So, I’m just a couple of days away from doing a workshop on using the Solution Focused Approach with children, teens, and their families. And I had an experience yesterday in my personal life that reminded me how important this kind of work is. And I’m so, so excited about it. Let me tell you what happened.
So I moved to Texas when I was about 19 years old at a really difficult time in my life. I was having very difficult times in my family and with interactions with my father. And I was just really lost, sad, and depressed. I went to the previous year, really like seriously unwell and suicidal. And my mom had a health issue and we decided to move from New England to Texas because it would be better for her. And after some serious, serious thought, I decided to come with her. And the reason we chose Texas is I have an Aunt who lives here in Dallas, Texas. And, and so my Mom could be close to that Aunt and we had a little bit of a support system., so we just weren’t moving to some random new place. So we’ve moved to Texas. And my Aunt had a friend named Derek and Derek is someone she’s known almost our whole life.
Derek is originally from Chicago. He had moved to Texas and she’s known Derek forever. And then when I moved here, I met this man named Derek at one of the most difficult and troubling times in my life. I only met Derek a few times and then he moved back to Chicago and I didn’t see him again. I hadn’t seen Derek in almost 25 years, almost 24 years ago, something like that. I saw Derek yesterday because he had come to Texas to visit my Aunt. And I saw him. And as soon as I walked in the room, he said, how are you doing Elliott? Now I hadn’t seen him. And he doesn’t know anything about what I do for career or my profession.
And the first thing he says to me, he says, Elliott, what do you do for a living? I always knew you would be successful. I always knew you are going to be somebody. And I thought, how would you possibly have known that. You met me at a time in my life when I was the most troubled, the most in danger, the most down.
And he just kept going on about how, when he met me at 19, he knew I was going to be somebody. And I told him, well, I’m a psychotherapist and I’ve written a few books and I teach people how to do Psychotherapy. And he was like, wow, man, I knew you would be successful. You always just had this thing about you and I knew you could do it. And I was thinking to myself, like, how did you, how would you know? Cause you met me just a few times at a time in my life when I was really, really troubled. So I asked him like, how could you know, like I was really not my best in the late nineties when I met you.
And he, because I could just see the potential in you, even when you couldn’t see it in yourself, you know what? I’m getting my mind ready for this workshop on Monday. And I thought, that’s exactly how I want Solution Focused Therapists to view the teenagers and children that they work with. You have to see the potential through the murkiness and through the behavior and through the troubles that teenagers and their families experience.
You have to see and treat people from the perspective of their potential and not their problems. I’m so thankful that I had people in my life like Derek, even though I only saw him a few times, but people who could see through my troubles and see my potential and treat me in a way that honored my potential. If not for that, I honestly don’t think my life would have ended up the way that it did.
I think I would have fallen into the traps that were troubling me at the time, but I had wonderful people who saw my potential instead of my problems. And that’s how you need to view people when you’re using Solution Focused Brief Therapy. It’s a gift to give to them. So make sure you recognize people for their potential. You may even be saving their lives as many, many people saved mine.
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