asking the right questions in therapy

Uncover Your True Motivation with the Right Questions

Why Asking the Right Questions Matter

Asking effective questions essential for anyone looking to create meaningful change in their life or the lives of others. Asking the right questions are an essential element of the motivational interviewing (MI) approach and are fundamental to the practice’s ability to help people struggling with life’s challenges and stuck in unhelpful cycles.

Asking the right questions – and listening properly to the answers and following through with further questions and discussion, can help clients transcend obstacles in their lives and better motivate themselves to make meaningful changes. Questions such as ‘What would you like to do differently?’ or ‘What have you tried that has worked, and what hasn’t?’ can open up constructive dialogue between a client and their therapist. Such conversations can build a deep connection and help people to define their goals more clearly as well as remind them of their successes and help them to plan for their future.

Learning to ask the right questions

Motivational interviewing can help to explore our other-than-conscious reasons for unwanted behaviours – where the client is feeling ‘stuck’ and not knowing where to start.  Asking meaningful questions can create new perspectives and give the client a ‘kick start’ in self-realising answers leading to a change towards more positive behaviours. From my experience, asking the right self-exploring questions whilst in hypnosis often leads to clients ‘a-ha!’ moments.

By the therapist having the right mindset and approach – motivational interviewing is arguably a multi-levelled approach which, at the higher levels, have protocols and model-based structures (and certifications) in its own right. If, rightly, you’re sceptical of certifications – no matter what the level you’re at (and some people do it quite expertly, naturally, with little or no training, BTW) – by asking the right questions, a client can begin to reveal subconscious, embedded limiting beliefs that may be preventing them from achieving their goals.

Expertly exploring these underlying beliefs (especially in hypnosis) can help to unlock blocks and provide deep insights into a client’s strengths and inner resources that, at a deep and powerful level, they either remind themselves of or ‘superpowers’ they didn’t even previously didn’t even know they had!

Motivational interviewing by asking the right powerful questions at the right time, actively listening to the answers (and knowing what to ask next!) enables therapists and other experts to identify and set the right objectives and goals that can be tested out to maximise clients succeeding in wanting whatever it is they want to achieve.

A therapist who facilitates a client to proactively learn more about themselves and seek out and discover their own solutions, we can take the lead in co-creating their more positive future by making powerful and meaningful changes in their lives.

Some examples of the type of questions I might ask a ‘stuck’ client:

  1. What’s stopping you?
  2. How do you know you can’t? What’s the evidence?
  3. What do other people say to you? Who are they? (look at their own lives). Does it matter?
  4. What if you succeeded? What then? How does the thought of success make you feel? (Is this a good or a bad thing?)
  5. What does success look like to you?

How hypnosis helps the client with motivational interviewing

Discovering the “why” and intention is essential to gaining self-motivation and making positive changes.

From the first contact, many clients are stuck in a rut and don’t know where to begin due to subconscious blocking, including falsely-held limiting beliefs and self-sabotage, for example.

Hypnosis combined with an expert motivational interviewing approach and asking the right questions is a powerful tool for getting to the core of what really matters, and can help a client better understand the reasons behind their behaviour. Motivation and inspiration is promoted (what I have termed the “whole mind-body-spirit synergy trilogy”) and merges into an integral part of the whole of their being where a client can believe, ‘feel it in their bones’ and core of being, achieve.

By connecting and becoming ‘at one’ with your goals, a client is very likely to succeed in, well…anything they want to achieve.

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About Oliver Grantham

Founder and Practice Manager of the online virtual clinic. With a background in professional teaching and training management and advanced hypnotherapy and life coaching, I lead the team members of clinical practitioners and associate members that contribute to the resources and live therapy, counselling and life coaching services that that are provided in this virtual private clinic. Quals: LL.B (Hons), (Solicitors), PGCE, D.Hyp (NCH)