So most of the time, I’ve been making videos in this series, the SFBT Moments series for like five years, six years, long time. And most of the time I talk to you about like what you should do in order to benefit from the Solution Focused Approach, what you should do to be able to use the Solution Focused Approach appropriately and effectively in your work. Today I’m gonna do something different. And instead of talking about what you should do, I wanna talk about something you should not do because it causes harm. This is the one thing that I caution people about in relationship to the Solution Focused Approach.
But before I get into exactly what it is, I wanna talk about why it’s so dangerous. For a lot of years,I have experienced some discrimination and oppressive treatment in the Solution Focused field at the hands of people who claimed we were just trying to be Solution Focused. And there’s this one idea in Solution Focused Brief Therapy called ‘do more of what works’. So what happens is like when there’s an association or an organization and they’re doing what works, and then Elliott Connie shows up like, this new guy and he’s black and he dresses different and he talks different and he has different ideas and thoughts about Solution Focused Therapy.
They actually thought that we’re doing what works, we’re following Solution Focused principles to hold this Elliott Connie guy out and to do really discriminatory and oppressive things to do so. And it was really hurtful and it was really troubling. And they actually said overtly to me, we are doing this because we are doing what works.
And this is a huge caution. Solution Focused Brief Therapy it’s not principles for life. It’s something that you do in conversation with your clients when someone has asked you to help them. These are not like guiding principles on how to live life. And I think it’s alarming. When we take on these things as like principles for life, the damage and harm that we can do.
I always say to people like, if you’re doing what works, then you have to ask what works for whom, because this organization, it was working for the people within the organization. But the people on the outside trying to get in who might be different because of their skin color or because of their lifestyle or whatever, it’s not working for them. So I want to make it very, very clear.
Don’t try to live a Solution Focused life. You are a human being. When I came into the Solution Focused community in 2008, I actually thought this way, I thought like a Solution Focused life and people do this work must be good. But some of the worst treatment I’ve experienced in this field are at the hands of people that say they do Solution Focused Brief Therapy work.
And they said they were treating me this way in line with Solution Focused Brief Therapy. I can’t help it. Like I just have to be myself. I’m going to call out discrimination when I see it. I’m gonna address wrong treatment when I experience it. And this treatment has been happening for a really long time. Solution Focused Brief Therapy is a wonderful way to work with clients.
It makes a huge difference to be able to talk with clients through this really positive lens, but it doesn’t make you any better of a person. It doesn’t give you any guiding ideas on how to run a successful business or organization. It just causes you to oppress people. It causes you to do harm. And the best thing I can say is do this wonderful work and be humble in the rest of your life. Don’t treat it like you are now better than other people, because you do this work. Don’t treat it like because you do this work, you have to preserve your place in this society.
This needs to be available to everybody. This needs to be available to all. And if you have misgivings about a black person or a person of color in another way, or women or religious orientations or whatever, you’re not entitled to being able to preserve this for people who look, walk, talk, and act like you. You have to kind of understand that this is for everybody. And if you have issues with that, that’s a you issue. So please everybody, like this is not, this is not something that’s like, I’m gonna do what works. And these are my guiding principles for life.
That’s just bullshit. Like this is an approach that we do with our clients that has wild benefit on our client and even has benefit on us just because we do this work. It doesn’t make us any better than anyone else. And it doesn’t give us the right to preserve our place and cause harm to other people.