Fidelity vs. Eclecticism

Posted by Elliott Connie - June 15, 2017 - Solution Focused Therapy - 6 Comments


There is so much misinformation out in the field about the Solution Focused Approach, including that this approach must be combined with other approaches or it doesn’t work with people who have serious problems. In this video I address this and discuss the different points of the fidelity vs. eclecticism debate. Please help me spread this video.

  • John Taylor

    How to you address common factors literature or the “dodo bird effect”? I know you are familiar with the work of Scott D Miller and Barry Duncan, whom demonstrate that thearaputic approach is far inferior to other factors to outcome. Thoughts?

    • Elliott Connie

      Yes, I am aware of Scott Miller’s work. The first thing I would say is that even though there are other factors that lead to outcomes more than the theory you use, your approach is still critical. In fact, I think their research makes it even more critical. This is because in order for me to have a strong therapeutic relationship, I have to be practicing an approach that is congruent to me as a person. For example, SFBT fits me and the way I view the world in a way that CBT did not. Thus, my outcomes went up when I started using SFBT. To Scott Miller’s point, not because SFBT is better than CBT, but (to my point) because it was a better fit for me and thus made me more relatable to my clients.

  • beverley kort

    Hi Elliott – some thoughts
    You are right – there is a lot of information out there and sometimes hard to sort through. Even the BRIEF team have different ideas. Sometimes hard to know what does become eclectic.
    Most SFT videos are first sessions only – even though less sessions are more likely to happen – the reality is that many people have mandatory weekly sessions or end up coming for a longer periods of time.
    I think some confusion comes from knowing how to stay in SFT if you have several subsequent session. These are some questions I have heard: What does fall under SFT – how do you know? what are some helpful practices for those other sessions, how often do you do “at your best” day? What are some ideas about the creative uses of lists and scales as ways to continue to mark progress and stay in SFT mode.
    Looking forward to your feedback.

    • Valerie Wise

      Beverley, this is a good question as I have experienced this with some clients who come in regularly. I focus on being in the present with them and hear where they are during the session and use the SFT questions without regard to the number of times we have met.

      • Elliott Connie

        This is a good point, we ask questions as they come up.

    • Elliott Connie

      This is very hard to answer as the questions come from the client’s responses. So, we are really not thinking which questions to ask, we are just building question as we go.

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