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February 20, 2018

Changing: The Easy Way Versus The Hard Way

By Dr. Richard Boyum

One of the major tenants of brief or minimal change counseling is to facilitate behavioral changes and rapid growth as quickly as possible. One very simple technique that counselors can use, that can be helpful in achieving the goal of positive behavioral change I call "Easy or Hard". After listening to a client explain their problem and what it is they would like to change, I ask them the question, "Would you like to do this the easy way or the hard way?" After explaining to clients how we tend to sometimes draw out a problem (the hard way), I suggest to a client that most people have the resources to change behavior (the easy way). My purpose is to encourage them to take the easy route. So often the hard way is a function of self-doubt, lack of personal empowerment, or simply not requesting the support of others who are willing to support the client in a change. In America we tend to do things in fairly big ways. This includes how we struggle overcoming a difficult problem. Counselor's can facilitate more rapid change in clients by getting them to commit to changing the easy way. The end result is a more productive experience for the client and fewer numbers of sessions for the counselor. We all have been trained in core conditions of counseling and we believe in our client's ability to change. We only need the appropriate type of catalyst. Encouragement through potentiating easy rather than hard change is one such technique.