On a scale of one to a hundred, how badly do you want to fix this problem?

Help people break through ambivalence

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I once heard an interview with a shrink who took an interesting approach to setting priorities during therapy sessions.

She would ask her patients this question.

On a scale of one to a hundred, how badly do you want to fix this problem?

And if the patient’s response was a low number, the doctor would respond by saying:

Okay, well, let’s talk about something else until you get to eighty.

Here’s why this is a brilliant frame for creating a healing space.

First, by objectifying the patient’s issue with a number, it immediately turns their problem into a simple binary decision. Yes or no. Go or no go. No rumination needed.

Second, the therapist is setting a boundary for the relationship. That way she doesn’t codependently rush in and take over and try to solve the problem for her patient.

Finally, this approach teaches the patient that healing is a gift that’s theirs, as soon as they’re willing to take full responsibility for it. But anything less than eighty percent, and there won’t be enough hunger to push through to the other side.

How do you help people break through ambivalence and make a true commitment to positive action?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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Author. Speaker. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Founder of getprolific.io. Pioneer of Personal Creativity Management (PCM). I also wear a nametag 24/7.

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