Do You Have to “Be” Solution Focused to “Do” Solution Focused?
This a question I have been asked many times over the years. In fact, I have wondered it myself. This week I had something happen that once again thrust this question into the forefront of my mind, that’s what inspired this video.
The other day, I did a webinar. This company contacted me months ago and they asked me if I would do a webinar that they were hosting about solution-focused brief therapy. And it was… it was really fun, I’ve done a ton of webinars, but this was a little bit different in that it was the largest webinar that this organization as I’ve ever hosted. 1737 people signed up for this webinar, it was really cool, really amazing experience. And if you know me, you know like I get super excited and super enthusiastic to share about solution-focused brief therapy and… and this was a really, really cool experience. But something interesting happened after the webinar was over that got me to thinking about this idea, “Do you have to be solution-focused… would you have to live solution-focused in order to do solution-focused?” So let me explain to you what happened and… and then we’ll go from there.
So the webinar and ended, and during the webinar, I taught about, you know, really taking solution-focused brief therapy to a deeper level and thinking about this approach beyond just the technique so the questions really kind of getting solution-focused brief in your bones. And towards the end of the webinar, I gave people the opportunity to sign up for one of my… one of my learning opportunities if they if they wanted to. Webinar lasts about 90 minutes or so. I spent about 5 minutes talking about the opportunity to learn more if they wanted to learn more. And one of the reasons that I do that is because, whenever I do webinars, I always know I’m going to get emails from people saying they want to learn more because only so much you can learn on a 60 to 90 minute webinar. So I’ve just decided that from now on I’ll give people… I’ll just kind of preempt it, “If anybody on this call wants to learn more, anybody on this webinar wants to learn more, here’s an opportunity to learn more,” that kind of thing.
So anyway, webinar ends and a couple hours after the webinar, I got this like incredibly negative email from this person who… who said like, “I signed up for a webinar, not a commercial,” and it really kind of bucked me because I spent hours preparing that content for that webinar and did like real teaching. And I showed video examples, I stayed… even though the webinar was scheduled for 60 minutes, I stayed an extra 30 minutes and I asked… answered every question. And remember, there’s over 1000 people, over 50… over 1700 people signed up for this and I stayed on and answered every single question. So, you know, there were a boatload of questions, but this person is sending me an email because they didn’t like that I gave him the ‘opportunity’ to sign up for this course. And it really bugged me and I went back and I watched the replay, and of the 90 minutes, less than 5 of it was spent talking about this opportunity. And it got me to thinking, I don’t know why some of us, we spend so much time focused on what’s wrong that we miss the beauty and wonderfulness of what’s right. And I think that really is the essence of this question, “Do I have to live solution-focused brief therapy in order to do solution-focused brief therapy?”
So in one hand, I’ll say no, solution-focused brief therapy is a skill and you can practice it. There’s this idea that solution-focused brief… brief therapy people are more positive and kind of, you know, rosy sunshine kind of people, ignoring problems. And that’s not true, solution-focused brief therapy have every emotion that everybody else experiences. They run the gamut of every… everything. And some of my closest friends are wonderful solution-focused practitioners and quite pessimistic and… and some like… some others are really positive and… but the one thing that’s true is you do… if you’re going to go into a session with the best assumptions and with the honed ability to notice what’s right in your clients life and to notice the good in your clients life, then you have to practice that skill in your world. And… and it shocks me sometimes how things like what I just described will happen. Like think about that for a second. I did a free webinar, you didn’t have to pay anything to sign up. And of a 90 minute time period, about 86 of those minutes was completely focused on delivering high-quality teaching about solution-focused brief therapy. But for some reason, some people spent more time catching the part they didn’t like and it caused them to miss the beauty of what they did like.
Now, this is not about me, I’m fine, it doesn’t matter. Like, people can send me negative emails that they about things that they want to, but I also want you to understand, if you live your life looking for problems, that’s what you’ll notice. If you live your life looking for exceptions and beauty and strengths and positivity, then that’s what you’ll notice. And when I look around this world and all of the things going on, I want to contribute to a world where more of us spend more time looking for the rightness and the beauty and the eloquence of this world than the problems. Because the worst thing about problems is, if you spend time noticing a problem, then you miss the beauty of it and you miss the positivity. And I would rather spend my time so focused on what’s right and the wonderfulness and the beauty than noticing the opposite and ruining my… my experiences. And I think that bleeds over into the work we do with our clients because I can’t walk through my life being negative and noticing problem and then going to a session and think that I’m going to all of a sudden develop this ability to notice my clients’ strengths. And if you’re going to use solution-focused brief therapy, then that’s what you have to be able to do. It takes that level of attention. You have to notice beauty in order to help your iein have a conversation that moves their lives towards their desired outcome as opposed to away from the problem. That’s the mind shift that solution-focused brief therapy requires.
So do we have to live a certain way to do solution-focused brief therapy? I honestly think, no, you can be whoever you are and do solution focus. The one thing I will say is you do have to practice honing your senses to notice rightness instead of wrongness or else you miss it. And it’s not a switch you can just turn on and off inside of session and outside of session. So I hope you like this blog video. If you did, please like it, share it, I really appreciate all the comments. Thank you guys for following me, supporting me and watching these videos. I adore you and I’ll see you in the next video.