Tips to weaken problematic interactions (2) via externalization (#46)

Aim or sub-task         

Guiding questions

Name the problem: negotiate an experience-near formulation for the problem


How would you call this problem? (e.g., “lying”; “stealing”; “cheating”; “hiding”, “denying”, “evading”, “melting down”).

In a scale from 1 to 10,  how intense the problem (e.g., of “lying”) would be right now?

Explore the negative effects of the problem


Does the problem (e.g., ‘lying’) make you do things that you don’t like to do, or that you regret afterwards?

What does the problem make you do? What else?
Is it a ‘strong’, powerful problem?

What makes the problem bigger (or stronger)?

If we asked your mom, how can she tell when the problem went from 3 to 5 in the scale? To 7? To 9?

How does she do, or how does she respond when the ‘little devil’ made you say that? What else does the little devil make you to do, that you are not proud about doing afterwards? How does that make you feel?

Explore unique outcomes (for more details check up on “tips via unique outcome”).


Did you ever beat the problem (e.g., the ‘impulse to lie’; the ‘little devil’)?

Did the problem ever complied with you, instead of you complying with it?

When was (bearer of problem) able to lower the intensity (or frequency) of the problem?

When was (bearer of problem) able to do something with the problem? How did you notice? What was the first thing you noticed?

What did you/her do?

What did your mom notice? What did she do?

What happened on that occasion?

What did others say about this?

Explore unique outcomes in the future


If (unique outcome) happened again in the next few days/weeks, what would happen to the problem?

Do you think its influence in your life would increase or decrease?

What difference would this make for you?

What would be different in your life? What else?

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