Corollary Intervention

In conjunction with the "I's," another simple intervention that I use with groups instructs the members (including myself) to use statements rather than questions (Bernstein, personal communication, 1998; Roth, 1997). Behind every question there is a message. When members are asked to state the message in their question, this improves the openness, intensity, and clarity of communication between members. Using only statements, along with the "I's," reduces defen-siveness and helps members become aware of their responsibility for their thoughts and feelings. By learning how one's behavior impacts others, and exploring together rather than inquiring, the group can achieve deeper understanding and joint problem solving. "I" statements, rather than questions, can allow for mutual exploration:

MEMBER: "Why did you tell us that story about_?"

THERAPIST: "When you were telling us about your past, I felt sad about what happened to you."

Both these techniques work well together. Using statements also helps group members stay away from hiding behind questions.

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