Updated: Jun 22
One of the basic concepts behind Solutions Focused Counseling is the Miracle Question. If you were to wake up tomorrow morning and a miracle had happened over night, what would be different about your life? This game embraces that idea and expounds on it.
This game is designed to ask questions to help the client identify goals and changes needed to improve emotional well-being. The "I Wish" questions expound upon the miracle question, asking questions about various aspects of life that the client would want to change.
The "Calming Waters" cards focus on coping strategies to handle difficulties. They include visualization skills, grounding techniques, relational support, and ways to process emotions. There are tips on how to implement skills as well as questions to challenge to evaluate current techniques they use.
Related Post: My Life Game Cards
"The Bright Side" questions are designed to help the client identify current strengths and successes. These cards include identifying people who bring comfort and support, favorite friends and activities, and highlight times the client was successful. Remembering times when they were able to overcome difficulties can help encourage and bring hope during times of trouble. It can also bring awareness to things that are going well, rather than focusing solely on the problem.
Finally, the "Stepping Stones" cards focus on goal setting. It is helpful to identify what the client wants to change, but the stepping stones will take it a step further by identifying actions that need to be taken in order to achieve the goal. It will challenge the client on reasons they are not currently taking steps, obstacles preventing success, and encourages baby steps in the right direction. The idea is to break down the monumental task of achieving their goal into small steps that they have the ability to conquer.
This game can be played with people of all ages. It can be helpful in individual, group, or even family sessions. For younger children, it may be necessary to reword some of the questions to make them easier. For older kids, you can ask follow-up questions to help them think deeper into the subject matter.
It is not uncommon for underlying issues to surface while playing games with kids. They may drop a bombshell in the middle of a game or you might discover a cognitive distortion or irrational thought that comes out in the course of the game. You can choose to address it right then and there, or make note of it for later. I will typically make a mental note and bring it up in a subsequent session.
The Wishing Well is a well-rounded counseling game to add to your toolbox. Kids of all ages enjoy exploring dreams and goals, adding to an internal locus of control. The game can also be used as a diagnostic tool to better understand underlying issues.