Tips to co-construct antidote (3) via thickening preferences (#28)

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, values).

You said your child was very upset, and I thought you wanted to say that wasn’t right for you, is that a fair statement?

According to you, the bad thing about it is…. getting upset?… harming others?… not being able to express ones’ own needs in acceptable ways?… not being assertive enough? All/none of the above?

(To ‘bearer’ of problem) what is it that you value about being upset/protesting? Does it give you strength? Does it help you express something you are unable to express with words sometimes?

Does it help you to express something you find unfair?

Does the ‘upset’ make you do things you do not feel proud of doing?

When would you say the ‘upset’ helps you, and when does it turn into a “bad thing”, because makes you do things you do not feel proud of doing?


Some parents sometimes want to help their children to learn to express their wishes in ways that are neither harmful for themselves nor harmful to others… is that important to you? Some parents want to help their children to cope better with frustration…or with obstacles and stressful situations…is that important to you?

Are you familiar with this idea of “frustration tolerance” your parents/the psychologist referred to? Why could this be a good ability to develop in life?

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


Characterize the preference

How would you call this? (“frustration tolerance”; “anger management”; “respecting others”; “patience”; “assertiveness”;  “self-care”…).

Does your child know that you are interested in promoting her…. (e.g., “frustration tolerance”)?

When have you seen them exercising… (frustration tolerance)?

How would you know that they are getting more tolerant (or stronger at…..)?

Have you met people who are skillful in managing frustration/anger?

Who is better at home at managing frustration? Second best? Third?


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

Would you say there’s something ‘ugly’ about “poor anger management”? If so, can you tell me more about that?

Why would you say anger management is somewhat desirable? Admirable perhaps?

Why is it useful?

What has life taught you about the importance of “coping” with obstacles/stressful situations?

Where did you learn that from?

What would happen immediately in your relationship with your child if they decided appreciating and welcoming your willingness for her to gain more autonomy?

What would happen after a year? After 10 years?


Track ongoing changes in relation to preference

Who has gotten better at (supporting) “anger management” at home?

Who has noticed some difference in your child’s ways of tolerating frustration (or being “patient”) in the last year? In the last month? How have you noticed that?


How frequent are these ‘blowing up’ episodes now compared to (last year…)?  How long?

From 1 to 10, how intense are these episodes now?

What does ‘patience’ do to ‘frustration’?

(When unhelpful interaction is being enacted in session: does nagging help you? What else helps you?)


Plan, do, and consolidate


What else are you going to do to support/exercise constructive anger management?

Do you have a plan?

How would you practice your “patience 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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