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Therapy Skills: Mind Mapping

Mind mapping (Buzan, 1993) helps you to explore concepts, problems, vagaries and emotional dilemmas with ease. It helps to turn difficult situations into those of clarity.
Mind mapping is a technique from the field of creative thinking. Hence, it is a right brain technique hoping to move from logical/vertical/rational thought across to figurative, lateral thinking. Buzan advocates the use of colour, sketches and symbols when compiling a mind map.

The steps are simple

  1. Use language skills to hear key issues. Eg those that repeat or gain emphasis.
  2. Such emphasis may be from body gestures. If the issue appears important and significant gestures occur in parallel, then this would be a good area to mind map.
  3. Ask clients for examples that occurred recently for 'fuzzy situations' they are discussing.
  4. Go for the emotional jugular. This means look for emotive words rather than definitive ones. So go for "confrontation" over "work situations" and "insecurity” over "situations I avoid".
  5. Use the opposite as a way of exploring "semantic space". So for insecurity you might look at "stability" or "security" the opposite will be suggested by the words and phrases they have already used.
  6. A common device for mind mapping is to 'spur off' into sub sections or mini mind maps always attempting to group and draw connections quite literally.
  7. Finally, ask client to get you to underline key words/phrases—gather this together as a focussed theme.

The map below is purely exploratory to show how many different ‘directions’ the map could take.