I’m actually out running some errands and I stopped and I was looking at my phone and somebody just asked me a question in an email about the longevity, the longterm impact of Solution Focused Brief Therapy.
Oftentimes people come to therapy and they have a positive experience in the therapy room. So the question is how likely is that positive experience to go beyond the therapy room and how likely is that positive experience to make a long-term impact on a client’s life? And I was thinking about that. And so two things happened yesterday that I think are really, really relevant and kind of coincidental is, number one, I had a client that I saw when he was in his mid teens, like 14, 15 years old.
This client is now almost 30 and the client has come back to therapy because now at almost 30, that there’s a different issue going on in their life, something related to their relationship. And he wanted to talk to me about it. And he said, when I was a teenager, I had seen a bunch of therapists, but they all drove me nuts. None of them were helpful. None of it made a difference. And you, and the way that you did therapy was so helpful that now that I’m an adult and I’m having an adult level issue in my relationship, I wanted you to be able to help me, because I believe that you could help me given that you helped me as a teenager.
So think about that. This is literally 14 years later, and this person is talking about the impact of the conversation that they had with me or conversations, I think I met with them three or four times, but their time or the impact of that conversation still, or those conversations still being a part of their life, now that they’re almost 30, and they’re still looking back on that time as being helpful, in fact, so helpful that now that they’re having an adult issue in their marriage, this is what they thought could make a difference for them.
That’s a really big deal and it is congruent to the research in this field, is that Solution Focused Brief Therapy does in fact have a positive long-term impact on our client’s lives. So that’s number one. Number two, another thing that happened yesterday is I have a really, really good friend, my best friend. He is an attorney and we went to graduate school together and he was a really, really good psychotherapist. But at some point he decided psychotherapy was not for him. And he decided to become an attorney and went to law school and he now prosecutor and all that kind of stuff. But he also heard from an old client and that old client talked about how she is now clean and has been clean for over a decade. And she was thanking him for the work that he did to help her get clean over a decade ago.
So, I want to give you guys like subjective experiences that Solution Focused Brief Therapy does accomplish long-term and sustainable change. But I also want you to know that is actually congruent to the research. The research in this space also finds the same thing. So I think sometimes people have these beliefs because it’s a positive conversation because it’s a positively oriented conversation.
People have these beliefs that it doesn’t accomplish long-term change, but it does. I’ve been doing this long enough that I’ve now seen people that I saw years ago. They come, they bring their children to therapy, or like I just said, they had an issue as a teenager, and now they’re coming to me with adult issues. Adam Froerer has been doing research in this space for years and we know Solution Focused Brief Therapy works, and we know it has a long-term impact on clients.
So I want you guys to know that. I want you guys to practice this confidently, knowing that you can make an impact. In fact, knowing that you are likely to make an impact on your client’s lives. I don’t know why people think because it’s such a positive conversation, perhaps it doesn’t accomplish long-term change, but it does. And I know one of the things that people think is sometimes you use Solution Focused Therapy and the client comes back to therapy and they’re like, you know, I’m still struggling or I was doing okay, and now I know I’m having another issue. That’s not because you’re doing Solution Focused Therapy.
That’s because change is hard regardless of what type of therapy you’re doing. Change is hard and sustaining change is difficult. And I remember seeing a couple one time, and this couple said, so they came to therapy and they said, we left your office and we had, what they referred to as sparkling moments, for about two days and then we went back to like arguing and struggling.
And you got to program yourself not to view that as evidence that your Solution Focused work has failed. You just have more work to do because change is hard. So you’ve got to understand that having two days of sparkling moments is evidence that what you did had an impact. So now you want to do something else to have a further impact. So I asked that couple, so let’s suppose we have another conversation and this time you guys walk out of my office and you do two days of sparkling moments, plus a bit of time, what would you guys notice to let you know that you’re back on this sparkling moments and it’s going to last just a little bit longer than it did last time. And then that’s how we have the conversation until ultimately they were able to get more and more sparkly moments until they felt like they could do it and didn’t need any more therapy.
So, so try to just remember that this is an approach about change. Change is hard, but we can accomplish long-term change using Solution Focused Brief Therapy, just like anyone else, if not even more so, so I hope this video was helpful to you guys. I love you guys. Thank you for watching and I’ll see you in the next video.
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