Today was the second day of teaching a course on using the Solution Focused Approach to work with young individuals in New Orleans, Louisiana. A topic of discussion came up about the process of “developing solutions” in the session and I have been thinking about it all day.

I showed a videotape of myself working with a woman who had been diagnosed with a series of mental health illnesses by the psychiatrist she had been seeing. During the session I began asking this client future focused questions, to develop a clear and detail rich picture of her preferred future, and she provided an extraordinary amount of details of what her life would look like when her best hopes were realized.  What was interesting about the future she described is that it was laced with things that most people would have viewed as negative. For example, in the picture she was describing she would be dating a man that was already married. She went on to describe activities that ultimately did not become part what she did to improve her life. Furthermore, she left out details that were part of what she did after the session. After the session, the client made huge changes in her life, most of which were discussed in the session.

This sparked a discussion in our seminar about whether or not we are creating a reality (that the client will then try to create post session) or we are simply creating a conversation (together) that leads towards a desirable change and not necessarily the changes that were discussed in session.

I am not sure I know the “right” answer to this question, but I do have very clear thoughts on this matter. What do you think?