One of the best things any therapist can hear from their client is ‘I’ve got the old me back’.
It means the client has cleared away recent, unhelpful thinking habits. Because ultimately, who we are and how we experience life is down to the thoughts we allow to occupy our heads.
There’s a strange feature of our behaviour that means that we can get stuck with redundant responses. It may be that, at some time in the past, we needed to be on the alert due to a bullying boss or an undermining partner. We would have adapted our behaviour to meet the challenge.
If the situation continues, the new behaviour becomes the norm. We then respond automatically in the same way, long after the initial stressor has gone.
Another strange quirk is that we can take a recent negative period in our lives and imagine that it has always been this way. An example would be taking a phone call from an irate customer just before leaving work for the day. The call leaves you feeling upset or anxious. When you get home you tell your partner you’ve had an awful day. You judge the whole day based on the last 10 minutes.
It’s the same in life and we can forget that we used to be happy, carefree, optimistic souls.
So, our job as Solution Focused therapists is to help our clients draw a line under how they are, or how things have been. Instead we encourage them to think about how they want things to be.
That can be a bit difficult at first. After all, they’ve been in the habit of dwelling on how difficult things are. So we use Solution Focused techniques to help them picture what life would be like if it was better. Their preferred future.
And then the magic starts to happen.
They may say things like ‘I’d be laughing more’, ‘I’d be doing things I enjoy’ or ‘I’d be immersed the moment’.
And that’s just great, because pretty soon they’ll be able to say ‘I’ve got the old me back’.