VIDEO: What Does a Client Really Want from Therapy?

Stephen Gilligan on the First Step Toward a Creative Breakthrough

When a client comes in for their first session, the natural way to start is by asking them what they want to accomplish in therapy. But the way they answer isn’t always helpful in moving the treatment forward. A negative goal like, “I don’t want to feel bad anymore,” isn’t really inspired or specific enough to likely lead to a creative breakthrough.

Stephen Gilligan, author of The Legacy of Milton H. Erickson, has developed several effective approaches to Self-Relations Psychotherapy to help clients reach the mind-body states that can inform them of what they really want.

In this clip he talks about one of the techniques he employs to help new clients be more specific in setting their therapy goals.


Rich Simon

Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day.