Section 2. Getting Specific

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Section 2. Getting Specific. (1:154:42). Typical of a solution oriented approach, Frank begins this early segment by asking Kim what she would like to get value out of our session. Note that she does not answer the question, but focuses instead on her unhappiness. Also note that Kim is rambling on with a large amount of general complaints very quickly. From a communications perspective, she is making statements that are loosely formed with few specific referents. Frank quickly steps in to redirect the conversation toward specific information and numbers, such as names and ages of other family members. While this is standard procedure in any therapeutic assessment, it also recalibrates the tone of the interview so that the underlying structure emerges more clearly and thus potential solutions can emerge.

Clients need to tell their story and have their pain acknowledged by therapist empathy. The problem in this process is that it reifies or cements the reality of the client’s repeated discourse. The appropriate therapist response is to maintain empathy while gathering as much specific information as the client will permit. Notice in this instance that the therapist says that we are passing over too much material of significance here (validating her reality) and wanting to get down to the specifics (will not be mislead by generalities). Indirectly, Frank is setting the frame that this will be a conversation of accountability in specifics, further engaging Kim in an invitation to authenticity in collaboration. This is a small, but by no means insignificant, shift toward the describable and achievable.

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