Practicing solution focused brief therapy can be isolating and very hard. People have often asked me how I made the switch from my original form of therapy to SFBT. And I just want you to know that I understand the pressure that comes with that question.

Practicing Solution Focused Brief Therapy can be isolating and very, very hard. People often ask me, like, how do you go from doing like CBT or whatever it was you were originally trained to do, to doing Solution Focused Brief Therapy.

And I understand that question. I understand that pressure. When I was like late in graduate school, I got a job working at a community mental health agency in Fort worth, Texas. And I used to have to participate on a clinical team. And most of the people on the team, in fact, all of them on the team, except for me did Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. And one day I’ll never forget this day. And we would bring in this consultant who was like a well-known Cognitive Behavioral Therapist who happen live in the area.

And once a month we’d have this big consultation meeting and he wanted to watch me do therapy. He didn’t know a lot about Solution Focused Brief Therapy. He’d heard something about it he wanted to see it. So I recorded one of my sessions with clients permission, and we showed him in front of the whole clinical team. And he didn’t say a whole lot. As we were watching the session he was just kind of watching it.

And my boss, one of the team leaders said, you know, Elliott, you’re asking your clients to notice really small things. You know, Solution Focused Brief Therapy is about paying attention to details. And I’m asking my client, what’s the smallest thing you would notice on a day when your life transformed and all the ways you wanted it to.

And you should be asking your clients to watch the big picture, is what this person was telling me. You should be asking your clients to pay attention to the big picture of life. And I’ve always thought that was strange because you can’t really notice beauty in the same way without looking at the details. Like behind me is New York city. And that is beautiful.

I mean, that is the New York city skyline, but in order to really enjoy New York City, you have to go into it. In order to find the beautiful Chinese food restaurant we ate at the other night, you have to go into it. In order to meet the amazing people we met as we were walking around Times Square, you have to go into it. In order to understand the nuances of the Bronx and Brooklyn,you have to drive through the city. You can’t enjoy the city by taking this big, massive overarching view.

You have to go into it and notice the really small minuscule details because that’s really where the beauty and essence of life is. That’s really, really beauty and essence of New York is. And that’s why we ask our clients to pay attention to the smallest details associated with the outcome they’re hoping to achieve in their life.

Because the only way that you can really understand something and the only way that you can really master something is the nuances. And the only way to really hone in is to pay real close attention to the smallest, smallest details. That’s how you do it. I mean, think about this for a second. In order to navigate through New York City, you have to be in it, going through it, paying attention to the really small things.

How could you possibly navigate this city from this high up? How could you possibly do that? It’s a completely different experience to be in it and paying attention to small details as it is looking at the big picture. Is the big picture beautiful? Yes, we did a lot of work to make sure we can get up to the top of this building and have this view.

And we have enjoyed it. We went up for a while. One of my guys is off camera shivering, cause it’s cold on the 62nd floor. This would make 63rd floor, fourth floor actually on this amazing building. But it’s different in it. It’s more beautiful in it and that’s how you have to pay attention to life. And that’s why we ask our clients to notice the smallest details in their life.