Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Managing IBS - A Solution Focused Approach

After being reminded recently what a miserable experience IBS can be, I wanted to share with you something a little different which I am experimenting with. This is based on the Solution Focused (SF) approach which was something I had some training in a few years ago but, so far, I haven't seen applied to IBS. Rather than focusing on your symptoms and difficulties, this approach encourages you (us) to look instead at what is already working for you - even when it feels like nothing is!

Essentially, SF explores a problem through asking questions like the ones below. These are not particularly difficult questions but are aimed at helping you recognise your strengths and coping strategies. And yes, you are strong and you are coping!

I encourage you to have a go at answering some of the questions below, and maybe making notes as you go along to reflect on or to add to later. If you can't answer them all, that's fine, go with those that you can answer fairly easily and jot down any that you might like to come back to another time. (Don't forget to bookmark this page so you can find your way here). Also if you feel you want to re-word the questions so that they better apply to you, please do so.

Just one suggestion. When answering the questions try not to use statements such as 'I wouldn't feel bloated' and instead focus on what the positive aspect of that would be, for example 'my clothes would fit comfortably' or 'I'd be able to sleep comfortably' or whatever is true for you. 

I hope you find this helpful - let me know how you get on.

  1. How do you cope with your IBS?
  2. What are the most effective ways you've found of managing your symptoms?
  3. List 5 different ways in which you already manage your IBS.
  4. If your IBS was better controlled, how would things be different for you?
  5. What would tell you that your IBS problems were becoming more manageable?
  6. What would you notice about yourself?
  7. What would you be doing differently?
  8. What would others notice about you?
  9. Bring to mind a time recently when your symptoms have been (even relatively) under control. What else was different about that time?
  10. What were you doing that was different to other times?
  11. What was it about your diet (if anything) that was different to other times?
  12. What do you think made the biggest contribution to how you felt?
  13. How will you manage your symptoms better in future?
  14. If you knew of one small thing you could do that would make a difference for you, what would that be?
  15. What encouragement could you give yourself?
  16. What have you learned from thinking about this?

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