The 5 Whys technique. How to find out the essence of the problem?

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Often, when clients come to me, I have to face the following situation: there is a client, the client has discomfort or a problem – but the client does not know its cause. Naturally, I do not take those cases when the essence of the problem lies outside the sphere of understanding or perception of the client (for example, PTSD, neurosis or depression).

But, in general, this phenomenon is very widespread. And at the same time, there is a technique that is useful to both the therapist – to clarify the request and to the client – simply because everyone has problems on a regular basis.

So, to find out the essence of the problem, the Japanese have used the “5 Whys” technique for centuries. For its implementation, the initial situation is taken.

For example:

– I’m constantly late. Why?

– Because I constantly do not have enough time. Why?

– Because I’m going to take a long time. Why?

– Because I want to look good. Why?

– Because I want to impress others. Why?

– Because I want to get married :).

Or another example:

– I often conflict with my wife. Why?

– Because I want her to respect me. Why?

– Because he often finds fault with me on water and without. Why?

It is worth clarifying here that when answering the questions of this technique, you cannot shift the focus of attention to someone else. It is only about his personal role in the development of events.

– Because I pay little attention to order in the house. Why?

– Because I believe that these are not men’s duties. Why?

By the way, the option “I was brought up this way” will not work – it also removes the focus of attention personally from you.

– Because the strength of a man is in his ability to make money.

In principle, all the same can be achieved by a detailed heart-to-heart talk with a psychologist / psychotherapist. But it takes more time and effort, and increases the risk of your attention drifting. Therefore, this technique can be attributed to the status of saving your time.

Simple enough, but effective.

Category: Online psychotherapy


About the Author ()

I’ve hurt myself while trying to help myself more than you can imagine, that’s why I want to scientifically analyze every popular self-help technique and ‘method’ there is.