I wanted to share a New York Times Modern Love column "To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This” by Mandy Lin Catron that describes practices that can be called solution focused.
Catron describes how she and her (now) partner, already somewhat interested in each other, got much closer and eventually fell in love, using some of these instructions:
- "alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner, a total of 5 things"
- “tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time saying things you might not say to someone you’ve just met”.
They took turns asking each other questions from an original study by Dr. Arthur Aron, which describes "a practical methodology for creating closeness" in which pre-selected pairs of college students carry out a series self-disclosing and relationship-building tasks of gradually increasing intensity (small steps).
The study describes how practices that could be considered solution focused were used to create closeness in a short (45 minute) time frame. The instructions begin: "We believe that the best way for you to get close to your partner is for you to share with them and for them to share with you.” and goes on to discuss how closeness produced in the studies "seems similar in many important ways to the felt closeness in naturally occurring relationships that develop over time", defining closeness as “including other in the self”, an interconnectedness of self and other, a process in which people feel “validated, understood and cared for”.
Catron describes how, by focusing on each other without distractions, asking questions designed to gradually increase their level of vulnerability, giving compliments, and then staring into each other’s eyes, these two people found they “ didn’t notice we had entered intimate territory until we were already there”.
She concludes that:
- "It’s astounding, really, to hear what someone admires in you. I don’t know why we don’t go around thoughtfully complimenting one another all the time".
- "what I like about this study is how it assumes that love is an action. It assumes that what matters to my partner matters to me"
- "it’s possible — simple, even — to generate trust and intimacy, the feelings love needs to thrive."
- "Love didn’t happen to us. We’re in love because we each made the choice to be."
Some of the solution focused practices used in the study that are clear to me:
- small steps lead to big changes
- ask detailed questions
- notice what is best in a person
- pay compliments
- behavior change leads to emotional change.
the research it was based on based on: