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The Miracle Question

Yesterday I did an education group on solution focused therapy. I love the solution focus approach and have been an advocate for it in our agency and we have incorporated it into our treatment planning. Its based on the idea that when working with someone with problems you don’t really have to know the origins of those problems but you just have to identify where you would like your life to go and what are the steps you need to take now that will move you in that direction. Prior to a solution focused approach we took a problem solving approach which is not as motivating which is really the key factor in personal change. Its far more about motivation than it is about knowledge. You begin with “the miracle question”. “If you woke up tomorrow and your life was perfect how would you know it was different?” Its phrased in the form of a miracle because a lot of people mired in nonsense have lost any notion that their lives can be any different. It has to be a miracle for them to wrap their minds around the possibility of change. I also like it because it moves me out of the problem solving business and into the miracle business. Most people’s miracle is to have a safe home with their family with or without a relationship and with or without a dog. On rare occasions people have impossible miracles, bringing back dead relatives, winning the lottery, living in glass domes on mars and the like. The follow up question is “how would that make you feel?” There’s their real miracle. Its future focused rather than driven by hindsight and regret. I wove in some stuff from narrative therapy, looking at your life like a novel only instead of turning back to look for lessons you skip to the end. Ask the character who has it all figured out and is leading a happy life what did they do now that made that happen? It was well received and a really big group. Afterward I did the process group and it had hit home with folks. After dinner Dad and I watched The Time Traveler’s Wife (not to bad but no where near as good as the most excellent novel). It opens with a future version of the main character coming back to advise his younger self. Just beautiful.

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