What’s your Preferred Future?
My primary role as a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist is to help people move towards their ‘preferred future’.
It’s a fabulous phrase and sums up the essence of the Solution Focused approach.
We’re taught specific questioning techniques to help people identify what their preferred future looks like.
And it’s often hard for clients to do that at first.
So many people become stuck in the past, simply because they rerun past hurts, mistakes or injustices. And it’s not unusual for people to want to replay those unhelpful scenes in the therapy room.
When I ask something like ‘if something in your life has shifted for the better, what would you notice that was different?’, clients often respond by telling me what’s wrong with their life now.
‘The trouble is, I am very anxious and I hate social situations’.
‘I wouldn’t be eating rubbish all evening’.
‘I’d be happy and calm <good answer>, rather than shouting at the kids and arguing with my husband <not so good>’.
The tendency to rehearse what’s wrong, rather than imagine what would be better is an automatic response. Part of my job is to help clients understand this style of negative thinking and help them retrain their brain to come up with positive answers.
Sometimes clients have strong beliefs that get in the way of opening up to change: ‘I have no will power’, ‘I have always been very stubborn and can’t back down’, ‘If I walk away from a problem, I am giving in.’
As a result they may find themselves stuck in a repeating cycle of behaviour that doesn’t serve them well. Their self-limiting beliefs are preventing them from enjoying life to the full.
When I hear these kinds of answers I remind clients of the phrase, ‘If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got’. And I help the client imagine a future where they are responding differently.
It’s not always easy to change ingrained habits of thought, it takes effort.
But the good news is, if you practise a new skill often and long enough, it becomes a subconscious response. Then you no longer have to apply any effort.
And if it means you achieve your preferred future, it’s surely worth it.