Tips to weaken problematic interactions (3) via externalizing a problem-strengthening IDEA (#46)

Aim or sub-task          Guiding questions
Explore with curiosity the nature, history, effects, and tactics of the (potentially problematic) idea What is it that worries you the most about this idea (e.g., “To avoid colluding with dishonesty, I must strongly reject any of its manifestations”)

Where did this idea (e.g,. “if I tell the truth they won’t love me anymore”) came from?

How does this idea (e.g., that you must strongly reject dishonesty) interfere with your life?

How has this idea affected your relationship with your child?

How do you think your child feels when he perceives you as under the influence of this idea?

Where is this idea more influential? How does this idea manage to convince you of its “truth”? When did you start “blindly obeying” this idea? If you convinced yourself that your child knows very well that (lying) is a bad thing, that you would never collude with dishonesty by accepting the behavior, but that he needs some help to get stronger against the impulse to lie… what do you thing would happen with this idea?

Explore unique outcomes Has there ever been a time when this idea was ‘weaker’ in your mind? Has there ever been a time when a different, more helpful idea came up to mind about what was behind her “cheating” in that particular way? What was it?

Alternatively to child: Has there ever been a time when you were sure that dad was rejecting your behavior and not yourself?

What happened on this occasion? What was different as a result if this different idea coming up?

What did you do different? What did s/he do? What did your partner say?

What was the first thing you noticed?

What have you done that has helped your child to respond differently? What else?

Explore future effects of unique outcome If your child believed that it is more important to you that s/he is really trying, and making small progress, what do you think would happen to the problem?

If your child believed that you condemn “the deed” but not “the doer”, what do you think would happen to the problem?

If could child was convinced about your good intentions, what would this mean to you?

Who would be the most surprised if s/he did get convinced?

Who would be the least surprised? Why?

What would be different in your life?

What would be different in your relationship with your child?

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