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Socratic Questioning and Therapy




The Socratic Method and Counseling

The Socratic method involves asking questions and drawing out underlying pre-suppositions. As a therapist, I often think of that the process of exploring one’s vision, one’s fears, or challenges can often draw on this method.

One way to think about the Socratic method is to say that there are parts within a whole. The “whole” might be transition out of school to work, moving to a new location, or a relationship. When dealing with anxiety, depression, ADHD, or another ailment, the intensity of a mood or worry can loom so large that it can be difficult to gain perspective over it. Taking the example of being in a challenging work situation, the Socratic method offers unique ways to assess the situation and perhaps find new insight.

The categories could be dozens of different things. One possibility is that one or several parts may be categorized as “technical,” that is, requiring a technical approach how to efficiently and effectively complete particular tasks that are challenging. Other parts might be categorized as “interpersonally challenging” as how to cope with a particular person at work, or perhaps another challenge is “inner experience” related, in regard to how I wish to orient my own thoughts during the day to avoid particular negative patterns that I do not find useful.

This is just one very short example of a way of breaking something down into parts and the process can continue on further breaking down the “inner experience” into particular things I remind myself, and maintaining a mindful awareness of my thoughts. As a therapist I find that this process of breaking things down, and exploring deeper assumptions of an idea help to create space and fresh perspectives.

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