Small phrases in the form of lead lines or instructions are essential tools in counselling and therapy. It is astounding the difference wording can make. In this post I reflect on an instruction to the person who is responding in a dialogue.
Enlarge on your response.
I like this instruction. I typically use this in couple therapy when one partner says something like, ‘I like listening to what you said.’ I could use a lead line such as, ‘One thing I liked about it…’ or ‘When you talked about my parenting I felt…’, sometimes that is fine. However the instruction, ‘Enlarge on your response.’ is more open ended. They might say, ‘When you say you learn a lot from the way I parent our children my heart leaps with joy.’ Anything is possible with the idea of enlargement.
It is a challenging instruction, and if I think the person is not able to meet the challenge of the instruction I will guide them with a lead line that prompts them to give something more.