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The Miracle Question in Solution-Focused Family Therapy

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In Solution-Focused Family Therapy, the so-called "miracle question" is a popular and often-recommended intervention. Lloyd and Dallos (2008) found that the miracle question was the most often cited "unhelpful event." What do you make of this feedback? Do you think it is specific to the population sampled (i.e., mothers of a child with a severe intellectual disability) or do you think this reaction would occur in other clients as well? If you plan to employ Solution-Focused Family/Couple Therapy in the future, would you ask the "miracle question" in your intake sessions? Why or why not?

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1. What do you make of this feedback?
Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT) (DeShazer & Berg, 1977) offers the advantages of being a brief, strength-based therapy. The therapy was designed to help clients arrive at solutions to their problems in a few sessions. Solutions are not aimed at the problem, but something to work on for the future. According to deShazer & Berg, 1977), the miracle question was developed to shift the conversation into the future when the client brings problems to the therapeutic session.

Lloyd and Dallos (2008) assert that the approach is controversial because it is "highly sensitive" and people don't always understand its future-oriented focus. However, deShazer and Berg (1977) insist that the miracle question is very useful as it 'suggests a supportive therapeutic relationship by acknowledging clients' aspirations and encouraging them to consider possibilities for the future (p. 8). The feedback that the client gets from reflecting on new possibilities is constructive and encouraging. Basically, the feedback the client receives regarding the miracle question is to imagine if things are not like the presents—that the situation could be better. The therapist is asking clients to visualize their lives as different from a ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains the miracle question within the therapeutic process of solution-focus therapy.

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Personal Reflection

Reflect on your process of assessing the family via interviewing, systemic assessing, and applying of theory to the family.

Address an area you view as a strength in your skills of interviewing and analysis.

Assess where you may encounter issues (countertransference) and how you might respond to these issues, including any legal or ethical dilemmas that might arise because of them.

Show self-awareness, depth, and substance in your assessment of these areas of consideration.

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