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A Guide To Possibility Land:
Fifty One Methods for Doing Brief, Respectful Therapy

Bill O’Hanlon
Sandy Beadle

Possibiltity therapy is about acknowledging and validating clients’ felt experience and ideas about their lives while ensuring that possibilities for change are discovered and amplified. The book outlines this humorous, compassionate approach to action-oriented therapy. Each method is defined, explained, and illustrated, all in a page or two. By the end, the reader has a huge selection of strategies and an enlightening map of possibility-land. For people interested in the latest developments in brief, solution- oriented therapies, this is a terrific introduction to the territories. It is very popular in graduate and post-graduate psychotherapy training programs. And this is Bill’s most fun book, you have to love the illustrations and irreverent humor!


Front Words

Chapter 1. Carl Rogers with a Twist

1.1 Possibility-laced acknowledgment 1.7 Include objections
1.2 Escalator language 1.8 Include opposites
1.3 Read the feedback 1.9 Validate, value, & hold accountable
1.4 Match language 1.10 Give permission
1.5 Utilization 1.11 Decline invitations to blame
1.6 Inclusion

Chapter 2. Change the Viewing

2.1 Use humor 2.8 Beat them to the punch
2.2 Assume times without the problem 2.9 Normalize
2.3 Assume client is active agent 2.10 Split & Link
2.4 Deframe 2.11 Externalize the problem
2.5 Use action descriptions not labels 2.12 Use metaphors and stories
2.6 Depathologize by changing labels 2.13 Provide new frames of reference
2.7 Frame difficulty as a stage

Chapter 3. Map Problem and Goals

3.1 Negotiate specific and achievable goals 3.6 Use multiple choice
3.2 Specify the complaint 3.7 Use magic wand questions
3.3 Specify achievable goals 3.8 Presuppose goal achievement
3.4 Quantify vague goals 3.9 Avoid symptom-talk
3.5 Specify sub-goals 3.10 Go for directions and trends

Chapter 4. Connect with Internal and External Resources

4.1 Evoke an experience of resourcefulness 4.6 Find competence
4.2 Find choice-points 4.7 Transfer competence
4.3 Find times without the problem 4.8 Who or what else can help?
4.4 Find exceptions to problem 4.9 How come it didn’t get worse?
4.5 Find what worked 4.10 Find the ending or stopping pattern

Chapter 5. Change the Doing

5.1 Map patterns 5.5 Action plan with homework
5.2 Compare and contrast 5.6 Relapse prevention
5.3 Pattern interventions 5.7 Know when to stop
5.4 Restore what worked


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