The Power of Blaming

Posted by Elliott Connie - February 17, 2019 - Solution Focused Therapy - No Comments

This past weekend I lectured at a conference in in the UK and one of the other lecturers was one of my best friends who just happens to be perhaps the brightest Solution Focused mind on the planet. During his lecture he labeled a concept I have been talking about for years, it’s all about using blame to our advantage in session and it’s magical. That’s what this video in about.


All of those years ago and all of those blog posts to go,
I started this process because I genuinely wanted people to be able to improve
their skills in using solution focused brief therapy. And one of the things
that I’ve been saying for so long is the importance of, of complimenting but
not just complimenting, but helping clients see the positive outcomes of their
actions even in the midst of difficult struggles, which I think goes a bit
beyond compliments I think goes a bit beyond just pointing out successes and
just pointing out strengths and resources. I think sometimes when, when people
are really, really difficult place, it’s hard for them new, except that, uh,
that they do have strengths and they do have resources. But it’s so important
that we figure out a way to help that happen, uh, in order to really impact
their lives. I’ve said it a thousand times.

If you want to impact someone’s life, you have to be able
to impact what they see when they look in a mirror. And one of the things I’ve
said so often is you have to be able to give a compliment with evidence. You
have to be able to give a confident, a compliment with data supporting the
presence of that compliment. And this past weekend, I’m here in um, Essex
England in a small city called Colchester. And I was listening to a really good
friend of mine, uh, the most brilliant solution focused brief therapy mind that
I know, a guy by them name of Chris Iveson. And uh, we were, I was listening
talk about this, this concept, and he referred to it as blame language. Now, so
often in our world, blame is a really powerful negative thing, but it can also
be a really powerful positive thing and have a very powerful, positive impact
on our client’s lives and the way that it works.

And I like I asked these type of questions all the time of
my practice and I’ve always referred to it as, as, uh, putting the compliment
in the question. But I loved Chris Labeling as blame language. And I want you
to tell, I want to explain to you how it works. If you aren’t, let’s say, so
let me give an example. If you are a parent, let’s say you’re a mother and you
have a 13 year old child who is struggling and I, most of the parents that I
know either on personalized from a work life, when your child is struggling, it
impacts the way you view yourself as a parent. You literally feel like a
failure as a parent because of the parallels that you’re your of your child in
the the difficulties your child might be having. So imagine how you feel or how
our clients feel as a parent if they come to therapy because of the
difficulties of the child or the child’s on probation, broken rules in school,
broken the law.

Who knows what it is. If I simply say, I think you’re a
good mother because then the parent is very likely to argue with the compliment
and then I have to work to come up with enough data to overcome the argument
and why we said if you put to the compliment and the question or as Chris says,
use blame language, then the compliment, it’s much more easily received. And
I’ll give you an example. Several years ago I was working with a mom and a
teenage son and the mom was just super duper upset with his teenage son. And in
the session she described him as, he’s never learned anything. I’ve tried to
teach him…she literally said that… He’s never learned anything. I’ve tried
to teach him. So the kid is sitting in his chair, he’s really upset and he’s
sighing and he’s huffing and he’s puffing and all that stuff.

And then about halfway through the session he says to me,
may I be excused for a moment? And I looked at the mom and the mom nodded and
he said, I need to go into the restroom. And he gets up, he walks across me and
his mother and he says, excuse me, and he goes out the door. A few minutes
later he comes back and I said, how did you teach him manners even while he was
upset or how did you teach him to, to demonstrate proper manners even while he
was upset and the mother said, manners are very important in our family. And I
said, and how did you instill that in him, in him? And she began to tell how
through the years she has reinforced how important being respectful is. And
while she’s doing it, she’s complimenting herself and complimenting the Kiddo.
Because when I saw the positive behavior, I blamed the mother’s parenting for it.

So sometimes we, we the word blame, which is a negative
connotation, but it’s actually very powerful. And if you could use blame
language in your sessions for positive actions, then you’re much more likely to
be able to get clients to receive that positive action, the presence of that
positive action and impact their behavior in a really, really a positive way.
So shout out to Chris Iveson and thank you man. Like as usual, uh, I’m
fortunate enough I get to spend a lot of time when we’re just saw him a couple
of days ago and I’m going to see him in a couple of days and one of my closest
friends, one of brilliant minds and of course shares an idea and kind of puts a
label on an idea that is just so important in our work. So go practice this in
your work. Thank you for watching this video. Please like and comment a share
it. Hit subscribe and subscribe button on my youtube channel because I post a
video at least every week I’ve got some new stuff that’s about to come out. And
you gonna find really cool. Uh, but I’d love to hear what you think of this
idea of blame language.

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