Yesterday I was talking to a friend at work. She knows that I run sleep clinics and asked for my help; her 16 month old never sleeps through the night, often getting up for two hours at a time. Those two hours have become playtime for her daughter and they often colour or read stories for the duration. Needless to say, my friend is exhausted. Unfortunately, I had no magic bullet for her – she’d been hoping, I think, for some hypnosis to turn her back into (her words) ‘a fully functioning adult’.
What I was able to do though, was help her to focus right in and identify exactly what she needed to change (it actually wasn’t ‘everything’ as she had thought) and talk through some ways she could do that. She had almost all the answers, but she was so focused on the enormity of ‘everything’ and doubting herself as a mum and as a professional in the office, she hadn’t been able to pull out those thread of ideas on her own.
I worked with a young man recently who said he felt anxious from the moment he woke up. I asked what the first specific thing was that made him feel that way. He said it was trying to find his school uniform and pack his bag first thing. We’d already done some exercises to make sure he was calm before we talked and, in that state, he was able to offer his own solution straight away when I asked if there was a way to avoid that. ‘I could get everything ready the night before!’
Solutions focused psychotherapy works on the premise that we all have our own solutions inside ourselves. Sometimes those solutions evade us and you need someone with a different view on the situation to help pull those thoughts together to make sense of it all.
Yesterday I took this photo in London. I showed my partner and I knew he couldn’t ‘see’ it when I asked if he liked it and he said, ‘It’s nice, but I don’t get why there is a line in the sky’.
I put it on Facebook and said something about ‘blue skies and reflections’. One person contacted me to ask where the reflection was; they just couldn’t see it (probably because of the size of the image on their screen). I wonder how many other people didn’t really see the full picture…
It’s always ok to ask for help to understand the picture in front of you; we all have different perspectives and sometimes we need a little help to shift that to see the true image.
PS: In the picture there is a building directly in front. To the left is another building with a mirrored side, so the left hand side of the picture is primarily the reflection 🙂