Tips to weaken problematic interactions (2) via externalization (#47)

Aim or sub-task         

Guiding questions

Name the problem: negotiate an experience-near formulation for the problem

How would you call this problem?

Attacking? Insulting? Anger management? Blowing up? Giving up? Lack of control? Self-centeredness? Not respecting others? War? Something else?

If we had a thermometer measuring temperature from 1 to 100 degrees, where 100 is the worst because you totally blow up, where would you be right now in the ‘attacking’ scale?

Explore the negative effects of the problem

Does the problem (e.g., ‘Attacking’) make you do things that you don’t like to do, or that you regret afterwards? (e.g., “yelling” “physically restraining”)

What else does the problem make you do?
What does your mom/dad/child do when you are under the influence of the problem?  

What makes the problem bigger (or stronger)?

If we asked your mom, how can she tell when the thermometer went from 20° to 50°? To 70°? To 90°?

Explore unique outcomes (for more details check up on “tips via unique outcome”).

Did you ever managed/beat the problem (e.g., the ‘attacking’; the ‘yelling’)? How have you successfully coped with ‘frustration’ as a family?

Did the problem ever complied with you, instead of you complying with it?

When was (bearer of problem) able to lower the intensity (or frequency) of the problem?

When was (bearer of problem) able to do something with the problem? How did you notice? What was the first thing you noticed?

What did you/her do?

What did your mom notice? What did she do?

What happened on that occasion?

What did others say about this?

Explore unique outcomes in the future

If (unique outcome) happened again in the next few days/weeks, what would happen to the problem?

Do you think its influence in your life would increase or decrease?

What difference would this make for you?

What would be different in your life? What else?

Tips to weaken problematic interactions (1) via intention-effect (#30)

Aim or sub-task                          Guiding questions
Obtain a prototype of the problematic behavior or situationCan you tell me a typical situation in which this problem (e.g., “attacking”; “disqualifying”; “blowing up”; “losing it”; etc.)  takes place? How would you call it? Can you describe how it was the last time that this problem happened?
Obtain a typical response (TR) to problematic behavior How did you respond in this situation? What did you do when X behaved in that (problematic) way? (e.g., “everything I’ve tried make things worse; I just do nothing now”; “I just give them what they want”)
Search for positive intention behind TRWhat did you expect it would happen by doing that (TR)?What was the outcome you were looking for?What were you intending? (e.g., “I wanted to avoid more violence”; “protect myself”)
Separate intention from actual effectComparing with your situation say, a year ago, would you say violence/threats/sense of safety have increased or decreased? (e.g., “oh, definitely increased!”)What has been the long-term consequences of the “avoidance technique” for your relationship?What has been the effect of doing that according to (others) participating in the situation?Would you say this/these is/are not the result(s) that you have been hoping for?
Formulate negative feelings or “stance” on actual effectSometimes finding effective ways to (“Protect yourself”; “decrease violence”) can be hard; I wonder how do you feel when you realize that (in the long run) the “avoidance technique” may have produced effects that you weren’t intending?What happens to you when you realize about what actually happened?
Separate agent from actionIf you had known in advance what the actual effect would be, would you have done something different?If you were convinced that in a situation like this there were some things you could do to prevent this negative effect, would you do it?
Formulate ‘absent but implicit’ valueWhy would you do something different? What values are at stake for you here?What would be different for you if your intentions came across without distortion to your child?

Tips to weaken problematic interactions (1) via intention-effect (#47)

Aim or sub-task                         

Guiding questions

Obtain a prototype of the problematic behavior or situation

Can you tell me a typical situation in which this problem (e.g., “attacking”; “insulting”; “melting down”; “blowing up”; “losing it”; etc.)  takes place? How would you call it? Can you describe how it was the last time that this problem happened?

Obtain a typical response (TR) to problematic behavior

How did you respond in this situation? What did you do when X behaved in that (problematic) way? (e.g., “time out”; “I made it clear that insulting and hitting her brother was not allowed”, “I send my child to their room…”, “I yelled at them”, “I swore”)

Search for positive intention behind TR

What did you expect it would happen by doing that (TR)?

What was the outcome you were looking for?

What were you intending? (e.g., “I wanted them to understand and learn that harming others is not ok”; “I wanted them to learn how to cope better when facing frustration/obstacles/stressing situations”)

Separate intention from actual effect

What would you say was the immediate effect of doing what you did (RT)? (e.g., “they become even more mad; started throwing objects…”; “counter-attacking”; “ignored me”)

What has been the long-term consequences for your relationship?

What has been the effect of doing that according to the other person participating in the situation?

Would you say this/these is/are not the result(s) that you were hoping for?

Formulate negative feelings or “stance” on actual effect

How do you feel when you realize that you could have produced effects that you weren’t intending?

What happens to you when you realize about what actually happened?

Separate agent from action

If you had known in advance what the actual effect would be, would you have done something different?

If you were convinced that in a situation like this there is something you could do to prevent this negative effect, would you do it?

Formulate ‘absent but implicit’ value

Why would you do something different?

What values are at stake for you here?

What would be different for you if your intentions came across without distortion to your child?

Some ideas that could foster “articulating and expressing emotions & needs” (#47)

  • “Anger is a statement; a way of expressing something we care about”
  • “Anger is a response to frustration of one’s needs/expectations”
  • “Anger can be understandable, despite not ‘agreeing’ with it”
  • “Anger management can be difficult; we learn better ways throughout a whole life”
  • “Anger and frustration management require time and help from caregivers”
  • “It’s easier for adults to manage frustration and anger (compared to children)”
  • “Helping express anger with words may prevent its expression with insults/throwing objects/hitting”
  •  “When anger cannot find an outlet, a child may ‘regress’ and become even more ‘primitive’”
  • “Frustration of needs is probably inevitable but there are several ways in which we can manage this”
  • “My child believes I don’t love them”
  • “There is alternative to either ignore or impose your own needs; it´s called assertiveness”
  • “My child rejects my lack of empathy/acknowledgment”

Some “truths” linked to “attacking” (#47)

  • “Violence is simply unacceptable; there’s nothing to talk about it”
  • “Kids should not/never show anger, it is a negative emotion”
  • “Anger is primitive/bad, kids should be able to control it”.
  • “Conflicts are bad, and should be avoided or ignored”
  • “My child is always whining/manipulating”.
  • “My child is impulsive/has a conduct disorder”
  •  “Don’t be a girl”
  •  “My parents don’t satisfy my wishes; hence then they don’t love me/they are mean”
  • “My needs are the only needs that matter”

Tips to co-construct antidote (3) via thickening preferences (#46)

Aim or sub-task          Guiding questions
Identify a relational preference (preferred relational understanding such as preferred emotions, capacities, behaviours, attitudes, intentions, identities, ways of relating). You said your child was ‘lying’; how much do you think she understand why this is a bad thing to do for you? Is it that it hurts trust in your relationship? Something else?

(To ‘bearer’ of problem) what is it that you value about ‘lying’? does it help you to feel safe? Is it like a shield? Shield to what?

If there were other forms to protect yourself, or make some changes so that protection wasn’t needed as much, would you be interested in figuring them out?

When would you say the ‘lying’ turns into a “bad thing” for you, because makes you do things you do not feel proud of doing?

What is it that you are not proud of? Why?

Some parents sometimes want to help their children to learn to be honest and trustworthy… is that important to you?

Did you ever noticed something that would get close to such ability/learning?

Characterize the preference How would you call this “good” thing you seem to be after? (e.g., “honesty”; “courage to tell the truth”; “integrity”; “trustworthiness”).

Does your child know that you are interested in promoting her ability to nurture…. (e.g., “honesty”)?

When have you seen her exercising “honesty” to some degree?

How would you know that she is getting more honest?

Have you met people who are very honest, perhaps admirable for that?

Who is better at home at admitting own mistakes? Second best? Third?

Bring forth powerful inspirations (e.g., utility, goodness, beauty, or other “good reasons”). Would you say there’s something ‘ugly’ about “lying”? if so, can you tell me more about that?

Why would you say honesty is desirable? Sometimes even admirable?

What has life taught you about the importance of “self-control”?

Why is it good?

Why is it useful?

Where did you learn that from?

What would happen immediately in your relationship with your child if they decided appreciating and welcoming your willingness for her to gain more “honesty”?

What would happen after a year? After 10 years?

Track ongoing changes in relation to preference Who has gotten better at (supporting, appreciating) honest admissions at home?

Who has noticed some difference in your child’s “honesty” in the last year? In the last month? How have you noticed that?

How long are these ‘temptations to lie” episodes in your head these last few days?

From 1 to 10, how intense are they now? How frequent?

What does ‘self-confidence’ do to “lying”?

What does ‘empathy’ do to “threats”?

(When unhelpful interaction is being enacted in session: does pressure help you? What else helps you?)

Plan, do, and consolidate What else are you going to do to Support/exercise honest admissions?

Do you have a plan?

How would you practice your “honesty muscles”?

Who may have some other ideas?

What do these changes tell about what the relationship between you is becoming?

What are you becoming into?

Tips to co-construct antidote (2) via exception (#46)

Aim or sub-task          Guiding questions
Formulate a hypothetical solution Imagine this issue of ‘compulsive lying’ solved out, what would be different? What would you see different? What would you hear different? What would you think/feel different? How would you respond or do different?
Identify critical factors in hypothetical solution What did you do that helped solving out this problem?

When the problem solved out, how did you respond?

When you responded like that, what did you observe as an effect? How others responded to your response?

Identify an exception to the problem When have you been able to resist engaging in ‘tell the truth or you will regret this’, and opened space for him to admit an error?

What did you notice when you did? What was different?

I heard you saying that there was a time when he was ‘showing some regret’; can you tell me more about this?

Amplify exception in the present How did you did that (exception)?

How else did you empowered yourself and didn’t let ‘compulsive lying’ (or ‘compulsive strong rejection of lies’) manage you?

How did you manage not to surrender to the anxiety that came up for you when you saw your child was…?

Where did you learn that?

What did you do to get ready or prepare to make that step in that occasion?

What other personal resources did you rely on to make this step?

What did you notice different in the relationship with your child when you did that (exception)?

What did you notice different in yourself?

What did other members of your family noticed?

Who was the first in noticing the difference? Who was the second? Third?

How did others respond?

How did you feel when they did that?

How did the rest of your day go after this happened?

What did you notice later?

Co-create a new future When you act upon these ideas, what difference will it make for you? What difference will it make about how you feel about the episode? About yourself?

When you feel like that, what will be easier to do from that mindset/mood/state of mind/stance etc.?

How will this orient you towards a new direction in your life?

While you continue going in this preferred direction, how will your new future be different from your old future?

Formulate a step by step plan Would you be interested in working (with your parents) to figure out new ways to (expand solutions/resist problems)?

Who else could we recruit as part of your supporting team?

How could they help with this? What could their contributions be?

What difference does it make for your next steps knowing that you were capable of resisting the ‘temptation’ this time?

What ideas does this success give you about what your next step could be?

How will you know that your next step was successful?

How else would you like to restrict the power that “compulsion to threat” (or “compulsion to lie”) may have in your family?

Tips to co-construct antidote (1) via unique outcomes (#46)

Aim or sub-task          Guiding questions
Explore unique outcomes Have you ever seen your child admitting a mistake? Has she ever able to overcome the impulse to lie and be honest instead? Has he ever decided to do something different other than lying to protect herself? Has she ever done something different to avoid getting to a place where lying seems unavoidable?

What did you do in that occasion, which helped her to accomplish this?

What did you do right after, when you noticed she was getting stronger to make such an honest admission?

How did your child respond when you did that?

If by exploring this episode in depth we could learn something about your capacity to foster further honesty in your child, would you be interested in doing that?

 

Internalize personal agency You mentioned that you did something different on that occasion, how did you do that?

How did you manage to abstain from attempting to demand honesty, and tried instead opening space so that he could show some honest regret? Was there anything different that you thought or felt that made you stronger, so that you could respond differently in that occasion?

Link personal agency with personal resources or skills Where did you learn that?

What does this skill or ability tell about yourself as a person?

Recruit a supporting team Who could help you to get stronger at admitting your own mistakes?

Who could help you to get stronger at avoid pressuring and support her in her struggle?

Who could help you to help?

If ‘temptation’ was taking control over you, what could your dad do to help you get stronger?

Who could help your dad help you?

Who else could help you?

Inquire about future effects of unique outcome If you had further opportunities to support your child’s desire to get stronger at admitting his own mistakes in the next few days/weeks, what do you think would happen to the problem?

Would its presence (or power to influence your relationship with your daughter) increase or decrease?

What difference would this make for you?

Tips to weaken problematic interactions (3) via externalizing a problem-strengthening IDEA (#46)

Aim or sub-task          Guiding questions
Explore with curiosity the nature, history, effects, and tactics of the (potentially problematic) idea What is it that worries you the most about this idea (e.g., “To avoid colluding with dishonesty, I must strongly reject any of its manifestations”)

Where did this idea (e.g,. “if I tell the truth they won’t love me anymore”) came from?

How does this idea (e.g., that you must strongly reject dishonesty) interfere with your life?

How has this idea affected your relationship with your child?

How do you think your child feels when he perceives you as under the influence of this idea?

Where is this idea more influential? How does this idea manage to convince you of its “truth”? When did you start “blindly obeying” this idea? If you convinced yourself that your child knows very well that (lying) is a bad thing, that you would never collude with dishonesty by accepting the behavior, but that he needs some help to get stronger against the impulse to lie… what do you thing would happen with this idea?

Explore unique outcomes Has there ever been a time when this idea was ‘weaker’ in your mind? Has there ever been a time when a different, more helpful idea came up to mind about what was behind her “cheating” in that particular way? What was it?

Alternatively to child: Has there ever been a time when you were sure that dad was rejecting your behavior and not yourself?

What happened on this occasion? What was different as a result if this different idea coming up?

What did you do different? What did s/he do? What did your partner say?

What was the first thing you noticed?

What have you done that has helped your child to respond differently? What else?

Explore future effects of unique outcome If your child believed that it is more important to you that s/he is really trying, and making small progress, what do you think would happen to the problem?

If your child believed that you condemn “the deed” but not “the doer”, what do you think would happen to the problem?

If could child was convinced about your good intentions, what would this mean to you?

Who would be the most surprised if s/he did get convinced?

Who would be the least surprised? Why?

What would be different in your life?

What would be different in your relationship with your child?

Tips to weaken problematic interactions (2) via externalization (#46)

Aim or sub-task         

Guiding questions

Name the problem: negotiate an experience-near formulation for the problem

 

How would you call this problem? (e.g., “lying”; “stealing”; “cheating”; “hiding”, “denying”, “evading”, “melting down”).

In a scale from 1 to 10,  how intense the problem (e.g., of “lying”) would be right now?

Explore the negative effects of the problem

 

Does the problem (e.g., ‘lying’) make you do things that you don’t like to do, or that you regret afterwards?

What does the problem make you do? What else?
Is it a ‘strong’, powerful problem?

What makes the problem bigger (or stronger)?

If we asked your mom, how can she tell when the problem went from 3 to 5 in the scale? To 7? To 9?

How does she do, or how does she respond when the ‘little devil’ made you say that? What else does the little devil make you to do, that you are not proud about doing afterwards? How does that make you feel?

Explore unique outcomes (for more details check up on “tips via unique outcome”).

 

Did you ever beat the problem (e.g., the ‘impulse to lie’; the ‘little devil’)?

Did the problem ever complied with you, instead of you complying with it?

When was (bearer of problem) able to lower the intensity (or frequency) of the problem?

When was (bearer of problem) able to do something with the problem? How did you notice? What was the first thing you noticed?

What did you/her do?

What did your mom notice? What did she do?

What happened on that occasion?

What did others say about this?

Explore unique outcomes in the future

 

If (unique outcome) happened again in the next few days/weeks, what would happen to the problem?

Do you think its influence in your life would increase or decrease?

What difference would this make for you?

What would be different in your life? What else?