We have all heard of miracle stories. Hollywood loves miracle stories as do most of us. Woven into miracles are elements of faith, hope, and mystery. Miracles are magical.
Sometimes when we are feeling stuck, experiencing hardship or even crisis, we may wish for a miracle to happen. This is understandable as during times of distress, we can, occasionally feel disempowered and disconnected from our sense of personal agency. Sometimes we may default to coping responses that have not always been helpful and healthy. Occasionally, it seems that we end up doing more of the same with the expectation that something different will happen. Rather than doing something different, we may sit back and wish for a miracle to happen.
In his inspirational book, Real Magic, Wayne Dwyer talks about everyday miracles and how we have the personal power to create miracles in our daily lives. In my counselling work, I have come to see the value and real magic of the Miracle Question. The Miracle Question is a Solution-Focused Therapy technique and on a recent Psychology Today blog post it was named as one of the top ten coolest therapy interventions.
The Miracle Question(s) goes something like this:
“Suppose (imagine) a miracle happens overnight when you go to sleep and all the problems that brought you to counselling are gone. They just disappeared. However, as the miracle occurred when you are asleep, you do not know that it happened. As you awake the next morning and get out of bed, what will be some things you will notice that are different? What will be some clues that tell you that a miracle happened and your problems have disappeared? What else will you notice that is different? How would your family members, friends, co-workers, neighbours tell that a miracle happened? What would the people around you be doing or saying differently?”
What I like about the Miracle Question is that it seems to open up the conversation, moving it away from problem-saturated talk, toward themes of change, exceptions, difference, possibilities and hope. It invites clients to be active rather than passive. It mobilizes personal agency that was stuck by activating imagination, wonder and creativity. I see the magic of the Miracle Question when clients begin to notice when pieces, even tiny pieces, of the miracle are already happening in their everyday lives. Exploring with clients how this happens and what they are doing differently during these exceptional times, often shines a light on solutions, strengths, resources that have always been present but not noticed or forgotten. This can be very empowering for clients.
I invite you to ask yourself the miracle question today.
By Greg Babcock, MSW, RSW, Social Worker
Berg, I, Peter De Jong (2007), 3RD Edition, Interviewing for Solutions. Cengage Learner. Dwyer,
Wayne (1992) Real Magic: Creating Miracles in Everyday Life. HarperCollins.
Psychology Today January 17, 2010.