In Solution Focused therapy, the highly renowned Miracle Question, can be used by clinicians in order to draw out an individual’s goals, wishes, and greatest desires. In my own experience, clients can often give responses that are surprising, and not at all what I anticipate. But what is the Miracle Question? It’s typically a question framed like this: What if you woke up tomorrow and found out a miracle had happened and life was perfect? What would that look like?
Alternative styles to the Miracle Question include:
- If you woke up tomorrow and life was perfect, what would have changed?
- What would happen if this problem was magically solved?
When working with children, particularly with an abstract concept such as a miracle, it’s important that we are mindful of the words and phrasing of the miracle question so as not to complicate the nature of this solution-focused question. When working with children, we can use their active imaginations to our advantage, as well as pop-culture references. Some examples are as follows below.
- If you could rub a magic lamp and a genie were to come out, what would be your three wishes?
- If you could wave a magic wand and your life was perfect, what would have changed?
- If you were in the Wizard of Oz, and could click your shoes together for a wish, what would you wish for?
The essence of the question remains the same, but the context of it could add some fun for the child and their knowledge of fictional stories and magic. Some of these questions can be used in worksheet form, so the child can draw what they wish, or have a record of what was said.
Often times, when I’ve used this with children, I can be surprised by their answers. Depending on the child and their developmental level and immediate needs, answers could vary from basic needs and safety, to wanting to reunite with a parent that perpetrated abuse. Whatever it may be, the child’s answer can provide insight into their priorities in their little lives, and can provide a great focus for mental health treatment and related events in need of processing. It can also allow clinicians to see areas for potential referrals, including to housing programs, support groups, or involving the child in an interesting extracurricular activity. No matter the response, it can give the social worker or therapist a great entrance into further solution-focused questions and statements.