Don’t ask why

Just a quick note–

I really mean, don’t ask why. It’s not an answerable question. Instead turn it into one or more of the following types of questions: who, what, where, when, or how. Now it’s an answerable question. You can get unstuck. You may not like the answers, but you’re more likely to find a way to take some kind of action, either external or internal, and get moving again.

Quick example– “Why do my relationships go down the tubes all the time?

This actually breaks down into a series of questions, none of which involve “why.”

  1. What do I do to get into relationships?
  2. What have my exes said when we broke up?
  3. How many of the relationships have ended because I dumped the other person?
  4. How long have the relationships I’ve gotten into lasted?
  5. Have I ever gotten into a relationship when my gut told me it wasn’t going to work out?
  6. Who am I attracted to? Are these unavailable-type people?
  7. What things do I stop doing, if this is the case, that made the relationship good, resulting in it going downhill when I stopped making that effort?
  8. What things can I change about me that will result in my feeling better whether or not I’m in a relationship?

I use the relationship example because it’s kind of a classic– we all question ourselves when relationships go sideways. But the basic technique could work on any question that starts out as a “why” question. Sometimes it turns into only one other question, sometimes a series of questions. Try the technique at home in your own time, or do it with a trained professional. It helps either way.

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About jamesmatter

Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) in private practice in San Francisco. I work with adults, adolescents, and couples, with focus on substance use and abuse and co-occurring disorders (having both a mental illness and an addiction).
This entry was posted in behavioral health, Couples and relationships, Learning, mental health, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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