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Five questions sometimes asked in therapy



The Miracle Question


This question is often asked in Solution Focused Therapy. This question is helpful if you are uncertain about what you want to change, have trouble setting goals and / or are feeling stuck in a rut.


The question helps you focus on the present, moving you away from ruminating over the past or stressing about the future. Answer it as honestly as you can, in the here and now.


Suppose you woke up one morning and by some miracle everything you ever wanted, everything good you could ever imagine for yourself, had actually happened - your life had turned out exactly the way you wanted it.


· What will you notice around you that let you know that the miracle had happened?

· What will you see?

· What will you hear?

· What will you feel inside yourself?

· How would you be different?



Is that a thought or a fact?


You may see a friend in the street, she walks straight past you without saying hello. What is your first thought? Have I done something wrong? Maybe she doesn’t like me anymore?


Ask yourself questions about your thoughts: "Is this a negative thought? Does it fit with the facts of the situation? Would I have thought differently if I was in a different mood?"


Once we have identified something as a negative thought, the idea is to approach it gently. Ask yourself some questions about the thought. Here are some examples of the kinds of questions you might ask are:

· Am I jumping to conclusions?

· Am I thinking in black and white terms?

· Am I judging myself?

· Maybe she is just having a bad day?



Could you replace that ‘should’ with a ‘could’? What are your alternatives?


Maybe you have high standards that are impossible to reach, finding yourself in a cycle of never quite hitting your mark? Do you find it impossible to relax, often thinking ‘I should be doing the housework or ‘if I don’t clean the house from top to bottom today I’m just being lazy.’

Try replacing the word ‘should’ with ‘could’, ‘I could be doing housework today, and I could also do some today and some tomorrow, it won’t make any difference’ Changing up how you talk to yourself can make a big difference on your self-esteem, motivation and energy levels.



What do you do to look after yourself?


Stress, anxiety, insomnia, over or under eating, digestion problems, relationship issues are just some of the problems that manifest when we don’t look after ourselves.


Looking after yourself is vital. Many people put others before themselves, and ultimately lack balance in their lives. If you think of yourself as a battery, with positive activities you enjoy recharging your battery and things you have to do draining it, see if you can find a balance between the two.


Who is in your support network? Do you have people you can talk to, laugh and have fun with? Think about who helps you recharge your battery.


Have you tried mindfulness?


Mindfulness is the process of being aware of your thoughts, how you’re feeling and being present in the moment. When we are being mindful, we experience reduced stress, enhanced performance, gain insight and awareness of the present moment, and can increase our attention to others’ wellbeing.

Mindfulness meditation gives us a time in our lives when we can suspend judgement and use our natural ability to be curious. We approach our lives and experience with warmth and kindness both to ourselves and others.


Here is a 30 second tool:


  1. Take a deep breath, focusing on filling your lungs with air. This will not only encourage you to take your mind off whatever is causing feelings of stress, but physically, slowing and deepening your breathing also sends your body a message to calm.

  2. Turn toward your body. Take note of whatever physical sensations you are experiencing, good or bad. Again – this can help to distract you from what is distressing you and helps to insulate you from any difficult thoughts.

  3. Pay attention to your breath. Breathe normally, but focus on it, in turn taking your mind away (even for a split second) from your thoughts.

  4. Get back on with things! But take it slow. Take a few seconds to open your eyes and calmly get back to whatever you were doing. At the very least, this pause will have given you some momentary relief, and ideally, you will have a new sense of calm to reinvigorate you for getting back to whatever you were doing.


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