Eavesdropping on buses – an overlooked research method?

“I don’t see why anyone should have to hear all the bad things that have happened to me”. Travelling by bus in Brighton has its drawbacks but where else would I overhear a conversation between two young women frankly discussing why they are not going to see a counsellor in order to help them overcome drug addiction.

Apart from being staggered at how open these two were in a public space, I was saddened (and fascinated) to hear firsthand the barriers preventing one woman moving from being aware that counselling could help her, to actually going to see one (or from Contemplation to Preparation for those familiar with the Stages of Change model). She spoke of not wanting to burden someone else with her bad experiences, of being frightened of admitting that these things had happened and not feeling able to be honest about her drug habits. A LOT of fear but also a lot of evidence of reflection. She sounded like a smart woman who was keenly aware of her barriers to behaviour change.

They left the bus, and I was left wondering what she’ll decide to do. I also wonder what local services are doing to allay those fears which create such enormous barriers to people who recognise the need to change their behaviour. At the very least they could try travelling by bus for a while and see what they learn from overheard conversations.

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One response to “Eavesdropping on buses – an overlooked research method?

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