I often use scales in my sessions with clients. Both as a way to identify current placement compared to one’s ‘preferred future’ and as a measure of progress. With the scales that I use, 10 is always the ‘destination’ as laid out by my client, it’s the place that we have usually just spent most of our session detailing, so that we are clear about where they are going and how they might know they are getting closer. The scale might represent the overall big picture, or it might be something smaller, like self-confidence, or school performance, or intimacy within a relationship. But whatever the scale represents, I always ask my clients to notice when things are better, even just for a little bit, or to notice what is keeping things from getting worse, how they are maintaining and coping and staying afloat when things still feel pretty low.
This last week I was working with a gay couple and after they each scaled where things were as compared to where they want them to be, I asked them to notice in the coming days, when things were a bit higher on that scale, even just a tiny bit. I told them that the first question I’m going to ask them when I saw them next would be “what’s been better?” and so it was very important that they begin noticing immediately when things were better for them. One of them then looked at me a little bit confused and asked me, “do you also want to know about when things are worse in the coming days, so we can talk about that?” I told him no, not at all, however, I said, “if things do dip down for a little while, DO notice the point in which they begin to go upwards again, notice what you do that contributes to that upswing, and what your partner does as well, and then notice how high that upswing goes and how long you’re able to keep it there and what you do that keeps it there for so long.” He excitedly agreed, and off they went to notice.
Life can sometimes be very much like a pendulum, swinging back and forth between as good as it gets and the opposite. If you have the ability to take control of those swings, even just a little bit, why not choose to focus on how you contribute to the upswings and the high points? Learn from yourself and your loved ones what it is that contributes to that upswing, so that you can do those things more often.
swinging up, noticing, staying up, noticing, and so on…
This is kinda fun, huh?
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