Values can best be considered life directions. Values convey what is important to people in their lives. Simply put, a value is about what a person wants to be doing with his or her life. Values clarification is a therapeutic technique that is designed to help people make important life decisions (Kirschenbaum, 2013). More specifically, values clarification helps people identify and establish their goals, enhance goal-directed decision-making, and take effective action to implement their decisions and thereby achieve their goals (Kirschenbaum, 2013). Values clarification techniques help people learn more about the motivations underlying their behaviors.
Unfinished Sentences is a value clarification exercise that invites clients to complete an incomplete sentence (i.e., “How would you complete the following unfinished sentence?”) to reveal their value indicators (feelings, goals, beliefs, actions, etc.). This provides rich data for further exploration and discussion. Unfinished Sentences is a relatively straightforward and easy to grasp task involving a free association aspect that does not require a great deal of thought.
This tool was adapted from Kirschenbaum’s (2013) Unfinished Sentences exercise introduced in his book entitled ‘Values clarification in counseling and psychotherapy: Practical strategies for individual and group settings,’ by Lucinda Poole.
The goal of this tool is to help clients reflect on and clarify their values in specified life domains.
This exercise is suitable for clients who are ready to set goals or make important decisions. It is not designed to address core problems, such as low self-confidence, feelings of hopelessness, psychosomatic symptoms, or other emotional difficulties.