Individual Change – Well Formed Outcomes
Introduction – Models of Suffering and Desperation for an Outcome
People are very good at suffering. And there are a number of different suffering styles – some prefer to suffer in silence, others will see a problem that is shared is equal to a problem that is halved, others will share in the suffering, and of course, some people prefer to suffering alone.
All too often in counselling and therapy, the therapy session will consist of little more than exploring the client’s model of suffering. By the end of therapy, the client has a better model and a better set of distinctions by which they understand their suffering. They may have more words and be more eloquent in their description and be better able to explain how they feel and how they suffer.
But they don’t necessarily suffer less. They simply learn to suffer it better.
If the person is exposed to a diagnosing clinician, they may well explain their suffering in phrases and terms that fit diagnostic models and so emerge with a name for their suffering – a label, a diagnosis. Not necessarily a good outcome.
Sufficiently armed with a diagnosis, this diagnostic frame is usually cross-matched against prescription protocols so that the appropriate medicament can be prescribed to assist with providing relief.
When this process is applied to behaviour or to psychological and emotional suffering, what this translates to is very simple:
The client is entirely passive does not need to do anything different in order that the hope of relief from their suffering is offered. The relief comes not through a change in behaviour, but rather in being able to describe their pain properly and then to take the appropriate medication.
In personal development and self-improvement, the problem is largely ignored. Instead, the focus in on outcomes, getting what you want, attracting the things you want into your life, being a better person, getting more successful and so on. Workshop participants are told that they just need to believe in themselves and they can have the outcome in life that they want. They can be rich, they can be happy, they can be successful, they just need to believe in themselves.
In NLP the term, “well-formed outcomes” emerged to define how an outcome should be conceptualised, a set of parameters gave NLP practitioners a guideline to follow. but at the workshops and big events, the big carrot of the magical outcome gets dangled. But here’s the problem:
Anyone who is in the position of personal siuffering can distract themslves with the fantasy of a better life. Anyone can make pictures in their mind of being a milionaire, having better sex, having better relationships, being more popular, being more successful and so on. Merely making such pictures in their minds can make a person feel better, albeit temporarily. But they do feel better, but this doesn’t mean that they will ever actually achieve the outcome, no matter how well formed it is. Simply feeling better is no measurement of change, yet when the client or workshop participant reports feeling better the outcome is usually considered to have been achieved.
The “Metaphors of…” models are designed for those clients who do not wish to be trapped by this passivity and engages the client at an experiential and behavioural level to create a change at the source of the problem rather than at the effect of the problem.