question marks on paper crafts
stress

What are Socratic questions?

In my previous blog, I told you how Socratic questions can help you to support someone who’s suffering from chronic stress.

Today, we use Socratic questioning in therapy and coaching and the aim is to engage and elicit a detailed understanding of the situation or problem that the client is facing.

You can use Socratic questioning to help someone close to you to get unstuck but you can also use the technique to question yourself.

Why bother?

Because it’s a well-known fact that you often can’t see the wood for the trees.

When we are tangled up in a stressful situation, we fail to see all the different aspects and we lack perspective. Whilst to others there seem to be a range of options and solutions, we ourselves have no idea how to move forward and we feel stuck.

So why not try these questions:

  1. What’s contributing to your current sense of unhappiness/stress/anxiety/frustration… (this is a Socratic question used for clarification)?
  2. What assumptions are you making (ALWAYS question your assumptions; the brain has a nasty habit of filling in the blanks when you don’t have the full picture)?
  3. Is there an alternative point of view which may be just as valid (Socrates was always pushing for his pupils to look at a situation through a different lens)?
  4. What are the long-term implications of acting or not acting on your current sense of unhappiness/stress/anxiety/frustration…? 

This last question is my absolute favourite.

When I find myself procrastinating on making a decision, writing down my thoughts on implications of action vs inaction usually helps me straight away.

Procrastination is a major stress trigger so this is a good tool to have in your toolbox.

I go through it all in this week’s video.

I hope you like it