Caveat-Please remember that there are many factors entering into a successful counseling interaction. Sometimes counseling techniques like these are important, other times not. Counseling techniques are not magic wands or potions which produce Cinderallas and Prince Charmings.
Counseling Techniques from the Brief Solution Oriented Model-
Oftentimes clients begin the change process once they have picked up the phone, and made a call, so I will begin a session by asking what has changed since making the appointment.
Most clients can report a change of some kind, and I like to ask next how they did that?
Most clients cannot respond with specifics usually about "How they did that change", so we will explore some thinking, feeling, or behaving changes looking for small and repeatable (repeatable is very important)things they did.
This is where I get to do something I really like to do, which is cheer lead, encourage, and inspire with words and phrases like, "Wait a minute, you did what? Tell me about your success again? I want to make sure I heard that right." (Say it loudly).
I want to see a grin from the client which indicates to me that the client has gotten some surprising feedback (to them) about their own skills.
So we are teasing out the discreet thinking, feeling, and behavioral tools clients already have but didn't really think about and which they are then using in the 1/18th second in which decisions are made about perceptions and then actions which lead to successful change for them.
Once clients get it that they have these tools, then they can utilize them whenever they choose to generate those desired results, whether that means a change in feelings, a change in thinking, or a change in behavior.
Another useful question from the Solution Oriented Brief Therapy camp is the Scaling question: "On a scale of 1-10, how intense was the feeling?" for example.
And of course, the "Miracle Question" which has been around in one form or another for a long time. It goes something like this and I use it when my client and I are struggling to find any change, "If you woke up tomorrow and the problem was solved, what would be the first thing you noticed that was different?
The client easily knows what they would like to have different, and as they describe it, I can ask what do you need to do to start that ball rolling, and they will tell me, and I can say, alright, now we have a plan.
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