When clients come into counselling for a repeat session, I ask them this question and the first reaction is to be taken back. They process the question and say, “Nothing much good happened last week” When I continue with, “Nothing good happened last whole week?”, they pause reflect and start listing at least 4 to 6 things that were good in their life the last week and some of them were not just good but outstanding.
Most of us are so focused on things not working in our life we forget that there are a lot of things that are working beautifully in our lives. By asking that question pointedly we bring the focus on what is working well in the other person’s life. The question can be posed to children coming home from school/college, to spouses returning from work etc.
In counselling this question does not minimize the problems that the client is facing. We will focus on that eventually. But this question puts their life in perspective. A person engrossed in a problem believes nothing is going well in their lives which is not at all true. Since their focus is on things not working that is what they see and everything is coloured by that. What we are focusing on looms large and everything else fades into background.
A counsellor's work is also to bring perspective into the client’s life and a question like this does that job.