Statement of Position Map 1

Statement of Position Map 1 text with green watercolour globe.

Let’s start with Statement of Position Map 1, which is a map to use when a person wants to talk about a problem. It’s Chapter 1 in your book.

This is an externalising conversation that progressively and incrementally distances the person from the problem – affording them a different vantage point and separating them from blame. Read the chapter and watch the video (in whichever order you prefer).

Try to imagine using these questions in your own practice – what do you imagine you might find difficult?

Some common things that many of us have found difficult when new to these practices include:

  1. Finding externalising language harder to sustain in practice than in theory.
  2. Losing clarity about how each question area is distinct from the others.
  3. Assuming that the nature of the effects in the second area renders the critical third “Position” area unnecessary to ask about.
  4. Experiencing old questioning habits as irresistible and then diverting from map questions and making up our own questions that are coming from a different theory. This might extend to feeling uncomfortable that these map question areas are unnatural, artificial or just not you and thus abandoning them, making it harder to develop a new habit of questions that could open up new and narrative conversations.

Please post your struggles in the comments section.

Or post transcript material of a conversation using these ideas and I will respond!

Externalising Conversation Exercise

An exercise with one interviewer and one person being interviewed.

  1. Naming and characterising the problem with questions like:
    What are you struggling with at the moment?
    What would you call this problem that you’re struggling with?
    If this problem were a person, what kind of person would they be?
    What would a drawing or painting of this problem look like?
  1. Clarifying the effects of the problem and other connections it has:
    How did (the problem) first manage to get into your life?
    In which areas of your life is it most present?
    What does (the problem) try to get you doing?
    How has (the problem) affected your mood?
    Which relationships have been affected by (the problem) and how?
    How has (the problem) affected how you see yourself as a person?
    How has the problem affected how you see the future?
  1. Taking a position on the problem. Describing what it’s like to have a problem like this:
    What is this situation like for you, living with such a problem?
    Would you call it positive or negative or something in-between?
    Does this problem make your life better or worse?
  1. Understanding the values that lie behind their position on the problem. Understanding WHY it is that they take the position they do:
    Why is it you take the position you do?
    What is important to you that the problem is getting in the way of?
    What is the problem spoiling?
    What kind of future might the problem want you to have if it were to have more influence on your life?
    Which important relationships is the problem sabotaging?
    What’s important about the life you want that the problem is putting at risk?
“It is no accident that ‘plot’ can mean at the same time the arc of a story, or a chart showing the course of a ship, or the tracing of a map. These things are all interconnected." - Joanne Harris, Rebuilding Asgard: A Viking worldview
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