Hello and welcome to Don’t Forget with Anna Francis. I’m Anna Francis, the CEO of the SFU. I’m also a registered counselor in New Zealand, obsessed with the model ‘Solution Focused Brief Therapy’.

In this video series, I’m gonna be sharing with you some tips and thoughts around things that we so often forget when we are learning and practicing Solution Focused Brief Therapy.

In each video, I’ll be focusing on one key thing that I hope helps you while you are learning Solution Focused Brief Therapy, or keeping your SFBT skills sharp.

In this first video, I want to talk to you about the importance of believing in your clients. This is probably one of the most important parts of using this approach successfully, but also one of the hardest parts to learn and wrap your head around.

Now, I’ve assisted Elliot in a ton of webinars, trainings, and other interactive events. And the one broad question that comes up more than any other is asking if Solution Focused Brief Therapy works with clients who are struggling with dot, dot, dot. You can insert whatever issues, depression, anxiety, childhood abuse, complex trauma.

By believing in our clients’ ability to create change, we are removing the limitations of the kinds of questions that we ask and our reactions to their answers. We also don’t get caught out by believing our clients when they don’t have belief in themselves. So it’s really easy to fall into the trap when we ask our client a question and we get an answer that lets us know the client doesn’t believe in themselves. That leads us to back off from asking further questions about that change that they want.

Now, by doing this, confirms to our clients that we also don’t believe in them, and that’s generally not a good experience. By learning to genuinely believe that each and every client we interact with is capable of change, then all of the problems that they’re struggling with don’t get in the way of our asking questions that confirm to our clients that even if you don’t believe in yourself, I got your back. I believe in you. We don’t overtly say that, but that is demonstrated in the kinds of questions that we ask.

When I was learning this approach, I remember learning about the importance of having an unshakable belief in our clients and it really made me think about my own experiences in the medical system with my youngest son, Alex. Alex sustained a profound brain injury at birth due to lack of care by our midwife, which resulted in severe intellectual and physical disabilities.

He’s almost 18 years old now, but when he was young, we spent a lot of time involved with many different medical professionals, specialists, therapy teams. I had no idea what I was doing or supposed to be doing, and there were some really scary times. I was exhausted, I was traumad, and a lot of the time my best was just keeping my head above water while I learned to cope with all the the things that disability brings. When he was about 18 months old, his ability to eat was very poor. So he got a gastric tube inserted so all his food went through the tube. He had really severe reflux, severe intolerance to the formula that we had to give him.

And by the time he was about five and a half, he weighed 13 and a half kilos. I’m not sure what that is in pounds, but I had enough cleaning up constant vomit that I really started looking into switching him to a blended diet of real food. Now this was not supported by the hospital system at all and I was cautioned against putting food in the tube and told that if I did it would cause all sorts of problems.

I got no support from the dietician, no support from the gastroenterologist, no support from the pediatric surgeon, and this is after two failed surgeries to manage his vomiting. So I just carried on. But eventually I met with the pediatrician. She really just trusted my ability to know as a mom, I wouldn’t put him in harm’s way. She trusted that I would know how to figure it out and that all the barriers and limitations that have been put on me by the other medical professionals, I would find a way around it, which I did.

Because of that belief from the medical professional, I then gained enough confidence to give it a go and make the changes needed, which had a huge impact on Alex’s health, and for me too. There’s zero chance he’d still be alive today had I not made the change. And the outcome for me was that my maternal instinct was intact. It had taken a huge hit when Alex was born because I felt responsible for his brain injury. But by really listening to my maternal instinct with the confidence from the the professional, I was able to make those changes.

So think about a time in your own life when you weren’t sure of what you were doing, or if you were capable, or others had taken your belief in yourself, but then someone somewhere demonstrated their belief in you, which was enough of a boost that you considered making the change that you did. Like perhaps doing some study, taking up a new hobby that was out of your comfort zone, working through your own traumatic events in life. Have a think about the impact that that had on you when someone had your back.

They believed in you enough that you were capable, despite the barriers, despite current or past things that made that a challenge. The impact of that belief that we’ve experienced from others is exactly what we want to impart on our clients. So give some thought to your own life experiences when someone believed in you and the outcomes of times when you have believed in someone else, maybe a friend, your children, a partner, and how that impacts others and why it’s so important that we really believe in our clients no matter what it is that they’ve been through, no matter what it is that they want, it’ll really make a difference.

Thank you so much for joining me in this Solution Focused snippet, and I really hope this reminder helps you as you continue to grow your skills and confidence.

If you enjoyed this video, please leave a comment cuz I would love to interact with you, and share with your colleagues.

And don’t forget, (see what I did there!), don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel so that you get notifications for our other amazing videos all about using Solution Focused Brief Therapy in your work.

Until next time, keep being you.