Tips to co-construct antidote (3) via thickening preferences (#27)

Aim or sub-task         

Guiding questions

Identify a relational preference (preferred relational understanding such as preferred emotions, capacities, behaviours, attitudes, intentions, identities, ways of relating).

You said your child had ‘low self-esteem’; how much do you think she understand why this is a ‘bad’ thing for you? Is it that you have to trust in yourself if you want to succeed? Is it that you value personal accomplishments? Something else?

 (To ‘bearer’ of problem) what is it that you value about ‘clamming up? does it help you to feel safe? Is it like a shield? Shield to what?

If there were other forms to protect yourself, or make some changes so that protection wasn’t needed as much, would you be interested in figuring them out?

When would you say the ‘clamming up’ turns into a “bad thing” for you, because makes you do things that go against your best interest?

Why would you say this does against your best interest?


Some parents sometimes want to help their children to learn to take risks and trust themselves… is that important to you? Why?

Did you ever noticed something that would get close to such ability/learning?


Characterize the preference

How would you call this “good” thing you seem to be after? (e.g., “(supporting) self-confidence”; “trusting others for help”; “being authentic”; “courage to take risks”).

Does your child know that you are interested in promoting her ability to nurture…. (e.g., “self-efficacy”)?

When have you seen her exercising “self-confidence” to some degree?

How would you know that she is getting more confident?

Have you met people who are very confident but still cautious, perhaps admirable for that?

Who is better at home at trusting oneself and others for support? Second best? Third?


Bring forth powerful inspirations (e.g., utility, goodness, beauty, or other “good reasons”).

Would you say there’s something ‘ugly’ about “isolating”? if so, can you tell me more about that?

Why would you say connecting and trusting others for support is desirable? Sometimes even admirable?

What has life taught you about the importance of “trusting others/oneself”?

Why is it good?

Why is it useful?

Where did you learn that from?

What would happen immediately in your relationship with your child if they believed you think it is good but not easy to trust people who love you?

What would happen after a year? After 10 years?


Track ongoing changes in relation to preference

Who has gotten better at (supporting) self-confidence at home?

Who has noticed some difference in your child’s “self-esteem” in the last year? In the last month? How have you noticed that?


How long are these ‘clamming up” episodes these last few days?

From 1 to 10, how intense are they now in your head/heart? How frequent?

What does ‘self-confidence’ do to “clamming up”?

What does ‘empathy & support’ do to “self-deprecation”?

(When unhelpful interaction is being enacted in session: does questioning/demanding/pressure help you? What else helps you?)


Plan, do, and consolidate


What else are you going to do to Support/exercise self-confidence?

Do you have a plan?

How would you practice your “self-confidence muscles”?

Who may have some other ideas?

What do these changes tell about what the relationship between you is becoming?

What are you becoming into?

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