CT Group Tip: How vs. Why

CT TipsAs a general rule in criminal thinking group settings I stay away from asking “why” questions. “Why” questions usually lead to excuses and additional criminal thinking errors. Asking, “how” or “what” questions is a good rule of thumb.

  1. How is the thinking error we just read harmful?
  2. How have you used the thinking error in the last 24 hours?
  3. What part of the article made sense to you?
  4. How can you use this information to change?
  5. What are some good ways you can deter this thinking error?
  6. How has this thinking error been harmful in your life?
  7. What has the ripple effect of this thinking error been in your life?

Be ready for someone to say they can’t relate to the thinking error. Or they may say it doesn’t make sense or they don’t have this problem. Instead of trying to convince them that they have the error or getting into a power struggle, I would say,

“Wow, this is exactly why this group is important. Everyone has these thinking errors at one or another time in their life so if you can’t see it you are in the right place!”  

I would then ask,“Would you like to know how you have used this error in thinking?” If they say, “no,” I would point the type of error in that thinking, closed channel thinking, and use it as an example of why the group is important to the change process. On the other hand, if they say “yes, I would like to know how I have used it,” I would ask other group members to give an example of how this group member has used the error, and/or give them an assignment to figure it out for themselves by the next group session.

What have you done to help facilitate conversation in criminal-thinking type groups? Visit our website resource pages for ideas and free worksheet assignments related to all the major thinking errors: http://criminalthinking.net/CT/materials.ashx

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About Brian Loebig

Owner of LoebigInk.com, author of TheInkBlog.net, CriminalThinking.net and part-time Technology Manager for the Alliance for Performance Excellence, Brian has over 15 years of experience working in the quality improvement, human services and technology fields as an administrator and consultant. Brian has also worked as a practitioner and administrator in the corrections, substance abuse and human services fields with a special emphasis on technology. He continues to work with numerous community-based non-profits as a web technology consultant, board member and volunteer. Feel free to .
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5 Responses to CT Group Tip: How vs. Why

  1. Abbie Sturm says:

    This is very helpful, I will be using these tips. It would be great if other people added more suggestions about facilitating CT groups. As a newbie to running a CT group I really appreciate the suggestions.

  2. Richard says:

    Excellent article. On the flip side, from my experience of running offender cog. groups. They are typically the ones asking the “why” questions: “Why do I have to do this?”. “Why do we have this rule?”, “Why can’t I get a job”, “Why doesn’t (employer) hire offenders?” Which I teach them how to asked themselves a “what” question, “What do I need to get out of this?” etc…

    Again excellent article thanks Brian

  3. Pingback: CT Group Tip: How vs. Why | Criminal Thinking |...

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