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What we learn from climbing mountains

Updated: Jun 16, 2018

Why solution-focused thinking works when problem-focused thinking fails

In The Prince, Machiavelli observed that,

“…artists who draw landscapes get down in the valley to study the mountains and go up to the mountains to look down on the valley…”

In a similar way, we need to move away from our problems in order to solve them. Seek the higher ground, gain perspective. And from there we can see that there is a way around or through those obstacles that seemed impassable when were down in the valley.

Traditional talking therapies often seek to solve problems by spending more time in the valley, up close to the problem, looking at it from every angle, observing it’s every nuance. And doesn’t it seem so huge and insurmountable when you are right up next to it? When we are stuck in our primitive emotional mind we are effectively stuck in the valley with our noses pressed up against our problems.

Solution focused hypnotherapy takes us out of the valley and up the mountain path from where it’s so easy to see just what needs to be done, which path to take around the obstacle. And doesn’t it look so tiny, so easily conquered from way up here?

It is absolutely not a sticking plaster covering up our problems. Research shows that solution focused therapy is long lasting and effective, because it simply puts the problem in perspective. We can see that the problem is only a small part of the landscape.

My job is simply to guide you up the mountain path. Once there, that sense of perspective, that understanding of how the mind works, will never leave you, and you will have the tools to cope with whatever obstacles life throws your way in the future.


Machiavelli, N., (1532) The Prince

Gingerich WJ, Peterson LT. Effectiveness of solution-focused brief therapy: a systematic qualitative review of controlled outcome studies. Research on Social Work Practice 2013; 23(3): 266-283

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