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What? Therapeutic Questions and Musical Comedy


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“What,” is our Stream of Consciousness prompt for this week. What am going to do with that?

“What” is a word I try to remember when I’m counseling. Like, “how,” it’s a good word to start off an open question – a question not easy to answer yes or no to. What and how are both good question words. Why is okay, but not so much. Lots of times people don’t know why we do things. I’ll never forget the time I asked my 4 year old son, “Why did you do that?” I think he had made a big mess in the bathroom, but I don’t even know what kind of mess. It was soooooo long ago. His answer to the not so happy tone in my question was, “Because I’m bad.” So I’m not so fond of “Why’d you do that?!” questions since then.

Another not so good question, using “what,” is “What the hell were you thinking?!” It might be better to ask, calmly, in a therapist tone, “What were some of your thoughts when you were making that decision?”

As therapists, we’re supposed to be non-directive, helping people come up with their own solutions, helping people clarify what they want, etc. And when that works, it’s nice. But sometimes I just want to say, “I don’t recommend you meet your X boyfriend who beat the crap out of you, at a bar Saturday night.”  I suppose I could say, and would say, first, “What are some other options,” or we could explore the pros and cons of meeting the x boyfriend anywhere.  I do generally start out with open questions and try to get clients to figure things out, but sometimes, people do need a little direction.

What and how questions are good for any kind of, well most, healthy communication. They stimulate understanding and open discussion. Especially if we listen objectively.

One of my favorite “What” questions is: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

But what if I am afraid? Why am I afraid? Is it realistic? Is it worth the risk? Back to what questions: What would help you cope with that fear? what might that fear be about? What could overcome that fear?

What would I do if I could do anything I wanted?  What would you do? What would it take to bring peace to the world, to the country, to my home? to my life? What would it take to wrap up this post?  That’s it, unless I can find a song.

So this is what I found: It’s a song sung by Sara Ramirez, who I only knew as the voluptuous, and of course intelligent, Dr. Torres on Grey’s Anatomy. Then I discovered this Broadway musical called Spamalot. It looks really funny and reminds me of ad libbing in acting class all those gazillion years ago.


You never know what you’ll find in the Stream of Consciousness! If you’d like to join in the adventure, start here:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Jan. 16/16

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!

Author: JoAnna

An open minded, tree-hugging Jesus follower, former counselor, and life-long lover of animals, I'm returning to my creative roots and have published my first book: Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again as well as the short version: From Loneliness to Love.

11 thoughts on “What? Therapeutic Questions and Musical Comedy

  1. “Why” questions can certainly be tricky. They’re something I try to be aware of when disciplining my kids too. Great post, JoAnna. 😀

  2. As you may or may not know ANZAC day is Australia’s War Memorial day. One day my younger daughter – aged about six – was asked, “What will we do for ANZAC day?” and her reply was, “I think we should make Anzac biscuits and then go and shoot our enemies.”

  3. “Whatever Happened to My Part?” is one of my favorites from Spamalot, which, given that it is based on Monty Python, has quite a few over-the-top numbers.

    • I had never heard of Spamalot until today, when I stumbled upon it looking for songs starting with “what.” Now that I know it was based on Monty Python, I’m not surprised that I like it. And Sara’s performance is so full of energy, and something else I can’t quite put my finger on that I can relate to.

      • We had the CD of the Broadway cast and then saw a live performance at our local playhouse. The play is based on the Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie, with lots more music. As you would expect most of the songs and action are heavy on the male side – being about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table – so the diva role does have a lot to compete with, hence, “Whatever Happened to My Part?” 😉

  4. Awesome post, JoAnna. I loved the story of your son, and your changing relationship to the why questions… Your observations were so astute. I also loved the line about wanting to advise your clients not to keep doing what hurts…

    The fear question is a good one. It’s insightful to understand how our emotions influence our actions, and to consider how our emotions are fueled.


  5. I don’t watch Gray’s Anatomy, but she has a fantastic voice.

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