Many years ago, I decided to become a counselor because I wanted to help people. It was in graduate school when I was introduced to the Solution Focused Approach that my professional passion on how to help people was lit.
In the years since, I have written books, published research and traveled the world in my attempt to teach professionals how to use this way of working in their setting. In doing so, I have always been focused on trying to figure out what is it about Solution Focused Brief Therapy that makes this method of asking questions so effective so I can teach that magic ingredient.
In the beginning I focused on the techniques. I wanted to know which questions were responsible for consistently producing rapid client change. Then I focused on the interventions developed in session but that was not the answer either.
The truth about what makes this approach effective is actually far more simple…… and complicated. It is remembering that nothing, literally nothing, is impossible.
People have asked me many times over the years about my teaching and writing style because it is so different from everyone else in the field. Trust me, I did not set out to be different (and there are many days when I wish I was not so different), but the truth is I am different because I want people to really master this way of working and that requires a focus beyond the client problems and beyond the techniques of this approach.
You truly have to believe that nothing is impossible. What’s more, you have to believe this in the most challenging settings. You have to believe this even while talking to clients who have been struggling with significant psychiatric problems for nearly a lifetime and maintain the belief that even this person can change.
The Solution Focused Approach is based upon asking about a person’s desired outcome first, even before you know what the referral problem is. There is the key, focus on client desired outcomes above anything else. This is why it is so important to believe that nothing is impossible. A professional using this approach must believe that absolutely anyone can change in order to be able to ask about desired outcomes before knowing anything else about the client.
To be clear, I am not just saying to believe this superficially, I mean that people really can change regardless of their circumstances. Really believing that any person can accomplish their desired outcome, even those clients that don’t believe this themselves.
Once you believe this, the techniques and questions of this approach will flow from you. With this belief, you can truly master this approach.
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