It’s Black History Month in the USA at the moment. And while I’m a New Zealander living in New Zealand, I have been working very closely within my partnership with Elliott Connie and the SFU for the past several years, that I’ve learned a lot about him, and his culture, and his experiences, and about my privilege, and the role I play in that. I have learned a lot.

And because it’s Black History Month, I just wanna take a wee (short) minute to celebrate some of the achievements of Elliott, because he’s the first African American to author a Solution Focused Brief Therapy book. And he’s authored several books now with a new one on its way. So keep your eye out.

And he is also the first African American whose work [is now featured] in the textbooks, and university programs, and the like, for Solution Focused Brief Therapy. work [is now featured] in the textbooks, and university programs, and the like, for Solution Focused Brief Therapy. work now features in the textbooks and university programs and the like for Solution,

And at Face Value, I could burst with admiration and respect for Elliot having made these incredible achievements. But, at the same time, my heart breaks that this has only happened in my lifetime given how long formal education has been a thing. That doesn’t seem right to me. And then to have learned, and witnessed, about the outrageous road that he’s had to travel (and continues to travel) to continue having the success that he has.

So it’s really had me thinking this month about how we live in a world of such an inequity, and how that may seep into our clinical work. So that’s what I wanna talk about here today.

Welcome to episode 12 of Don’t Forget with Anna Francis. I’m Anna Francis, the CEO of the SFU, and a registered counselor in New Zealand. This video series is all about sharing my thoughts, my ideas, and reminders about the things we so often and easily forget when we are learning and practicing Solution Focused Brief Therapy. So in each segment I focus on one key thing that I hope helps you while you’re on your learning journey and keeping your Solution Focused Brief Therapy skills sharp. Focused Brief Therapy. So in each segment I focus on one key thing that I hope helps you while you’re on your learning journey and keeping your Solution Focused Brief Therapy skills sharp. Focused Brief Therapy skills sharp. So in this episode, I wanna talk to those of us who sit in a therapy space in a position of privilege and wanna wanna talk to those of us who sit in a therapy space in a position of power.

So in this episode, I wanna talk to those of us who sit in a therapy space in a position of privilege. And I want to talk to those of us who sit in a therapy space in a position of power. a therapy space in a position of power. In my reminder is don’t forget that no matter how much we’ve learned, no matter how much we observe, understand, take on board, and continue to become aware of, we will never not be in a position of privilege or in a position of power or both. So how we use language really matters.

Every single one of us fit into either one or both of these two positions. And my reminder is, don’t forget that no matter how much we’ve learned, no matter how much we observe, understand, take on board, and continue to become aware of, we will never not be in a position of privilege, or in a position of power, or both. So how we use language really matters. How we view our clients really matters, no matter what. And my reminder is, don’t forget that no matter how much we’ve learned, no matter how much we observe, understand, take on board, and continue to become aware of, we will never not be in a position of privilege, or in a position of power, or both. So how we use language really matters. How we view our clients really matters, no matter what.

It’s so very important, across the board, to view each and every client as a standalone, capable of change, unique human being, to which we listen, we see, and we wholeheartedly believe in, for every minute we are lucky enough to be in a session with.

No book or resource can teach us anything about their desired outcome. No book or resource can teach us what is unique about each of our clients. And it’s each client’s desired outcome, and what is unique about them, that we find all of the treasures, and all of the nuggets, that we then use to build a rich description of their preferred future, that contains the presence of their uniquely desired outcome. Nothing less and nothing more.

We wanna be providing safety for each and every client. And if you look like me, it’s incredibly easy to not see, be aware, or be or paying attention to, what seems like small or insignificant things to us, but can be very largely impactful on our clients. And that’s our privilege being harmful. or paying attention to what seems like small or insignificant things to us, but can be very largely impactful on our clients. And that’s our privilege being harmful. Or if we allow what we think is best for our clients in a way that we dismiss their thoughts or feelings, in our clients, and that’s our power being harmful. For example, it could simply be without even realizing, your website only contains images of people that look like you and that doesn’t advertise safety for everyone. Or because you’ve learned about someone’s culture individually or in a book or through a course or documentary that you’ve watched, then you conduct yourself with the assumption that your clients connect or live by what you’ve learned at the level to which you learned it.

Or, if we allow what we think is best for our clients, in a way that we dismiss their thoughts or feelings, that can be very largely impactful

For example, it could simply be without even realizing, your website only contains images of people that look like you, and that doesn’t advertise safety for everyone. Or because you’ve learned about someone’s culture individually, or in a book, or through a course, or documentary that you’ve watched, then you conduct yourself with the assumption that your clients connect or live by what you’ve learned at the level to which you learned it. And of course, all learning is good, but we just really need to remember that the very best way for us to learn about the client who’s sitting in front of us, is from our client. Focused Approach, I just had to focus on my client and their best hopes.

So to give you an example, I worked for some time for a woman’s safe house, providing services to women of Asian, African, and Middle Eastern origin. And they had experienced sexual abuse, domestic violence, and discrimination of some kind. And what I learned during that time was even when women were coming from the same countries and the same religious backgrounds, that their customs and cultures within their own families were extremely varied. And I do remember feeling really relieved that by using the Solution Focused approach, I just had to focus on my client and their best hopes. Focused Approach, I just had to focus on my client and their best hopes.

And I’m gonna give you another example, and I’m gonna totally own up to this one. When you’re working with clients who have a name that you can’t read, or say, or pronounce, it’s just very easy not to say it and hope that it isn’t noticed. And I had a really big realization around this way back when I was helping Elliott on Zoom calls and training, and I would avoid calling out people who had names I couldn’t say, which I’m really ashamed and embarrassed about now. So if any of you’re watching had your hand up and I didn’t call you up because your beautiful name was hard for me to say, I’m so sorry because I allowed my privilege regardless to being aware of it, to cause harm. And this is the problem with our privilege.

We don’t wanna be uncomfortable, but we need to be. We need to be uncomfortable when it matters so that our clients can be comfortable and feel safe. Every single human that walks the earth deserves a safety and a therapeutic space. They deserve it everywhere. But that is a whole other conversation. And we can’t learn our privilege away, and we can’t remove the power dynamic between a client and a clinician,

but we can own it and we can do better from the second that we know better. So don’t forget if it’s ever brought to your attention by your client,

So thank you so much for joining me for this solution Focus Snippet. It’s probably the most important one we’ll ever do, and I really hope that this reminder helps you as you continue to grow your skills and confidence. If you’ve enjoyed or can relate to this video, please like leave a comment and share with your colleagues. And don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel so that you can get notifications for our other amazing videos all about using Solution Focused, supervisor, a peer, that you may have caused defense or harm due to your privilege or your power. Don’t listen to them to try and justify or defend yourself. Listen to them to become aware and change yourself. Snippet. It’s probably the most important one we’ll ever do, and I really hope that this reminder helps you as you continue to grow your skills and confidence. If you’ve enjoyed or can relate to this video, please like leave a comment and share with your colleagues. And don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel so that you can get notifications for our other amazing videos all about using Solution Focused,

So thank you so much for joining me for this solution Focus Snippet. It’s probably the most important one we’ll ever do, and I really hope that this reminder helps you as you continue to grow your skills and confidence. If you’ve enjoyed or can relate to this video, please like leave a comment and share with your colleagues. And don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel so that you can get notifications for our other amazing videos all about using Solution Focused,

Brief Therapy in your work. So until next time, keep being you.