This book offers 15 simple and effective MiniMax interventions for maximum impact in helping clients to change. Manfred Prior, an experienced therapist and presenter, shares what he has learned, using practical language, and focusing on the finer points of linguistic communication.
MiniMax intervention #1 involves the phrase -œIn the past,...- Since clients often talk about what has happened to them in the past, concerning their problems, a helpful phrase to change thinking could be, -œIn the past (or until now) you had suffered from...had problems vis-a-vis (fill in appropriately),- etc. This simple reorientation in time places the client's difficulties firmly in the past.
MiniMax intervention #3 involves the phrase -œBut instead,...?- The author states, -œWhen people are asked about their therapeutic goals, they usually know very well what they do not want and where they do not want to go.- (p.17) Here's a sample dialogue: Patient: -œLast week we did not argue nearly as much...- Therapist: -œBut instead, you did what? How did you treat each other?- (p. 18) In this instance, the therapist asks the patient what he or she did differently from the old behavior.
I especially liked MiniMax intervention #7 and the example (p. 39) of someone struggling with weight control: -œYou are suffering from being overweight.- (This would be a direct acknowledgement.) As an intervention, the therapist might say, -œYou have not yet found your weight goal. You have not yet found sufficient ways to lose weight and reach your target weight.- Those two simple words, -œnot yet,- empowers the client to find appropriate ways to change, e.g., -œweaknesses have not yet become strengths.-
In intervention #8 on constructive questions, Prior uses the three words, -œwhen,- -œwhat,- and -œhow.- For instance, -œWhat abilities do you have that could help you in this difficult situation?- and -œHow have you been able to manage in the past?- Intervention #10 is a variant of the Miracle Question and the client is asked, -œLet's assume you were to...- This question is posed so that the client can think about how life would be different if he or she acted differently, i.e., acted as if the concern or problem had disappeared. The client can then devise realistic solutions.
The last MiniMax intervention (#15) is the RR rule, which simply states that in interactions with others (usually in couples therapy) arguments and conflicts can be resolved by changing a -œrebuke- into a -œrequest.- Couples' conflicts are generally about differing expectations. Therefore, clients are advised: Do not argue about these matters. Instead, talk openly and state your request for a different behavior. The example offered is a wife who directly says to her husband, who leaves all the housework to her, -œI wish that in the future you'd do some of the work around the house.- And, -œIf you forget any of my requests -- which can easily happen -- then simply make it up to me by doing something thoughtful.-
At the end of each chapter a little bear (who speaks like an Aussie!) offers his comments in a delightfully charming way.
This book is well suited for psychotherapists, counselors, supervisors, coaches, and organizational consultants, who will certainly get their money's worth out of this wonderfully pragmatic book.
to read this review on page 20 in The Milton H. Erickson Newsletter, Vol.37, No.3.