Earlier this week I did an online lecture and we had a huge amount of people show up. I think we had right at about 2,000 people, which was crazy cuz they only had about three or four days to sign up for the event. And as I was talking about Solution Focused Brief Therapy, and here’s how you apply the solution focused diamond, here’s how you ask the questions that we ask, and here’s how you use the skills of Solution Focused Brief Therapy.
I realized that most of the questions weren’t necessarily about Solution Focused Brief Therapy and the skills, they were about like the foundation and how we view our clients. And I’m starting to think about this more as like the art of showing up.
It’s really important that you understand you have to show up in order for opportunities to happen. You have to stay engaged, you have to stay there. Now, I don’t mean, obviously, when talking to your clients as if you’re gonna get up and walk out… but there is a point where the client says something really hard or the client is doubtful of themselves. And we do kind of disengage linguistically. We stop believing that they can accomplish change. And we think this is a client that doesn’t know what they want. Or this is a client that can’t change, or this is a client that’s having a hard time being able to do this or that. We gotta realize we’ve gotta stay in the process.
I want to give you an example of something that happened in my life that kind of speaks to this. So later on this summer, I’m doing a lecture. I’m doing a huge lecture, this huge organization, super influential. It’s one of those things that’s just gonna take your career to another place. And I’m part of the planning process for the workshop that I’m doing. And the organizer of the event wanted to get together with all the people who are planning. So I was like, cool. So I show up to the Zoom meeting and I was the only one there. All the people part of the planning weren’t there. So they said, “Elliott, what are you guys gonna say in your workshop?” And I said, “Well, we’re gonna say this, this, and this.” And the organizers were so moved, they were like, “Oh my gosh, we want you to be the featured lecturer now. We want you to come back to another lecture we’re doing soon. Like we are so moved by what you just said in this meeting. We want to use you more.” And at the end of that meeting, I thought like the only thing I did was show up for opportunities to start to happen.
And it made me think about therapy sessions. You gotta stay engaged when the client is saying, “I don’t know if I can change. I don’t want to be here.” When the client is saying things that sound to you like they’re not motivated, you’ve gotta stay engaged and not allow yourself to think that your client is not motivated. When the client is saying something to you like they don’t know why they’re in therapy, you’ve gotta stay engaged and not allow yourself to think that they actually don’t know what they want to accomplish on therapy, because of course they do, or they wouldn’t have come to therapy. Even if the outcome that they want is to no longer be coming to therapy. That is still an outcome.
So if a client says to you, “I don’t wanna be in therapy.” Ask them, “Where would you rather be?” And the client might say, “I’d rather be at home watching television.” “So what would the people in your life who knew you needed to come here, what would they need to notice about you to let them know, you know you don’t need to come here and you can spend more of your time watching television.”
That’s how you stay engaged in the process and it avails you to more opportunities to change later on down the therapeutic track. But you’ve gotta stay engaged in the conversation in order to utilize this solution focused stuff in the first place to accomplish change.
So stay engaged. Believe in your clients. I’ll promise you, it’s gonna open you up for more opportunities for change later on in the process.