyone is always trying to do the /right/ thing!


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