During my undergraduate degree, I felt overwhelmed with choosing a career. I was majoring in psychology on paper but was taking so many other courses because my interests were so broad. I was starting to think that becoming a counsellor could be an option, but I was not 100% sure that was the right career path. So, I decided to take a certificate course in counselling skills before beginning my master’s degree to see if this was something I wanted to pursue. At the time I was also volunteering with a student counselling center and would talk to students about their mental health. I often felt ill-equipped to provide support and help for these students. In the certificate course, we started learning about counselling techniques to use in practice. I was so used to research and theories that it felt great to be learning practical skills. We learnt open ended questions, grounding exercises for when clients feel stressed, and then the instructor asked the question that would change my life…
The question went something like this, “if you were to wake up tomorrow and a miracle happened, how would you know? What would you feel like?”. That is the Miracle Question. I sat in the room realizing that this question was the key to unlocking my potential as a future therapist. I realized how many times I sat with someone talking about mental health and wished I would have known to ask someone this question. Now it might not seem like much, but the Miracle Question is an effective way in getting people to imagine what their problems are, and from there how they can create goals that lead to this ideal future. The question comes from Solution Focused Therapy which was founded by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg. I discovered Solution Focused Therapy through the Miracle question. It became the reason I decided to pursue my master’s in counselling and is now the main theory that I will be using going forward in school and as a future therapist.
Solution Focused Therapy highlights where people are successful and how they can use those successes to reach other goals. It focuses on strengths and views everyone as being capable to make changes within their lives. There are so many different types of therapy and many therapists blend techniques and borrow skills from other theories. However, my discovery of Solution Focused Therapy was an “Ah-Ha!” moment in my education. It fits so well with my view of the world and how I want to help people see positive changes in their lives. Thus, I want to share some of these Solution Focused techniques with you, the reader!
- The Miracle question! How do I see this problem being gone from my life? How would I know that something had changed?
- When in your life is the problem absent? What are you doing/feeling instead?
- Where in your life do you already feel successful, how did you achieve that?
- What is a small achievable step that you can do today/tomorrow/this week that would get you a little closer to your life you created in the Miracle Question?
- Track your process by using a scale on 1-10, are you able to achieve more or do you need to create a more realistic goal for now? What can you do to bring yourself to a higher level on the scale?