Fixed ideas need to be freed up. Most specifically, the ideas that limit the person need to be freed up. They need to be "unfixed". The main ways of unfixing a fixed idea are:
- Enumerate the ways the fixed idea has served the client
- Explore the consequences of using or not using the idea
- Put the idea in context
Note that a fixed idea is a different phenomenon than what we typically would dialogue about. It is not just something to discuss and see from different angles and describe. It is FIXED, it is an either/or kind of thing. The person will initially not be able to discuss it. It will be a fixed truth. All you can do at first might be to listen to times she has used it or reasons why it is sure to be the truth. We will move it in the direction of being a more fluid idea, but at first that might not be possible.
"What has ___ helped you to accomplish?"
"What has ___ helped you to prevent?"
"What does ___ allow you to do?"
"What does ___ allow you to have?"
"What does ___ allow you to be?"
"What is right about ___?"
"What are the advantages of ___?"
"How can one use ___ against others?"
"Does ___ leave others at a disadvantage?"
"What has ___ gotten you into?"
"What has ___ gotten you out of?"
"What has ___ been a solution to?"
"What has ___ solved?"
"What would happen if you did ___?"
"What would happen if you didn't ___?"
"What would not happen if you did ___?"
"What would not happen if you did not ___?"
"What is the value of ___?"
"What is the importance of ___?"
"When would ___ be a good idea?"
"When would ___ not be a good idea?"
"What does ___ compare to?"
"Where does ___ fit in?"
We are done with a fixed idea when our client can take it or leave it, when she has a choice about it, and when it turns into a fluid principle rather than a fixed generality. That might not be any sudden realization. It just isn't fixed anymore, it is one idea amongst other ideas. It might seem totally ridiculous to her that she ever used it, or she might still find it to be a reasonable principle.
Sometimes you get a surface fixed ideas that is close to the underlying fixed idea, but isn't quite it. Even though you know that, it might still be useful to plug what you have into the handling questions. The real fixed idea might appear while we dust off what is on the top of it.
Don't miss a chance to get a basic fixed idea when you have it. It can produce very significant and lasting changes for the person.
- Practice finding a fixed idea.