Checking validity of goals
It is not uncommon for clients to aim for goals that could be described as invalid. What does invalid mean?
A goal that is designed to meet an inappropriate need (eg a 50 year old wanting a dead father’s approval)
A goal that is designed to meet an appropriate need, inappropriately (eg losing weight by eating grapefruit only)
A goal that is designed to avoid meeting the real need (eg aiming to earn a million when the real need is to be loved)
A goal that is designed to create success for the sake of it (eg enrolling on a course that is too easy and gives no benefit)
These are a few examples; there are probably many ore ways for goals to be invalid.
So, it is important that the purpose of the goal, the need it is aiming to meet and the reasons behind it are monitored.
This is one of the most fundamental roles of a therapist. You are in a position (if you dare!) to question the clients reasons and to help them to become aware of their blind spots.
In a recent presentation in a psychotherapy class, two of the students role-played a client of 42 who wanted to be in Popstars the Rivals of the Rivals. This was an invalid goal, and the therapistâs job was to point this out, gently but effectively.
Often of course, the validity or otherwise of a goal is not so obvious, so gentle probing and monitoring is the best course of action.