We argue all the time. I’m constantly angry. He never talks. She always criticises. I’m always depressed/anxious/stressed. She/he never contributes. Our lives are always chaotic. We have never been happy and contented. I can’t ever trust him/her again.
These are problem statements which come up regularly in therapy. They are statements which many of us use to describe how overwhelming the problem has become.
But what if the problem isn’t always there as much as it initially appears to be? Perhaps there are exceptions when the problem isn’t happening and when you aren’t as depressed, critical, chaotic, unhappy, anxious, argumentative, untrustworthy? Think of an instance when this was so. What else is happening at these times when the problem recedes a bit?
More often than not you will be able to identify times when the problem is less influential in your life. Clients find this a hopeful consideration; this chink of light is a real find, worthy of further consideration.
What’s great about finding these exceptions or instances and examining the details around them, is that any emerging positives can be built upon. This can help you to take some steps towards your solution. Solution-focused therapists facilitate this search in various ways and help you to build on what may already be working for you.
So identifying exceptions and instances is one way of lessening the strong grip you feel the problem has on your life. If the problem has been at times less influential there is no reason why that can’t happen again.