A solution-focused therapy metaphor

As you may have read elsewhere on this site, I favor a solution-focused approach to psychotherapy.  Traditional therapy tends to spend a lot of time analyzing the history and scope of a problem.  Solution-focused therapy, on the other hand, starts with a vision of how you want things to be.  We look for exceptions to the problem, focus on what is working well, and discover sources of strength.

This metaphor from internationally recognized psychologist Fredrike Bannink describes it perfectly:

"You are hungry and decide to go eat at a restaurant. After you have waited awhile, you are invited to take a seat. The maître d’ introduces himself and starts asking you questions about your hunger: How severe is your hunger; how did you come by it; how long have you had it; have you been hungry before; what role has your hunger played in your family or in your relationship with other relatives; what disadvantages and, perhaps, advantages does it have for you? When you ask to eat after this, hungrier still, the maître d’ first wants you to fill out a few questionnaires about hunger (and probably about other matters that the maître d’ feels are important as well). After all this, you are served a meal that you did not choose yourself, but rather one that the maître d’ claims is good for you and has helped hungry people in the past. What do you suppose the chances are that you will leave the restaurant satisfied?”

Seems like it would make a lot more sense to just ask you what you want, right?  In solution-focused therapy, we do just that. Then we figure out how you can get it.

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