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Saturday, September 19, 2009

i believe in miracles

forgive me for being such a pushover, but i doubt i will change my basic nature at this ripe old age. i attended a class the last two days on solution focused therapy and it has my heart and mind singing and i think i bought much of the curriculum, hook-line-and sinker.

in my current work, i encounter many individuals who seem to have embedded alcohol and substance issues that they have had for years- perhaps half their lifetimes. they are slowly suffocating the life out of their hearts and minds. most of them have been through classic treatment and a multitude of programs and here they remain, with their baggage and their blues and their obstinacy.

this is a population - and i name it such because there are many like them out there, who may deserve a fresh look. and i am curious to see if adapting this approach can help get some people unstuck.

here is a description of solution focused therapy from wikipedia...
Solution focused brief therapy (SFBT), often referred to as simply 'solution focused therapy' or 'brief therapy', is a type of talking therapy that is based upon social constructionist philosophy. It focuses on what clients want to achieve through therapy rather than on the problem(s) that made them to seek help. The approach does not focus on the past, but instead, focuses on the present and future. The therapist/counselor uses respectful curiosity to invite the client to envision their preferred future and then therapist and client start attending to any moves towards it whether these are small increments or large changes. To support this, questions are asked about the client’s story, strengths and resources, and about exceptions to the problem.

and here is an example of sft's big bang.. the miracle question...there is no way i am completely free of skepticism about all this, but my heart is not geared around skepticism. i am doing what i do because i believe in the power and the possibility of change and that remains true today. very little compares to walking out of a class or a talk and feeling as if a door has just opened in my heart or mind. and this was my experience this week.

The Miracle Question The miracle question is a method of questioning that a coach, therapist, or counselor uses to aid the client to envision how the future will be different when the problem is no longer present. Also, this may help to establish goals.

A traditional version of the miracle question would go like this:

"Suppose our meeting is over, you go home, do whatever you planned to do for the rest of the day. And then, some time in the evening, you get tired and go to sleep. And in the middle of the night, when you are fast asleep, a miracle happens and all the problems that brought you here today are solved just like that. But since the miracle happened over night nobody is telling you that the miracle happened. When you wake up the next morning, how are you going to start discovering that the miracle happened? ... What else are you going to notice? What else?"
Whilst relatively easy to state the miracle question requires considerable skill to ask well. The question must be asked slowly with close attention to the person's non-verbal communication to ensure that the pace matches the person's ability to follow the question. Initial responses frequently include a sense of "I don't know." To ask the question well this should be met with respectful silence to give the person time to fully absorb the question.

Once the miracle day has been thoroughly explored the worker can follow this with scales, on a scale where 0 = worst things have every been and 10 = the miracle day where are you now? Where would it need to be for you to know that you didn't need to see me any more? What will be the first things that will let you know you are 1 point higher. In this way the miracle question is not so much a question as a series of questions.

There are many different versions of the miracle question depending on the context and the client.

In a specific situation, the counselor may ask,

"If you woke up tomorrow, and a miracle happened so that you no longer easily lost your temper, what would you see differently?" What would the first signs be that the miracle occurred?"
The client (a child) may respond by saying,

"I would not get upset when somebody calls me names."
The counselor wants the client to develop positive goals, or what they will do, rather than what they will not do--to better ensure success. So, the counselor may ask the client, "What will you be doing instead when someone calls you names?"

today's sound choice is truly a vintage standout- "i believe in miracles" by dean/castiel


1 comment:

Sheria said...

I've never heard of SFBT before today. I am intrigued. I've spent time over the years in standard talk therapy and I found it to be helpful but I've always felt somehow unfinsihed. I like the concept of focusing on the present and the future, not the past. The past can't be changed; you just have to learn to live with it. The present and the future are malleable.

Do you watch a program called Supernatural? Dean and Castiel are characters on the show; Castiel is an Angel who rescued Dean from hell. I find it a fascinating show. This season, Dean must help avert the Apocalypse; of course, he inadvertently helped to bring it on. Some enterprising soul on YouTube paired images from the show with the song, I Believe in Miracles by a group called Hot Chocolate.

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