Hello and welcome to episode nine 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, ideas, and reminders about things we so easily and often forget when we are practicing and learning Solution Focused Brief Therapy. In each segment, I’ll focus on one key thing that I hope helps you while you’re on your learning journey or keeping your Solution Focused Brief Therapy skills sharp.
In this episode, I want to talk to you about the details and why the details are so important. The details of our client’s description builds meaning, and the more meaningful their sessions are, the more impactful they’ll be for our clients, creating the change they desire. We want our clients to be able to visualize what they’re sharing with us in regards to how it connects to what they want, whether it’s the past experience of the history of the outcome, or their preferred future, because it’s more believable to them, more achievable to them, the more detailed the description is.
For example, let’s say our clients desired outcome is to feel more at peace and happy. And we ask them, “When was the last time that you remember experiencing this kind of peace and happiness? They may answer, let’s say, “About a year ago before I started really experiencing this anxiety.” That doesn’t really mean anything other than the fact that they have felt peace and happiness before, which is great, but not much. But if we ask them about the specifics of what was going on that year ago, in detail, and what they noticed about themselves during that time of peace and happiness, and we can keep that going for as long as we can, it’s gonna hold so much more meaning for the client, and a very clear evidence that their peace and happiness is something that is possible, and that they can have again.
We also wanna ask lots of detail about what role they played in their peace and happiness, which is evidence to their internal resources. It can be very uncomfortable when we’re asked to talk about our skills, traits, strengths and achievements. And because it’s uncomfortable, as therapists, we’re more often to try and scoot past it as quickly as possible until we’re in a more comfortable conversation space. We humans, not just our clients, have a knack of dismissing our greatness when the spotlight is on us in a good way. I know it makes me uncomfortable, but the more detail we can elicit in the space, the more that their success is evidenced and visible. So we really need to remind ourselves to just push through when this is challenging for our clients and ourselves.
If we take this concept out of the therapy room and apply it in our daily lives, we get to be more likely to experience success. The more details we have, I mean. I can think of a few examples.
When my children were younger, we lived rural, and they would want me to come and pick them up. And the more details I had in the description of where they were, the more likely it was that I’d arrive at the correct location. When I did Google Maps, the pin would usually land me in the middle of a cow paddock. So I really needed details, and we all learned this the hard way. We all did a lot of frustrating waiting.
Something like reminiscing with friends and family, the better I can describe the memory, the more likely it is that they’ll remember. And if it’s a funny memory, the belly laugh happens, and then everyone starts adding in their parts of the memory.
So the details really make such a difference.
Another thing I can think of is like artwork. When children are young and they haven’t yet got skills and dexterity, we can’t really tell what it is that they’ve drawn, but as that improves, the detail gets better, and we know what it is.
I mean, to be completely fair, my skills haven’t moved much past stick feathers and smiley faces, but I do hope the details are a little clearer than when I was three.
Hopefully the more ingredients I put in a salad, the more likely it is that it will be full of flavor and with more depth.
So I think you get the gist of what I mean, and I’m sure you can think of many examples of why details matter.
The exact same thing applies in Solution Focused Brief Therapy. Once we establish a desired outcome, we want to elicit as much detail as possible so the memories of their desired outcome, or the future of the outcome, can be relived and imagined. Just like the snippet of a movie reel, they get to actually see it, which makes what may feel impossible, possible.
And I think that’s super vital, making what may feel impossible, be possible. And it can be really hard work to keep things super detailed. It can be really hard work for our clients to allow themselves to imagine obtaining and moving towards the change that they want. That can be scary and super vulnerable.
It makes sense that the saying, “Dare to dream.”, really is a dare. But we don’t want our clients to miss the opportunity to ‘dare to dream’. Spending time in the details of their history, of the outcome, and exploring how their internal resources have shown up in the past, gives them almost permission, or a safe space, to dare to dream about the future they really want.
So don’t forget to stay in the details as much as you can for as long as you can.
Thank you so much for joining me for this Solution Focused snippet. I really hope that this reminder helps you as you continue to grow your skills and confidence.
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And until next time, keep being you.