The Solution Focused Approach was created in Milwaukee, WI a bit over 40 years ago. After spending some time talking to one of the people that was actually there during the creation of this approach, I realized there was one big mistake made way back then. This mistake means we have a responsibility, it’s something I take seriously, and is what this video is all about.
So we all know that Solution Focused Brief Therapy was created in the late seventies, early eighties in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee. And there was a wonderful team of professionals there, Steve de Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg, Eve Lipchik, Ellum Nunnally and several others. And for years this was the, not only birthplace but the center of Solution Focused learning. But there was one mistake, I learned about one big mistake that the Solution Focused people, the originators of this approach in Milwaukee made. And that mistake has actually driven my career a whole lot. So one of the people I’ve gotten to know, one of my favorite authors, contributors, one of my favorite professionals I’ve met in this field and I’ve had the lucky opportunity to meet loads of remarkable people doing remarkable things, was Eve lip chick who was one of the original people in Milwaukee, one of the co-founders, co-creators of Solution Focused Brief Therapy.
And Eve and I, we had this conversation and Eve explained to me that they made a mistake in their early writing and teaching in Solution Focused Brief Therapy. And what they did in the early eighties is they took for granted that the community, the psychotherapy community knew that you had to have a relationship with your clients. And they took for granted that there was like this magic or like a secret sauce in a psycho-therapeutic relationship that led towards healing. And all they did was write about, talk about, teach and research, the techniques, the miracle questions, scaling questions, exception finding and so on. And I remember Eve actually asked me, she said, “Elliott, you have to shine a light on the other parts of this and, and correct this big mistake”. And for me, like that has really driven a lot of my work professionally. A lot of my career is correcting this, this big mistake because there’s a magic to Solution Focused Brief Therapy.
There’s a magic to the art of asking questions. There’s a magic to what happens when you sit with a client and you ask them about their outcome and to describe their outcome because something happens when you describe positive things. And I just experienced it. Even like here this morning, like I just traveled to Chicago. I’m here visiting my Mom and I’m at my, the house that I knew was my grandmothers, one of my Aunts’ lives here now, and my Mom lives in the house next door, right there and I spent most of my childhood in this building. I spent most of my childhood right here. And when I walk in and my Aunt says to me like, “do you remember when you hit your head on that thing?” And then you start describing these events and you’ve experienced an increase in positive effect.
Now I’m trying so hard to explain to you guys if there’s an art to this question process, there’s an art to this. This is a skill. This is a craft that must be honed. And I feel like I’m failing because I know so many of you are still studying the miracle question and exception finding and scaling questions and best hopes questions. But it’s so much deeper than that. This is an approach that is so far beyond theory. It’s so far beyond technique. It gets into skill and I’m trying so hard to get you guys to see that because the thing that changed my life was understanding I could know all the things I need to know about the miracle question, but unless I understand the process and unless I understand the magic and unless I understand the skill of it, then it becomes very difficult to apply with a client.
Right, to say it in black and white terms, if I just know about the miracle question, that doesn’t tell me how to ask. It doesn’t tell me when to ask. It doesn’t tell me what tone and what content to put in the question. And it doesn’t tell me how to follow up the question, and it doesn’t tell me what to say to the client as they struggle to answer the question. That’s actually where Solution Focused Brief Therapy shines. That’s actually where Solution Focused Brief Therapy demonstrates its true power, in essence. And I think too many of you are just trying to master the techniques and please don’t do that. Understand this is a skill just like anything else you got good at at your life. It takes practice, it takes work, it takes honing, but it changes your lives guys. Like, the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life is understanding this, not just in my professional life, but the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life is understanding this and applying it in my work with clients, getting to see clients change because they’re hearing themselves answer questions in a way they were surprised by or haven’t heard before.
It’s touched me like it’s touched me in a really deep way. I feel like every client I’ve ever seen has left a bit of a resilience fingerprint on my life and thus made me more resilient. I feel like I have fulfilled my own purpose in this field and I’m walking in my true calling and purpose on this earth and I can’t tell you, I can’t describe to you what that feels like and what that is like and what that, what that does. And I just want so badly for you guys to have that. And I just feel like too many of you are focusing on the technique. So please, please, let’s learn from Eve’s words. Let’s, let’s not replicate this mistake that was made all the way back in Milwaukee. Let’s understand that Solution Focused Brief Therapy is much more than questions and let’s go touch people’s lives including our own.
So, let’s make 2020, making this video in the very last week of 2019, let’s make 2020 the year of skill, the year of craft, the year that we build our ability to do this work, in the year that we treat this like a skill we want to get better at. And by the end of 2020, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure you guys do that. So thank you for watching this video. It’s cold. It’s actually starting to snow a little bit. I’m going to go inside and get warm, take a little bit of nap cause I literally just got off the plane but this was on my mind as I was flying. I wanted to share it with you guys. So please like share, subscribe. If you’re on my YouTube channel, hit the subscribe button and the little bell so you get notifications when I post new videos. If you’re on my website www.elliottconnie.com, enjoy all the free content. If you’re not over there, head over there, sign up for my email list cause you’re gonna love all this stuff I send you. And until next time, fist bump.