Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT) is a type of therapy that is different from other approaches in that it focuses on solutions. One powerful tool in SFBT is the ‘Miracle Question’. The Miracle Question prompts clients to envision a future where their problems have miraculously disappeared by asking “If a miracle happened while you were sleeping and your problem was solved how would you know?”. “What would be different?”. The therapist then invites their client to discuss the desired outcome and explore the solutions.
Clients suspend all disbelief and imagine a life free from their constraints or current concerns. The use of imagery and the imagination via mental rehearsal encourages clients to engage the power of the mind to consider ways of how their life could be different without the current concerns.
The Miracle Question shifts the clients focus on specific changes and improvements in their lives and by being solution focused their attention shifts toward problem solving. Additionally, the Miracle Question can also reveal ideals, values and goals, and set goals that align with the ideal future, which may promote agency and shift a client’s problem focused narrative to a strengths based one. In the same way that clients are able to provide a clear picture of the presenting problem, the description of the preferred future must be just as detailed. This type of focus gives the client a clear picture of what they are moving toward.
Now take a moment and find a quiet and comfortable space where there are no interruptions. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing as you begin to center yourself.
“Now imagine that when you complete the day today, you go to bed and go to sleep, and as you sleep a miracle happens. The problems no longer exist and when you awake you are now living the life you always wanted. However, because you were asleep you did not now that the miracle was happening.
In writing, describe the day in as much detail as possible, detailing how you will know that the miracle occurred.
1. What does the day look like?
2. What are you feeling throughout the day?
3. How did you discover that the miracle has happened?
4. What different types of activities are you involved in?
5. What achievements are part of your day?
6. How has the environment and situation changed?
Reflection and Insight
Now, slowly read through your description of the day wherein the miracle has occurred and answer the following questions.
1. What realizations and insights have you made that really stand out for you?
2. Are there parts of the narrative that really resonate with your values and beliefs?
3. Did you notice any particular emotions that emerged and how did they inform you about what gives you fulfillment?
4. In imaging the ideal day, did you notice any areas where personal growth or development play a role?
5. Where there parts in the narrative that emerged where certain relationships where important and what where they?
Now, let’s take the next step by exploring how the insights gained from the Miracle Question can be translated into actionable steps, by being able to discover instances where the miracle is already present in our lives.
Finding Instances of the Miracle Already Occurring in our Lives.
1. Review your description of your ideal day and identify parts where the miracle has already occurred.
2. Explore the strengths and resources and ask yourself how where you able to do this?
3. What strengths and resources assisted you to initiate positive change?
4. How were you able to make this change so easy, when others commonly find change difficult?
Taking Actionable Steps with Scaling Questions
Scaling questions are used in SFT allow clients to break down the vision into smaller actionable steps that allow them to assess their progress, and each completed step becomes a supporting instance of the miracle.
Establish a Baseline.
Rate part of current situation related to the ideal day on a on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being the worst and 10 being the best. This baseline provides a reference point for the assessment.
Evaluate your Progress.
How much progress have you made since you wanted things to be? Where are you on the scale and what actions have contributed to positive movement on the scale?
What is the next actionable step?
Ask yourself, how will I know when I move 1-point up the scale. What will be happening differently that indicates you have moved 1-point up the scale?