Adam, one of my favorite things to do in my entire professional life is teach with you. And what I love so much about teaching with you is, when we teach together, ideas come out and we explain things. It’s the same principle, but explained in a very different way.
Now we’re right in the middle of teaching one of our masterclasses. We host a couple of Solution Focused Brief Therapy masterclasses each year. And this one is the one we do at the end of the year where we talk about our work, and innovations, and all the things we’re doing to continue to hone and sharpen our skills. And you said something in this training that I had never heard you say it this way before.
For years we’ve been trying to teach people that you have to learn Solution Focused Brief Therapy, what I would refer to, beyond the techniques. You have to know the nuances of practicing this way of working in order to really be highly effective with your clients. And you explained that in a way that I had never heard you say before. It was so brilliant. I would love for you to say it here so that people watching this can truly get this idea.
So one of the things I guess that I would say is: I kind of was thinking about it as levels of laws. And I know that that sounds like a weird concept, so I’ll try to explain my very best.
Let’s say we put you in an example where you’re driving. And you should always wear a seatbelt, you should always drive the speed limit. You should, right? Those are laws that are in place. And it helps keep you safe. It helps keep the other drivers on the road safe as well.
Now, what if I introduce a different variable into the mix? Let’s say you have a family member who is really ill, and who needs to go to the hospital.
When you put them in the car, maybe buckling the seatbelt isn’t the most important thing because maybe they’re so sick that laying down is more comfortable for them. So on the way to the hospital, you’re gonna put them in the car and you’re gonna lay them down, and you’re gonna ignore the law of fastening the seatbelt.
And on the way to the hospital, maybe you’re gonna ignore the law of going the speed limit because you’re trying to get them to the hospital so quickly.
Now, in essence what that does is it lays out a gradation of laws. And one is the laws of the land. And I would say there’s a higher law here, which is the law of love, or the law of protection, or the law of safety. And you’re trying to get your loved one to safety. You’re trying to show your loved one how much you love them. And so you’re gonna violate those lower laws, not because you don’t believe in them, or not because you don’t have to respect them, but the context means that you should be living a higher law.
And I think in Solution Focused Brief Therapy, there’s a similar concept. Those lower laws, those basic laws are the techniques. It’s asking the miracle question, it’s asking the scaling questions. It’s doing things that are absolutely in line with Solution Focused Brief Therapy. But there are higher laws.
And I would say if you go up one level of law, then that level of law really is like: hone in on the language of your clients, utilize your client’s language in just the right way.
Then all of a sudden the miracle question isn’t just like, “Suppose tomorrow you wake up and a miracle has happened”. But instead you insert the client’s language and you say things like, “So imagine there’s some time in the future and a change or a shift happens, and now you are walking through life with the kind of confidence that you’re hoping that you could have. And that confidence is one that comes with a sense of strength. It’s a kind of confidence that comes where you can throw your shoulders back, right? And lift your head up high. And all of those words of lift your head up high and throw your shoulders back and walk with strength.” Those are words that your client gave you. And you’re moving from a technique law to a language law.
And I think there’s actually even a more important higher law, which is like the law of hope or the law of love.
Somebody asked a question today during the training and they said, “What do you do with somebody who’s experienced so much trauma?” And I would say that’s the prime example of moving to that higher law. As you move, you ask your questions with this overwhelming sense of love and compassion, and you do that by saying, “Man, I can’t imagine how difficult and how hard and how challenging it is to experience what you’ve experienced. I’m wondering, if you and I, if we were so careful to honor the difficulty, to take care of you in the midst of that challenge and heartache, and we did our very best to do something useful, what would you hope would be the outcome of this process?” By mixing in that level of love and that level of compassion and that level of care, that level of honoring their experience, we’ve moved to this higher law of love.
The question isn’t a question that’s a Solution Focused question only, but it’s a question that is guided by love. It’s a question that’s guided by hope. And so I hope that’s what we get to, that we understand there are levels of adherence, and the highest one of those is the level of love. And that should always be present. That should always be crystal clear in the questions that we ask.
I loved hearing you say that during the training, and I loved hearing you say it now, because the highest principle we should be following in our work is the law of love. The Solution Focused question is just the question until you ask it in a loving, caring way. And I think that’s that highest law that you’re referring to.
And I just wanna make it so clear that all of your work has to come from your heart, has to come from that place of love, and that’s how you actually make Solution Focused Brief Therapy super effective. So thank you Adam for saying that.
I hope that’s super helpful. I hope I’ve inspired you to always practice from a place of love.