I was discussing various 'self-help' systems with my friend The Life Coach the other day, and, in a moment of facetious inventiveness, I created an outline for one of my own. Initially it was conceived as pure parody, but now I'm seriously starting to wonder if it might not have real commercial potential.
I'm going to call it Three Doors™ therapy.
In essence, it is this:
There are Three Doors in front of you. Which one are you going to step through?
Beautifully simple. It presupposes that you are going to move forward (not stay where you are, or try to go backwards). It presupposes that you always have choices. It limits those choices to a manageable number.
The image of the doorway is so familiar, so beguiling. The act of opening a door, and stepping through it, is so elementary, yet so empowering - as in a fairytale. It is almost impossible not to feel a childlike thrill of anticipation about that moment of revelation when we turn the handle, pull the door open, and discover what lies beyond. It is such a familiar, easy, everyday act that we can readily imagine doing it, are eager to do it, will find few excuses to hesitate; curiosity will always win out over apprehension.
Of course, what lies beyond the doors will be defined by the clients - perhaps we'll call them Seekers (or Openers?) - in the course of consultation. The aim is to identify their problems, refine their possible courses of action, give them an irresistibly simplified decision template.
I have been thinking that the basic guideline for differentiating the Three Doors (though it might sometimes be modified a little from this, according to the nature of the question being asked) would be this: The First Door is essentially the door of the status quo (but we will not allow passivity or stagnation: even the least demanding, least challenging Door will require some change; we might call this one The Same, But Better); The Second Door is an option of 'safe' change - not minor, but not pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone too agressively; and The Third Door is the route of radical change - the left-field, the unexpected, the "out-of-character" option.
Even the mathematics of it appeals to me: 3 is such a compelling number. We might even develop our action plans on the basis of series of 3 successive 'Three Doors' choices - giving us, within a fairly short timeframe, 27 different possible outcomes.
The possibilities of this are enormous. (Anyone interested in discounted 'trial' sessions during the development phase??)
"Every journey begins with the opening of a door."