The Miracle Question - Paperback Edition

Answer It and Change Your Life

By: Linda Metcalf


Size: 234mm x 156mm

Pages : 160

ISBN : 9781845900403

Format: Paperback

Published: November 2006

Have you ever considered how a miracle would change your life? Would it enable you to get a better job, fix your marriage, stop drinking, keep your teenager home at night, make peace with your parents, silence your boss, bring back your deceased relative, or help you financially?

In this ground-breaking volume, Dr. Linda Metcalf challenges readers to ask themselves:

‘Suppose tonight while you sleep, a miracle happens. When you awake tomorrow morning, what will you see yourself doing, thinking, or believing about yourself that will confirm that a miracle has taken place in your life?’

Specifically addressing substance abuse, parenting problems, marital stress, and trauma fallout, The Miracle Question is a step-by-step approach for people who feel ‘stuck’ and overwhelmed by their lives. It offers methods for tapping into sources and resources they already have called ‘exceptions’. ‘Exceptions’ are the ‘good’ they’ve learned from past experiences but have perhaps forgotten about, or situations that went well for them in the past, but over time got pushed aside. By understanding that their problems have eroded their confidence, readers can discover that their abilities have simply been in limbo, ready to use as solutions.

Picture for author Linda Metcalf

Linda Metcalf

Linda Metcalf, PhD is a former teacher, school counselor and coordinator for safe and drug free schools in Mansfield ISD, Texas, USA. She consults with schools throughout the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK. Linda Metcalf PhD is Director and Professor of the Graduate Counseling Program at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, TX. She can be reached at for training invitations.


  1. If, while you slept tonight, a miracle happened, how would your life be different? How would you know that a miracle had happened? Readers familiar with solution focused therapy will recognise these questions. For others: do not be put off by the term “miracle”. This book invites you to identify a personal miracle - and, more importantly, what that miracle would do for us if it happened. Once we identify our miracle, and subsequent miracle goals, we must look for signs of it happening. We are asked to see “exceptions” to our current problem situation: occasions when the problem does not arise. Readers are then guided in writing an action plan for change and ensuring that successes, no matter how small, are recognised. Metcalfe uses examples from her case work, highlighting ways in which this approach can be used. 1 enjoyed this book. The author has a refreshing angle, one that you can't help but feet motivated by! The power to change is in readers' hands, as are the expertise and resources to best make a change. If need to buy a work -˜Secret Santa' gift, this is a friendly introduction to a key element of solution focused therapy. If you are looking for a stocking filler for a friend, this could inspire new year changes!
  2. The recent Crown House publication The Miracle Question: Answer It and Change Your Life aims to demonstrate that miracles aren't required for people to make profound changes in their lives. Although the concept of the miracle question can be found in a range of therapeutic approaches and spiritual teachings, it was formalised and dubbed “The Miracle Question” by the pioneers of “SolutionFocussed” therapy. It can be thought of as a “what if?” therapeutic approach combined with a forward-looking resource building and enhancement and changing unhelpful perspectives into positive ones.

    Will answering the Question really change your life as the title promises? As this is marketed as a self-help book, it could provide a helpful method for readers to start identifying the changes they can make in their lives now. “The Miracle Question” starts with an undertaking to give readers “hope and direction no matter what the issue or situation. ” The book, says the author, “will give you a chance to begin achieving what you want and provide new options for living your life. “

    The Miracle Question, or more accurately, the Miracle Question Process drives: the reader to examine which aspects of life would change should a miracle occur. The first question the author poses is this: “Suppose tonight while you sleep, a miracle happens. When you awake tomorrow morning, what will you see yourself doing, thinking, or believing about yourself that will tell you a miracle has happened in your life?” To those who have used this kind of solution or future focussed questioning, the approach will seem familiar. But the author offers a set of useful tools to elaborate and break down the seemingly straightforward answers to this question.

    The Miracle Question is divided into ten chapters, each expanding on the main question above. The first chapters describe various ways to break down the answers to The Question. This process, says the author, shows how “the goals go from impossible to possible.” The final chapters focus on the use of The Miracle Question in relationships (“Give your marriage a miracle”), children and family life (“Parenting your small miracle”), drinking, drugs, and weight disorders (“Take over harmful habits”) and on moving on after painful experiences (“Rewrite your life after trauma.”)

    So what are principles behind the Miracle Question? The author guides readers through the process of discovering what the answer to the Miracle Question will do for them. After answering the Miracle Question, the reader examines the actions contained in the answer and translates them into “miracle goals.” Those “miracle goals” are then transformed into more achievable goals which are more specific, realistic and action oriented. If readers have difficulty getting this far, they are advised to start to note times when things are better in their daily lives. These times, the author labels as “exceptions” and it is these “exceptions” that people can use as their tools for personal growth. In a therapeutic setting, the therapist and patient/client go on to draw up an action plan developed from examining the goals and -˜*exceptions.'

    The author has taken care to provide examples or guidelines for those who have difficulty responding to the questions as presented. Sections such as *-˜by the way-¦ It's okay to struggle the Question” and “The client who couldn't answer the Miracle Question” lead readers to an exercise entitled “An alternative Miracle Question exercise.” The focus of these and nearly all the exercises and techniques described in this book is to discover what would change in a person's life if their miracle happened, and to then work toward making those changes.

    The author has brought together aspects of different therapeutic techniques, favouring those which are forwardlooking and solution-oriented rather than analytical or regressive. The past, she says, is discussed briefly “only as a way to understand the person's abilities and resiliencies.” This type of solution focus relies on looking more at times when things worked well, rather than concentrating on what causes problems. “It is easier to describe what went wrong with our day than what went right,” she writes.

    The author continually promotes looking at the positive in a person's life, and this can take many forms. For example it can be looking at what worked for that person previously or it can be using personal resources in a new way. She draws heavily on the technique of “reframing” and changing labels. As an illustration, the chapter entitled “take over harmful habits” contains an example of a patient with anorexia. The author writes that she “doesn't use the word anorexia to refer to the person as having an eating disorder, as the connotation of -˜disorder' means the person needs to be repaired. 1 want the person to feel in control, able to repair herself.” She prefers the word “habit,” which implies something which can be repaired.

    With marriages, one technique the author describes is to imagine the couple's story as a book, living in chapter one. She asks them to delete sections that don't work, choose how they want the story to be, and together, to write and live a new chapter two. In a nod to timeline therapy, she asks the couple when they look back at that chapter 50 years from now, what would they see?

    The author acknowledges the work of Steve deShazer for first coining The Miracle Question and Insoo Kim Berg of “solution-focussed” therapy. But other practitioners basing their therapies on other models will recognise the techniques. There is a notable use of NLP-style linguistic patterns, for example in the question: “What will you do someday soon when the habit is no longer interfering with your health and others in your life?” As well, the emphasis is always on what resources that people have already, highlighting ways they have successfully coped with challenges in other areas of their lives and applying them to their problem situation.

    The book is well structured and stocked with relevant case studies, mostly clients of the author, with some borrowed from her previous publication. There are several practical exercises in each chapter which build upon the information provided both by the author and by the reader. The style is familiar and the explanations are measured and methodical. The book begins in a somewhat hyperactively optimistic tone which becomes more measured as the book progresses. Should the reader find that it's a bit sweet on top, envisage blowing off the top layer of icing sugar to reveal an interesting work. “The Miracle Question” is a good read and a useful companion for the general public and therapists alike.
  3. The Solution Focused approach, which underpins this book advocates the positive resolution of problems. It provides creative and highly effective techniques, which allow us to break negative thinking patterns and encourage us to focus on the future.

    Central to the book, is the belief that individuals already hold the “pass key' to their own problems ” they just don't realise it!

    Solution focused techniques, like those outlined in The Miracle Question, can help to unlock even the most complex of dilemmas, simply by facilitating the individual's ability to access their own inner resources and thus completely shift their long held view of a particular situation, person or problem.

    Easy to read, practical and engaging, The Miracle Question presents us with challenging questions for clients and techniques with which to break out of negative and limiting ways of seeing the world and themselves. It restores power back to the individual and invites us to explore and rely on ourselves.

    As therapists, we found the book to be both stimulating and interesting, particularly with regard to specific questioning techniques, which encourage personal responsibility in clients and which serve as catalysts for change.
  4. Suppose tonight, while you slept, a miracle happened ...

    When you awoke the following morning _ you found that all your problems were magically resolved.

    What would your life look like? What would you be doing, thinking or feeling? How exactly would you know that a miracle had occurred?

    These are some of the questions posed in The Miracle Question written by Linda Metcalf and published by Crown House Publishing, which advocates a 'solution focused approach' to our problems _ but what does this actually mean and how can it help us?

    We often feel so overwhelmed by our problems that we can't see the wood for the trees. We may know we are not happy and that our lives are not the way we would like them to be _ but we lose sight of what we really want.

    We can so easily get caught up the tangled mess of a situation or even in the shadow of past situations, that we find it impossible to envisage a solution to our problems. When this happens, we remain 'stuck', unable to find a way forward.

    Solution focused approaches to problem solving, such as The Miracle Question provide us with creative and highly effective techniques that allow us to break this negative pattern of thinking. They encourage us to focus on our future _ on what we really want, thrusting our minds into 'future tense', and by doing so, releasing us from the 'shackles' of a complicated or problematic situation.


    After all, we can't begin to make the necessary changes if we are confused about the way we want our life to be. We must have a clear sense of direction or we lose our way. Once we are able to envision the future that we want, we can then work backwards, identifying specific steps to get us to our destination.

    The Solution Focused approach also emphasises the positive resolution of a problem. It does not allow us to merely regurgitate our worries and woes _ like we so often do with our friends _ simply going round and round in circles, without ever arriving at a decision or a plan for improvement.

    Often used in both therapy and Life Coaching, solution focused techniques, can radically alter an individual's perception of a problem, initiating a powerful and positive mind-shift which yields practical results.


    Also central to this approach, is the belief that individuals already hold the 'pass key' to their own solutions _ they just don't know it! Solution focused techniques can help unlock even the most complex of dilemmas, simply by facilitating the individual's ability to 'look within' and shift their view of a particular situation, person or problem.

    In other words, we already know what we really need and want, but we lose touch with our own innate sense of inner wisdom, often feeling confused and helpless.

    This approach gives us back our power. It assumes that we know better than anyone else, exactly what we need and encourages us to take responsibility for our own lives.


    The highly imaginative, practical and simple techniques proposed in The Miracle Question can transform a person's thinking - liberating them from the draining demands of a seemingly impossible problem and providing the key for introducing the changes necessary for improved living and relationships.
  5. Linda Metcalf has presented a well-written book that provides tools for mental health professionals and the general public. The Miracle Question contains information that helps readers find their own answers to a variety of issues by starting with a simple question: How would a miracle change your life? (p.1)

    Chapter One:” Begin With a Miracle,” encourages people to recall times when they have told themselves “If only a miracle would happen-¦“This simple question itself can help readers enter trance and explore possible solutions to their problems. People have the power within themselves to make that miracle happen, by stepping out of their problems and begin finding their own solutions. “They simply needed to answer The Miracle Question, learn from themselves how the answer to it would make a difference, and then realize that they were competent enough to achieve it.”(Page 2)I found useful examples of how “The Miracle Question” gave people their lives back and how this led them to encounter their own resources.

    As therapists, we often find ourselves evolving during our profession. The author explains how she changed her approach when she realized that she was just gathering information and was not asking the right questions. She needed to focus instead on how people wanted things to be in their life. People are invited to answer The Miracle Question and translate their ideas into miracle goals or what the miracle will do for them.

    It is also important to identify the better things in one's life. Chapter Three, “Check Out Your Exceptions” includes case examples where people identify exceptions, times when they could deal with their problems better.

    “Consider Your System Before Moving Forward” shows the importance of thinking about the consequences of change and how a system may be influenced as a result. An exercise called “Understanding the Values and Needs of your System”(p.46)helps readers become aware of the outcome of change. Chapter Four, “Write the Action Plan for Change, “includes an exercise for working with typical descriptions (adjectives)that make people feel stuck in their lives.

    “Give Your Marriage a Miracle” is about saving marriages by focusing on the strengths couples sometimes forget they had when their relationship was good and their marriage was still working. Couples can re-discover past strengths by responding to questions such as “What did your spouse do for you during the good times that endeared him/her to you?”(p.83).Another chapter, “Take Control Over Harmful Habits” can help clients overcome addictions.

    There are several sections throughout the book with blank spaces to be filled in. A good example of this is in “Parenting Your Small Miracle. “Every therapist has a memorable case that challenges and makes us smile. This sentence reminded me of a little boy named Diego who came to my office for consultation a few years ago, and he can still make me smile! As professionals, we might forget our personal skills and qualities. By filling in “The Personal Survey of Professional and Personal Skills” we can become more aware of our abilities.

    If I had to summarize in just one sentence what can THE MIRACLE QUESTION Answer It And Change Your Life do for you ,I would say: This book will help you create your own miracle!
  6. Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is an increasingly popular approach to therapy. One of the main tenets of SFBT is The Miracle Question.

    This book offers an in-depth look at how The Miracle Question works in many different areas of life. IT has useful exercises and questionnaires that help you get started and has separate chapters on how it works with marriage, parenting, habits/addictions and trauma so you can understand how the MQ works in various circumstances.

    Whilst this book is easy to read and very interesting it is more of a collection of success stories from Dr Metcalf's own practice that a real “how-to' book for therapists.

    From my experience of using the exercises in this book in my own practice I have found that using the MQ on it's own is not enough ” you would need to have a greater understanding of how to use the rest of the SFBT approach to gain any real benefit for your clients.
  7. The Miracle Question (“Suppose tonight while you sleep, a miracle happens. When you awake tomorrow morning, what will you see yourself doing, thinking or believing about yourself that will tell you a miracle has happened in your life?”) lies at the heart of solution-focused brief therapy and is often used, in some form, in human givens therapy. Intended for use in self-help, this book explores how people can be helped to translate dreams and wishes into achievable goals, by making use of resources they have drawn on in their lives before.
  8. Written primarily in a way that Life Coaches will relate to, using Solution Based Therapy, rather than regression based methods, this book seeks to avoid rehashing the past but build on the strengths that are already present in the reader even though these may have gone unrecognised thus far. There is a wealth of exercises and case studies designed to help readers to tap into their own resources in order to get to a place better than the one they are currently at.

    I found the exercises extremely helpful and easily adaptable to working with clients who for whatever reason may not wish to revisit the past in order to improve their lot in life. Therapists will recognise many of the problems that the author has dealt with successfully using this method and, though not all cases will go as smoothly as those in the book appear (of necessity) to have done, I don't doubt that some clients will change as dramatically as did those used in the examples.
  9. Have you ever found yourself hoping for a miracle? In this groundbreaking book, Linda Metcalf offers readers a detailed process for bringing about transformation. She guides you through the barriers and heartaches in life via a series of personalised exercises that will help you transcend life's problems. This workbook will enable you to maximise your potential to achieve miraculous goals and is an essential read for anyone facing change. The author, an experienced therapist, writes in a refreshing, no-nonsense style, which carries the message that you can make miracles happen!

    An inspirational self-help book! The Miracle Question! Is a refreshing guide for transformation.
  10. Would you rather lose a problem or find a solution?

    Far from being a merely semantic distinction, this understanding appears to be the key that will unlock our innate power to grant our own wishes. Not our superficial, material whims, but the satisfaction of the deep desires and values from which they have sprung.

    Peace of mind and contentment comes from following a few simple steps. The book is nicely set out, the first chapters give an introduction to the brief solution focused approach, daring us to put our baggage aside, go wild and imagine just how much we might like to accomplish. After discovering our own personal strategies for success in general, later chapters explain how to use the technique with popular life problems:
    “If you woke up tomorrow and a miracle had happened, how would your life be different?”

    • Marriage,

    • dealing with children,

    • habits,

    • Depression

    Linda Metcalf takes us, step by step, on the road to lasting change, with user friendly NLP, to explore what it is we actually want, but this is a journey in reverse. After projecting ourselves into the future, we can enjoy an unique perspective by looking back to how we came to be there.

    Metcalf explains how we can satisfy, by other means, the desires that drive un-useful behaviours, which will otherwise hold us to ransom.

    Straight talking, systematic advice will help you to realise your own miracles.

    As soon as you see the world through this simpler perspective, cutting off the psychological deadwood, you can travel light on your journey through life concentrating on what's really important.

    Via this solution “focused approach, some sophisticated techniques have been applied step by step making them accessible to everyone. The simplicity of the book hides the true sophistication of the techniques you are using.
  11. This is a book which will be of value to the individual and also to the therapist who may be looking for new techniques to use with their patients. The cleverly constructed exercises will be invaluable in helping anyone seeking to make positive life changes and the explanations given by Linda Metcalf will make their use simple and effective, even to those who have never done this kind of thing before. A useful addition to any -˜self-help' library.
  12. The Miracle Question takes one of the simplest, most effective starting points there is for change and growth and extends into a valuable and complete process. Especially useful for people who have difficulty deciding what they want, the miracle question is a great way to access a person's innate wisdom.
  13. Dr. Linda Metcalf has her finger on the pulse of change. The Miracle Question is a wonderfully-written book that takes us on a transformational journey. Through clear examples, stories, questions, and exercises, Dr. Metcalf not only helps us to identify our visions for the future"our own personal “miracles”“she also shows us how we can take steps toward turning those visions of the future into reality. If you're seeking change, The Miracle Question is the one question you can't afford not to ask yourself!
  14. Unlike many self-help books that generalize and oversimplify, THE MIRACLE QUESTION offers readers a highly personalized and comprehensive process for change. I have no doubt that anyone who does the excellent exercises suggested by the author will be rewarded with helpful discoveries for their future.
  15. If you're hanging around waiting for a miracle, stop! You can make it happen all by yourself if you ask The Miracle Question. In her practical, no-nonsense style, Linda Metcalf has written the ultimate guide to sourcing your own inner wisdom, and for a book about a question, it sure is full of answers.
  16. The Miracle Question is a reminder that changing almost any part of our lives in within each and everyone's grasp. In a clear and convincing way, Linda Metcalf helps us see that we may already be living out parts of that miracle. This well written text is a guide to “achieving our rainbow” by examining our exceptions, committing to an action plan, and recognizing those successes. Metcalf's work is a gift; she has crafted a host of simple self-help exercises documented through case studies. The Miracle Question is a breath of fresh reading articulated by a superb therapist who helps make miracles a reality.
  17. This book is much more than “text.” Dr. Metcalf provides worksheets and homework assignments that maximize your potential to achieve miraculous goals!

    This book is much more than “text.” Dr. Metcalf does an exceptional job explaining how you can eliminate cognitive and behavioral barriers to success. She provides worksheets and homework assignments that maximize your potential to achieve miraculous goals. A must read for anyone embarking on a LIFE change!

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