How do you help someone get better? And not spend long periods of time at it? Charles Allen Kollar's "Solution-Focused Pastoral Counseling" provides an effective approach that is helpful not just to pastors, but interested lay people who desire to see their friends get back on track.
As the title states, this counseling is solution-focused and thus "shifts the emphasis from the problem to the strengths, vision, and practical solutions that lie within the individual." Because God is already at work in the person seeking help, the counselor's role is to help the counselee discover present and future ways of getting back on track--by asking questions that focus on solutions, exceptions, and strengths.
Such questions include:
- "If we had a magic wand that eliminated your problem immediately, what would be different in your life?"
- "What will be the very first sign that things are starting to get on the right track?"
- "What sign would tell you that things are getting better?"
- "When things are getting better, what will others notice?"
- "What's different about the times when ___ (you were getting along, cooperating, etc.)?"
- "How did you get yourself to do that?"
- "What are you doing when he/she isn't ___ (complaining, pouting, etc.)?"
- "What difference does it make when ___ (things go well)?"
- "How have you managed to cope when things have been so bad?"
- "What's different about the time when the problem is less intense/frequent/shorter in duration?"
- "How have you kept things from getting worse?"
- "What would it take to make that happen more often?"
- "How did you come up with that idea?"