Priorities

The following is a way to help your client clarify their priorities, and focus their commitments to working on their issues.

Ask your client if they’re up for a little experiment that will not take too long. Ask them to imagine that it is one year (or an interval of your choice) in the future, and that you would like to do your session on that day, only now. The client pretends to be seeing you for help with challenges that could be occurring a year from now. 

You can improvise this to emphasize themes that your client can benefit from. A likely benefit is that the client will have a dramatic shift in their perception of what the real priorities are. Some things will become nuisances that are going to fade into the past without a lot of worry, while others that were neglected become of supreme importance. If the client is working with you on a positive future, you can emphasize their skilled use of resources over the past imaginary year. But you can also help them realize that they can benefit from setting much more profound goals. If they paint a dark picture, you can help them identify priorities. Then they can realize that they have “gained” a year and start working on them a year ago, before your imaginary present.