By Alisha Irby, MS, Primary Therapist, Men’s Co-Occurring Disorders Program at The Ranch
Imagine that one night while you were asleep there was a miracle, and the problem that brought you here is solved. However, because you are asleep, you don’t know that the miracle has happened. When you wake up in the morning, what will be different that will tell you the miracle has taken place? – Steve de Shazer
And so begins the “miracle question.” It is one of the tools I use as a therapist to help clients consider an alternative reality.
The question is a key element in solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), which was founded by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg. It’s a goal-oriented, short-term therapy that focuses on a client’s current life and future rather than dwelling on past problems.
In this model of therapy, therapists extend the invitation to clients to focus on more of what does work in life. Hence, the miracle question is a way for them to explore what life may be like without their current burdens and concerns.