There are some rules though… for the coaches
2. The statement has to be explained in a way one can operate or work with it and check it off on a To-Do list
If the wish is for the management to be competent, everybody will agree, but what does competency look like? With filling in the details, the discussion will start! You thus need to know exactly what this person understands by being competent. It could be a shooting game as well, so let them make it clear what exactly they mean; what makes the management competent or the husband lovable?
You could ask questions like:
“How would you know the management was competent?” (actions)
“If the management was competent, what would change? (situation)
“How would you notice your husband loves you?” (actions)
“What would change if your husband loves you?” (situation)
Your goal is to know what it would mean to … (fill in the satisfying result) in ‘positive actions’ that would change THE SITUATION (not the person).
3. No wish is too big! So, no objections… but you may test reality or real needs by fantasizing with them…
Don’t judge wishes! Mostly, people need to imagine limitless to free themselves from their own judgment, irrelevant details or early conditioning. If wishes are not fit by being inappropriate or exceeding the limits of reality, people run into it by themselves… (There is far more to it than met by the eye, remember.) If you resist, you’ll get resistance back.
I’ll give an amusing example from my practice with an adolescent.
– “If I won the lottery, I would quit school”
– “Ok. And what would you do then?”
– “I would go shopping”
– “Ok. A whole day?”
– “So, you would go shopping every day?”
– “Yes. I like shopping”
– “Yes, seems nice, all those new things”
– “Yes, I like having new things”
– “Yes, I do too. So where would you build the museum?”
– “Yes, to stock all those new beautiful things…”
– “Hm. But I wouldn’t buy all day.”
– “Oh ok. So why would you go shopping then?”
– “To hang out with my friends”
– “Ah, yes. But, hm, won’t they be in school then….?”
4. Look for the value behind the wish and work with that
This is a sequel of the previous one. Of course, there is more to it and the adolescent didn’t like school because he had difficulties with learning. And that is exactly what we had to help him with.
I give you another example from practice with a gentleman who didn’t know what to wish for. I told him to talk to himself for a week in a language he has some affinity with but wasn’t raised in. After a week, he came back to me and stated: “I’ll never again talk with my Frenchman!” I wondered why. He answered: “Because, if he was in control, I would eat French fries and go to the hookers every day!” I was amused and confirmed: “So you need some more enjoyment in your life. Tell me about the hookers…” He looked to me with disgust, not understanding that I didn’t feel as ashamed as he. I encouraged him and he finally started to describe a complex, but beautiful ritual with an exchange of caresses, warmth, and security. The man was in dire need of connection and intimacy. Thus, we had to operationalize that in a healthy way…
I would like to warn though, this is a ‘why’ and we’ll never know with certainty. It would be wiser to accept there is a reason beyond judgment and to bypass it by understanding that every wish is a means to an end and has an experience behind it that is valued or needed. (*)
5. If people don’t know what to wish for, you could lend a hand by these…
1. As mentioned above, a fine trick is talking to yourself in a language you weren’t raised in. Since a lot of what our parents and environment were saying is internalized, we are not even conscious of all the defenses and judgments that are triggered by our native language. Using another language we have some affinity with, makes it easier to tap into our authentic being and find what we really wish for.
2. Another possibility is to visit the one-eyed green monster at one’s shoulder. With that I mean one’s envy or jealousy. Don’t judge it! It actually is a very useful fury monster, so you may start to take care of it by listening and cuddling it once in a while. It shows you what you really wish for within your reach: by inherent possibilities or within healthy striving. (*)
3. And a beautiful one as last: investigate your crushes or “being in love”. If you are suddenly head over heels, it means you project something onto the other you would like to have, to be or to enjoy… as a secret wish.
Hence, we want to know the desired results:
“How would you notice the magic stick worked?” (actions)
“What would have changed?” (situation)