Goal Setting in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

Clients will come to see us as there is something in their life that they would like help with. Usually, the client knows what they don’t want, for example, “I don’t want to feel stressed all the time” or I don’t want to be afraid of spiders anymore” very small interventions can help with both, but are these the actual goals of the client?? We have to be careful not to dismiss these goals, but we also have to find out what the client actually wants, not what they don’t want. Using the Initial consultation format we can carefully question to find out what would make the clients life better and turn “I don’t want to feel stressed anymore” to “I want to be able to enjoy my evenings with my family” or “I don’t want to be afraid of spiders anymore” to “I would like to deal with a spider if I see one” we look for what the clients wants instead of what they don’t.

We let our clients know roughly how many sessions it could take for them to achieve their goals, we discuss at what point would they be happy to stop therapy, this could be in conjunction to the miracle question and scale, “when they reach an 8, its good enough” or it could be when they decide that they just feel better. They are in control of when they stop, but if the therapist feels that it is too soon, they should bring this up, we always take a full course of Anti-Biotics as this is what the doctor tells us is best, if a therapist thinks stopping therapy too soon would hinder, the client’s recovery, they have a duty of care to say so. Stating that it could take between 9-12 sessions, maybe more, for the client’s complaints to ease sufficiently, sets the stall out early and suggests things are not an instant win, so the speed of recovery is not over estimated, if it happens sooner, that’s great!! If for a phobia the therapists estimates 5 sessions, they could suggest that “most “clients have this many sessions, but some a few more, again, allowing the client to expect an improvement gradually.

Asking a client what his goal is for this session is valuable also, as sometimes different situations crop up in our clients lives that throw them a curveball and we may need to focus on something else, what ever it is, whatever the goal, we need to acknowledge it, record it and find small steps forward in achieving it.

We would never want to be in a position of promising to wave a magic wand within a number of sessions, as this would subconsciously put pressure on the client to achieve their goal in this time and maybe for some reason, change is not possible in this time frame. We could also be accused of misleading the client.

Goals are so important, but we must remember that a football player doesn’t need to score a goal to win, just playing the game is sometimes good enough.

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