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Circular Questions

Nobody can read the thoughts in the mind of another and study the feelings in their heart. Everything which we believe we know about others is our interpretation. It is nourished from that which we perceive and the significance which we attach to the perceptions. If a client is now asked what significance, in his opinion, others will give to his behaviour (“What do you think your colleague would tell me about your appearance in the meeting!”), then this might open for him the possibility to recognise that others ‘read’ him differently than he, himself does. (“Oh well, he would probably say that I wish to assert myself pretty ruthlessly because of my good relationship to the boss.”). Firstly, this opens him up to the possibility of another reflection (“Seen in that light I can imagine that he feels he has his back to the wall and that is why he is lashing out.”), and secondly, to an altered personal responsibility (“Then I am actually not the person he is addressing in his criticisms, but I have contributed a lot to the fact that he is behaving like this.”). Circular questioning techniques – there are many variants of these – are, therefore, well suited to stimulate several guiding processes of the psyche to new decisions.

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