This past weekend I lectured at a conference in in the UK and one of the other lecturers was one of my best friends who just happens to be perhaps the brightest Solution Focused mind on the planet. During his lecture he labeled a concept I have been talking about for years, it’s all about using blame to our advantage in session and it’s magical. That’s what this video in about.
All of those years ago and all of those blog posts to go, I started this process because I genuinely wanted people to be able to improve their skills in using solution focused brief therapy. And one of the things that I’ve been saying for so long is the importance of, of complimenting but not just complimenting, but helping clients see the positive outcomes of their actions even in the midst of difficult struggles, which I think goes a bit beyond compliments I think goes a bit beyond just pointing out successes and just pointing out strengths and resources. I think sometimes when, when people are really, really difficult place, it’s hard for them new, except that, uh, that they do have strengths and they do have resources. But it’s so important that we figure out a way to help that happen, uh, in order to really impact their lives. I’ve said it a thousand times.
If you want to impact someone’s life, you have to be able to impact what they see when they look in a mirror. And one of the things I’ve said so often is you have to be able to give a compliment with evidence. You have to be able to give a confident, a compliment with data supporting the presence of that compliment. And this past weekend, I’m here in um, Essex England in a small city called Colchester. And I was listening to a really good friend of mine, uh, the most brilliant solution focused brief therapy mind that I know, a guy by them name of Chris Iveson. And uh, we were, I was listening talk about this, this concept, and he referred to it as blame language. Now, so often in our world, blame is a really powerful negative thing, but it can also be a really powerful positive thing and have a very powerful, positive impact on our client’s lives and the way that it works.
And I like I asked these type of questions all the time of my practice and I’ve always referred to it as, as, uh, putting the compliment in the question. But I loved Chris Labeling as blame language. And I want you to tell, I want to explain to you how it works. If you aren’t, let’s say, so let me give an example. If you are a parent, let’s say you’re a mother and you have a 13 year old child who is struggling and I, most of the parents that I know either on personalized from a work life, when your child is struggling, it impacts the way you view yourself as a parent. You literally feel like a failure as a parent because of the parallels that you’re your of your child in the the difficulties your child might be having. So imagine how you feel or how our clients feel as a parent if they come to therapy because of the difficulties of the child or the child’s on probation, broken rules in school, broken the law.
Who knows what it is. If I simply say, I think you’re a good mother because then the parent is very likely to argue with the compliment and then I have to work to come up with enough data to overcome the argument and why we said if you put to the compliment and the question or as Chris says, use blame language, then the compliment, it’s much more easily received. And I’ll give you an example. Several years ago I was working with a mom and a teenage son and the mom was just super duper upset with his teenage son. And in the session she described him as, he’s never learned anything. I’ve tried to teach him…she literally said that… He’s never learned anything. I’ve tried to teach him. So the kid is sitting in his chair, he’s really upset and he’s sighing and he’s huffing and he’s puffing and all that stuff.
And then about halfway through the session he says to me, may I be excused for a moment? And I looked at the mom and the mom nodded and he said, I need to go into the restroom. And he gets up, he walks across me and his mother and he says, excuse me, and he goes out the door. A few minutes later he comes back and I said, how did you teach him manners even while he was upset or how did you teach him to, to demonstrate proper manners even while he was upset and the mother said, manners are very important in our family. And I said, and how did you instill that in him, in him? And she began to tell how through the years she has reinforced how important being respectful is. And while she’s doing it, she’s complimenting herself and complimenting the Kiddo. Because when I saw the positive behavior, I blamed the mother’s parenting for it.
So sometimes we, we the word blame, which is a negative connotation, but it’s actually very powerful. And if you could use blame language in your sessions for positive actions, then you’re much more likely to be able to get clients to receive that positive action, the presence of that positive action and impact their behavior in a really, really a positive way. So shout out to Chris Iveson and thank you man. Like as usual, uh, I’m fortunate enough I get to spend a lot of time when we’re just saw him a couple of days ago and I’m going to see him in a couple of days and one of my closest friends, one of brilliant minds and of course shares an idea and kind of puts a label on an idea that is just so important in our work. So go practice this in your work. Thank you for watching this video. Please like and comment a share it. Hit subscribe and subscribe button on my youtube channel because I post a video at least every week I’ve got some new stuff that’s about to come out. And you gonna find really cool. Uh, but I’d love to hear what you think of this idea of blame language.