One of the common myths of the Solution Focused Approach is that professionals using this approach don’t believe in the existence of mental health diagnoses. Nothing could be further from the truth and in this video I explain it.
So I was teaching recently and somebody in the audience asked me a question about how do you use Solution Focused Brief Therapy with a client who’s struggling with something that is like a psychiatric issue, like narcissism, psychosis, borderline personality disorder. And that’s a common question. People ask that question all the time. And I think when you talk about something as different as Solution Focused Brief Therapy, people hearing the message, people hearing what you’re teaching automatically start thinking, because it’s so different what are some areas where this wouldn’t work? Common question happens all the time. So I’m responding to this question. Somebody in the back of the room said, “Oh, Solution Focused people don’t believe in diagnosis.” And I was, I thought for a second I thought, I mean that’s a common misconception about the Solution Focused Approach that we don’t believe in diagnosis.
Of course we believe in diagnosis. Diagnoses are real, impact people’s lives, impact people’s loved ones in their lives. And I think it’s a really slippery slope and a scary thing when we start promoting the idea that diagnosis and psychiatric issues are real. Like I’ve been very upfront, transparent and honest about the abuse that I experienced in my family growing up. And I think it’s a really slippery slope, like, if we start going down the road of like diagnosis is not real, then it’s really easy for like the Elliott to start to think then maybe it was my fault that abuse was happening. Like it was very clear to me that the perpetrator of that abuse struggles with psychiatric issues. Those psychiatric issues and unresolved traumas went untreated for a really long time. But it’s a really slippery slope to start promoting the idea that diagnosis and psychiatric issues are not real.
I think what we have to be very, very clear about is that understanding the psychiatric issues is not relevant to the process of change. Right. So look, I’m going to say that one more time cause it’s really important. So while we recognize that psychiatric issues are real, understanding and resolving them are two completely different things. So like, I don’t have to understand the root cause of the psychiatric issue in order for the client to experience change. Like, I think it’s such a common misconception that we think like Solution Focused Brief Therapy people don’t believe that diagnosis is real and thus we think we can like be positive enough and if you’re positive enough than anything is solvable. And that’s just not the reality of the way the Solution Focused Brief Therapy approach works. I think what we’re really saying is, regardless of the psychiatric issue, regardless of the symptomology present, if you can focus on the outcome and have a conversation that features a detailed description of the achievement of that outcome, then the client is likely to experience change.
It doesn’t matter what the psychiatric issue is. So while we acknowledge the psychiatric issue is real. We also acknowledge that the power of the outcome and a conversation wherein you’re doing a description of the presence of that outcome is much more powerful. And I’ve seen a lot of lives impacted by this belief, not just professionally cause I’ve seen professionals think, oh, so I got this client and my job is to like help them be more positive and that’ll help. Or people who have someone in their lives like I’ve had who have a psychiatric issues and you just think, well maybe if I can just be more positive or I’m not allowed to notice problems, of course you are, you’re absolutely allowed to notice these things. They’re there and they’re real. But a Solution Focused conversations about the outcome and a description that is about the achievement of that outcome.
So let’s not perpetrate that misconception anymore. Like, let’s be really clear about this. While psychiatric issues are real, outcomes are realer, right? While psychiatric issues, like, we acknowledged they’re real and they’re prevalent and they’re there, you can absolutely make a change in someone’s life just by focusing on an outcome and doing a description about the achievement of that outcome. So thank you so much. I hope this video clear some things up cause I hear this question all the time. And I know this is a common misconception about Solution Focused Brief Therapy. If you liked this message, please hit like, please share this video. Help me get this message out into the world. If you’re watching this video on my YouTube channel, click the subscribe button and make sure you hit the bell so you get a notification every single time I post a video. If you are watching this on any other place other than my website, head on over to www.elliottconnie.com. Join my email list. Sign up for the free giveaways I have on that website. You’re going to love it. It’s really cool. And until next time, fist bump.
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