In a marriage and family psychological counseling, the client was Xiao A, a young female teacher who had just married, and she received counseling accompanied by her husband. It turned out that the two had just got married, and the honeymoon period after marriage had not ended, and the husband was about to be sent to work in a branch company in another place. Little A has severe anxiety and nervous stomach pain, which can only be relieved by being around her husband.
In the choice of treatment plan, the counselor gave up on the deep-seated causes of separation anxiety, but used short-term focus solution therapy, treating Xiao A who came with problems as an expert in solving her own problems, and aroused her to think about it. The anticipation of the future encourages them to start with small changes that “miraclely” resolve their anxiety problems.
Problem Description – Anxiety Originates from Attachment
The counselor gave Xiao A an attachment type test using the Intimate Relationship Experience Scale. The results show that Xiao A is a more typical “obsessive attachment”-plays the role of a dependent in an intimate relationship, needs the care of others, and the lover’s alienating behavior will strengthen his insecurity and worry; in order to have more security Feelings, often show excessive control over the lover; it is difficult to believe in the stability of the relationship, and it is easy to worry about it.
Xiao A stated that in the long run, her husband’s assignment would be beneficial to his career development, and it is very likely that he would be transferred back to the headquarters for a promotion and a salary increase, but he was always unable to suppress his anxiety. When I was young, my parents were divorced and my father’s love was absent. I saw the hardships of my mother raising alone, and I didn’t want to repeat the pain of my mother. When in love, the husband has always assumed the role of taking care of himself, and he will feel very secure around him. I don’t expect how much wealth the two of them can have, but only hope that they can live a good life sweetly. Once her husband came back from work late, Xiao A felt abandoned and neglected, and needed more company from her husband to improve her mood.
Goal Setting – Expect a Miracle
”What kind of results do you hope will be more useful to you, and do you think it is a good idea to seek help from a counselor?”
After the couple described the problem full of painful experiences, the counselor did not investigate too much behind the problem. Instead, focus their time and energy on helping them establish clear, specific, action-oriented goals. The inspiration is mainly guided by the empowering “miracle” question, “Assume a miracle occurs and the problem has been solved. You will notice the difference in your life and tell you that the miracle has happened.”
Goal setting is not easy , Good goals are not based on high expectations of others, but focus on solving their own problems, and are committed to describing the new state that will emerge after the problem is solved. With the patient guidance of the counselor, Xiao A changed his expectation of “I hope my husband can always be by my side” into a more actionable goal – “I hope that I can relieve the stomach pain caused by anxiety by myself, even if Husband is not around”. The “miracle” question full of hope allows Xiao A to “skip” the unresolved anxiety about whether her husband is going abroad, see the beautiful scene after the problem is solved, and turn the sense of expectation into courage, so that she can face the inevitable separation.
Exploring the Exception – The Solution Hides in the Past
”Can you think of a time when you had anxiety and stomach pain in the past, without the company of your husband, and relied on your own way to relieve anxiety?” “Which of the methods you have taken, which ones do you think are still useful?”
Xiao A The problem of A is not static, there will always be “exceptions” to the problem to a lesser degree. The exception may be that A accidentally solves the problem by himself, but such an accident is easily ignored. The counselor asked Xiao A to recall which of his behaviors caused these “exceptions” to occur, and jointly explore whether it can promote the continuation of such accidents and reduce the chance of problems. Effective methods can continue to be used, and ineffective methods should be discontinued. If there is no such exception, Xiao A can also try to take a different approach from now on.
In addition, the counselor helped Xiao A directly relieve stomach pain through guided imagery, muscle relaxation training, self-hypnosis and other auxiliary treatment methods, especially through mindfulness therapy, which helped Xiao A use his thoughts to affect seemingly uncontrollable physiological activities.
During this process, the husband and Xiao A receive treatment together, and then the husband can help her learn relaxation methods at home or through remote video. Through therapy, both partners learned new coping strategies and strengthened their intimacy. Little A is also pleased to realize that even in two different environments with her husband, relying on the spiritual strength from the relationship can free her from the anxiety and tension that comes with it.
Assessment Feedback – Numbers and Praise Give Confidence
”From 0 to 10, 0 means you need your husband to stay by your side, 10 means you don’t need a husband to resolve anxiety, so what position are you in now?”
In order to better help Xiao A to solve the problem The way forward, the consultant used evaluative questions to make Xiao A more aware of the current state and the goal he hopes to achieve. Xiao A gave herself 5 points, which made her “feel that the situation was not as bad as she imagined” and had the confidence to solve the problem.
The consultant struck while the iron was hot and continued to ask: “Assuming that the current situation can be improved by 1 point, what difference will tell you that your coping is really better?” Xiao A thought carefully and thought that he would use the relaxation skills he had learned to improve himself. For relief, you can listen to the recordings recorded by her husband to guide mindfulness meditation. These are all weapons she uses to resist anxiety and stomach pain, and can make her state better.
At the end of each session, the counselor summarizes Little A’s performance, summarizes the beneficial actions Little A is taking, and points out those tiny details in her own words. At the same time, give positive feedback on her strengths and staged successes, encourage her to continue doing these things, and prompt her to continue to observe whether there are other effective coping methods as homework after each treatment—— “I want you to make a record every day, recall when you were in a good mood during the day, and record what happened at that time.”
The entire treatment process for Xiao A was only carried out 4 to 5 times until Xiao A confidently declared anxiety , Stomach pain is no longer so important to her, and the treatment ends smoothly with the achievement of the predetermined goal. At this time, it is not known whether the husband was dispatched. The husband who participated in the whole process also said that the intimate relationship between the two was healthier and the pressure was reduced, and he could make his own optimal choice with more confidence.
”If the relationship lasts for a long time, how can it be day and night.” Sincere and firm feelings do not care about being together every day, the two can draw strength from their close relationship, continuously acquire new skills, and promote themselves to become more mature Growing up, you can also face unknown challenges alone. The problems encountered by Xiao A and her husband are actually problems that every newlywed couple may encounter, that is, the life pressure and ideological anxiety brought about by the role change after marriage. In order to escape the pressure, both husband and wife hope to retreat into each other’s arms and achieve mutual dependence. Through short-course focused solution therapy, the counselor stimulates the inherent problem-solving power of the treated person, uses “self-fulfilling prophecy”-style hints, realizes self-empowerment, and correctly constructs a solution, making the once out of reach. The “miracle” actually happened.