The Miracle Question

The Miracle Question

View Full Essay The Miracle Question

Many clients come to counseling looking for a miracle.
Solution Focused Therapy.

Solution Focused Therapy emerged in the 1980's as an branch of the systems therapies. A married couple from Milwaukee, Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg are credited with the name and basic practice of SFT. The theory focuses not on the past, but on what the client wants to achieve today. By making conscious all the ways the client is creating their ideal future and encouraging forward progress, clinicians point clients toward their goals rather than the problems that drove them to counseling.

The Miracle Question fits perfectly with this model. Imagining an ideal future and connecting it to the present immediately actualizes the work. Clients are challenged to look past their obstacles and hopelessness and focus on the possibilities.

1. When to use the Miracle Question?

The Miracle Question is a goal setting question that is useful when a client simply does not know what a preferred future would look like. It can be used with individuals to set the course for counselling, with couples, to clarify what each person needs from each other and with families, who too often see one person as the culprit. By using the Miracle Question and asking each person what a better life would look like, the system sees perhaps for the first time, what others need from each other.

2. What does it look like?

"Suppose tonight, while you slept, a miracle occurred. When you awake tomorrow, what would be some of the things you would notice that would tell you life had suddenly gotten better?"

The counselor stays with the question even if the client describes an "impossible" solution, such as a deceased person being alive, and acknowledges that wish and then asks "how would that make a difference in your life?"   Then as the client describes that he/she might feel as if they have their companion back, again, the counselor asks "how would that make a difference?"...