So I just got done doing a training here in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and it was amazing. Like it was super duper fun. I trained a community mental health organization. There were about a hundred people there. Like it was, it was pretty epic, but one of the things that stands out to me, it led to such a cool experience in the room and like conversation going on between me and the audience, is people who had been previously trained to do something else.
Like there’s a group of people that were trained to do Trauma Focused CBT. And they’re thinking like, so how do I fit what I’m learning today in with my previous training? That was a huge part of what we were learning. And I have to share, I have bad news for people and good news for people.
So the bad news is Solution Focused Brief Therapy is a very specific way of doing this work. It’s a very specific way of doing like help and change work, that’s associated with Psychotherapy. So if you try to think, like how do I do something like Trauma Focused CBT, where I focus on going into… somebody in the room was literally like, ‘How do you get through the crust and into the poo?’…and I thought to myself, like, I don’t wanna go into the poo like, even in like real life, I don’t wanna go into the poo. That’s not how we do this work. So in essence, like how do I go into this deep stuff?
And then also do the Solution Focused work. And the bad news is you can’t like, they’re not like puzzles of the same. So it’s not like this piece fits with this piece. And the woman said, you know what I’m realizing that they’re two different puzzles. And I think that’s the good news is once we realize they’re two different puzzles, then you go about learning this approach differently. And you understand that I can’t combine Solution Focused Brief Therapy with something that it does not mix with, because Solution Focused Brief Therapy is a very specific way of doing this work, where we are devoted to the desired outcome the client wants to achieve, where we’re focused on doing a description of the presence of that desired outcome.
And we really honor client agency. If I’m gonna do something else, which is fine, I just have to acknowledge that it’s something else. The moment I combine Solution Focused Brief Therapy is something incongruent to it, it ceases to be Solution Focused Brief Therapy. So I want you to understand that they’re two separate puzzles. They’re not like, how do I take these puzzle pieces and fit it to what I already do.
You have to go about understanding that it’s a completely different way of working. And once you understand that, then you understand you don’t have to combine Solution Focused Brief Therapy with other things. I think sometimes we, we start thinking, because this is a simple way of working, and we have learned other things that like we have to combine Solution Focused Brief Therapy with other things.
But the simple truth is this is a stand alone approach, capable of accomplishing clinical outcomes with clients without being combined with other approaches and doing so in fewer sessions. And once you begin to believe in this approach, that becomes a thing that allows you to practice this approach effectively.
Very often people come to me and they say like, ‘What do you do when…? Or, ‘How do you work with…?’ And I realize it’s not that that person doesn’t understand the approach. It’s not that that person doesn’t know how to do it. What I realize is they don’t have the confidence and belief in this approach. So when they face a scenario that causes them doubt, they cease to be effective with their clients. So what they’re really asking is how do I stay effective with my clients and the simple truth is you just have to believe.
And it starts with understanding. I don’t have to combine Solution Focused Brief Therapy, something else. I have to recognize that it’s, it’s a completely separate puzzle from other approaches. So I don’t take pieces from here and put them over here. I have to recognize they’re two separate things. And once I do that, then I can choose to do CBT, or I can choose to do Solution Focused, or I can choose to do Trauma Focused CBT, but I can’t go about combining them in that way because they don’t mix.
And I have to understand that I can choose to do Solution Focused Brief Therapy and accomplished successful clinical outcomes with my clients. And I don’t need to combine it with anything else.