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When knowing your problem is not enough

October 15, 2012

There are many different types of therapy that psychologists use to help you resolve life issues.  The most famous in pop culture is psychoanalysis, which digs back into your past to find the root of your current problem.

This method does not work for everyone – what if you already know why you’re behaving in a certain way, but feel powerless to stop it?  This is where a method known as solutions-focused therapy can be helpful.

In their book “Switch”, authors Chip & Dan Heath explain how early sessions of solutions-focused therapy work:

“Solutions-focused therapists learn to focus their patients on the first hints of the miracle [ie.imagining an overnight fix to the problem] – ‘What’s the first small sign you’d see that would make you think the problem was gone’ – because they want to avoid answers that are grand and unattainable: ‘My bank account is full, I love my job, and my marriage is great.’

Once they’ve helped patients identify specific and vivid signs of progress, they pivot to a second question, which is perhaps even more important.  It’s the Exception Question: ‘When was the last time you saw a little bit of the miracle, even just for a short time?’”

It requires a lot of thinking, digging for nuggets of useful information that will change your life, but in a different way to traditional psychoanalysis.  Would this approach work for you?

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