Mind Mapping Strategies for Thinking through and Accomplishing Tasks

Mind mapping is not only great for organizing thoughts and problem-solving; it’s also great for therapeutic purposes. Several psychologists have suggested the use of mind mapping to assist clients with realizing their own personal power and control over what seem to be uncontrollable situations. These situations can range from addictions to overeating to unemployment. This method empowers the client to set their own goals, realize their goals, and look back and see that they were the reason that they were able to do it. Typical therapeutic methods can take the client’s power out of the equation. When the problem is solved, if ever, the client looks back and assumes the therapist did all the work when this is rarely the case. The basic idea is to allow a client struggling with a current problem to complete one mind map (nothing fancy, just a circle in the middle with the problem written inside with connecting lines to other circles expressing thoughts and ideas) expressing their current thoughts about the problem. These are nearly always self-defeating thoughts and frustrations. Take weight loss for an example. The client will typically come in feeling self-conscious, hopeless, and too far gone. The client may write down thoughts such as “I am too fat to get back to the size I want to be at this point”, or “I just don’t have enough time in the day to exercise after taking the kids everywhere, going to work, and making dinner”. After the client has exhausted all of these thoughts onto the initial mind map they are asked to meditate for two to three minutes, connecting with the sounds and sensations around them, such as the rough fibers in their sweater or the smell of the caf down the street. The client then completes a second mind map detailing their current thoughts on the same problem. Try it yourself! You will be surprised at how much personal power you have over your own problems. The second mind map will essentially reflect all of the personal resources and abilities the client already has within them. As a therapist, you could never come close to coming up the perfect individualized solution for the client’s problem; but the client can indeed come up with the solution alone given the right encouragement. I have used this in my practice time and time again to find the same results. I am always amazed at how little I have to do as a therapist to get the client to find the motivation, ideas, and commitment necessary to make the changes they have always wanted to see in their life. I use this same technique on myself nearly once a week when I run into problems and I have used it with my children and husband as well. The beauty is that anyone with a piece of paper and ten minutes can find solutions without paying for a therapy session.