Finding Exceptions to the Problem

Finding Exceptions to the Problem

You need many years of practice and the qualification to become an accomplished Counsellor. However, I believe that anyone, regardless of qualifications and training, can become a more effective helper and Accidental Counsellor by learning to apply the basic techniques of Counselling. That’s really what the Accidental Counsellor Training is all about.

The Key part of the Accidental Counsellor Training

The key part of the Accidental Counsellor Training is Solution-focused counselling.

For those of you who have attended the training, you may recall that Solution-focused questions are designed to help people explore their strengths and resources rather than concentrate on their problems or deficits. The questions can help the client identify what their goals or preferred future will look like when they’ve overcome those problems or challenges. It can help the client notice things in their lives that are going well, that they’re doing well or perhaps parts of their goals are already happening.

Finding Exceptions to the Problem

The Key part of Solution-focused counselling

One of the key parts of Solution-focused counselling is helping the client identify exceptions to the problem. You see, very few problems are present all the time. In fact, most problems are only happening occasionally. There are usually a lot of times when the problem is not happening at all or is happening to a lesser degree.

Helping the client notice these times can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by the problem or challenge and can help identify things that they or others are already doing to help solve the problem or challenge. Here are some examples of some questions that you could ask that could elicit exceptions to the problem.

Question 1: Tell me about times when the problem is less troubling or when it’s not happening at all.


Question 2: Tell me about the times when you’re coping a little bit better about the problem. Or, what’s different about the times when the problem’s better?

When things are tough, how do you cope?

Tell me what’s worked in the past, even if it’s only for a short time.

Remember to ask for detail, “What else? Tell me more,” so that they can begin to construct a detailed picture of when the problem or challenge is not as intense or overwhelming.

My name’s Rocky Biasi, this is the Accidental Counsellor training. You can find more at and I hope that this has been a great refresher for those of you who’ve attended the training. Bye for now.

One thought on “Finding Exceptions to the Problem

  1. I agree, counselling should be focusing on finding solutions, and helping people overcome problems with goals. My older brother has been facing an alcohol addiction for a while, and is struggling to get over it. Hopefully, he can find a counselling center that can provide him with the support that he needs, along with solutions and guidance.

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