Don’t “Ignore” The Problem, Do This Instead

Posted by Elliott Connie - April 15, 2019 - Solution Focused Therapy - No Comments

A common misconception about the Solution Focused Approach is that we ignore the problem. This is of course inaccurate because not only would the client feel ignored but you miss a tremendous opportunity for powerful questions if the problem is ignored. This video is about how to harness the “problem” in a session.


I’m finally home. I’ve been on the road for the past few
weeks covering multiple parts of the world. I was in New Zealand, Canada, the u
s Scotland, Bolivia, multiple continents over the period of these weeks. And
I’m super duper excited to be home and I’m home. And my favorite thing to do
every weekend is take a walk. So even though it’s raining, I decided to go out
for a walk and I notice that the place that I left is very different than the
place that I’m coming back to. Like it’s green and it’s springtime and it’s,
it’s flourishing again. But as you can see, it’s raining. And as I was on my
walk today, it made me think about, you know, sometimes in order to achieve
change and greatness, we have to go through difficulty and struggle. Like we
have to go through the rain in order to get to the beauty we have to go through
the struggle in order to get through and get to the thriving part of life.

And I think, I think sometimes what makes doing solution
focused brief therapy difficult is it’s hard to ask client questions that honor
problem, but lead towards change. And a lot of times people in our fields feel
like the, the questions they ask, ignore the client problem. And if, if a
client comes to us in there in a problem when we say something like, so what will
you notice yourself doing that would let you know you’re coming out of this
problem in a way that you’re even better? We feel like if we ask those
questions that we are ignoring the client problem, the client pain and claims
struggle. But the truth is we’re honoring the client problem and we’re honoring
their strength and resilience in their capabilities to get through that problem
and achieved their better selves. And that’s since we’re invoking the very
thing that happens in nature where the weather has to be this in order for the
beautiful Greens and sunshines and birds and flourishing to happen every
spring, which is why I love it.

Like even though it’s raining, I had to get out in it and
experience this beautiful nature. And this beautiful air because I know that
without these clouds in these rains, we don’t have, we don’t have the sunny
days and the chirping birds and the Lush Greens and the world changing in a
positive way. And I think our lives are that way. Like we go through rocky
times to build us for things later in life. I learned that when I was a kid. I
remember when I was a child, I had a very, very difficult childhood. I had a
real, real hard time as a child. And I remember going on a trip with my church.
My mother is very religious woman and maybe the most inspiring person I’ve ever
known. And I remember being in about 10 years old and we were going on this
church trip. And, uh, we were going from a church in Boston, Massachusetts to
New York, like the entire Church chartered, you know, three, four buses,
whatever it was.

And the bus that we were on broke down on the side of the
road. And this is before, you know, Google and texting and whatever. Like you
break down the side of the road in the middle of the night back then you just
have to wait until someone drives by and comes and can be helpful. So we’re out
in the middle of the night sitting on the side of the road in this bus. And as
a child, I was so shocked. Like how could God let a truck full or a bus full of
people on its way to a church to do God’s work? How could God let that bus
breakdown? You know, as a kid, you just think God would take care of his people
on his way to this church to do God’s work. How could God let something bad
happen? Right? I was young enough to not really understand, and I asked my
mother that question, my mother said

Sometimes you go through hard things to prepare you for
future things. And I always remembered that. And even now when I’m doing work
using solution focused, brief therapy with my clients, the presence of a
problem doesn’t mean the presence of weakness or wrongness. Sometimes it means,
uh, whatever’s coming next. You’re just being prepared for it. You’re being
built up for it, you’re being worked up to it. So it’s really important that
when we ask people questions, we ask them from a position of strength, like how
were you going to use the lessons that you’re gaining from this problem to be
an even better, more transformative version of yourself as opposed to, oh I’m
sorry you have that this problem. How are you going to know the problem is gone
now? Maybe I don’t want the problem to be gone. I want the lesson, I want the
lesson from the problem to carry me forward in a more transformative, powerful
and inspiring way.

And I do believe truly that I went through that difficult
childhood to help me now as a psychotherapist and an educator of
psychotherapists, cause I don’t believe I would have the skills and abilities I
have now without that childhood. So we want to honor the problem. We want to
use the problem, we want to manifest the lesson from the problem in the
client’s life by asking our questions and by doing the therapy. So anyway,
starting to rain pretty hard. So I’m going to get out of here before I get
sick, but I hope you enjoyed this message. I hope you enjoyed this video. Thank
you for watching. Please like share, subscribe to my youtube, channel it head
on over to elliottconnie.com you haven’t been there and always remember that
you’re just one question away from making a difference in someone’s life. I’ll
see you in the next video.

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