So this is a big day for me. I was invited to come speak to a class here at Texas Christian University, TCU. And for many, many years there were professors here that didn’t like me. I’ll say that, and I won’t go into reasons why, but they were, they were for reasons of things I could not control. And recently some of those professors have retired and there’s a new professor there, and she asked me to come speak to her class at TCU. So I’m super excited. I’ve always wanted to do this.
I’m a black dude from inner city Boston, right. So when I got introduced to Solution Focused Therapy, and this is all the way back in like 2004, one of the huge components of this approach was like celebrating your client’s successes.
So I was like, Oh, that sounds reasonable. Like I understand that. So I wanted to know how does that work? And they had something called the ‘wow’ response. Have you guys, have you guys understand this? And the ‘wow’ response is Insoo Kim Berg would sit down with a client and she’d say, Tell me how your week was.
And the client would say, I had a pretty good week. And she’d go, Wow. And I was like, I can’t say that. Like that’s, that’s just not coming outta my face. So there, there are things, just like anything else, it evolves over time. And I started writing books and making videos about what I thought were the evolutions that needed to happen.
And some people got really upset with me. You’re changing what Steven and Sue said, Yeah, because that’s what happens. Like if we, if we continue doing what George Washington was talking about, like America, which still needs to evolve, but we would still be like having slaves. Like you have to evolve ideas and some people are gonna be bothered by that, and that’s okay.
But I just realize I don’t sound like you people sound when you’re doing therapy. Like, you guys know how many people who look like me, did you guys study in your textbooks? Like they don’t exist. So like, what does an inner city person look like when they’re doing therapy? It doesn’t look like, ‘wow’. Like that doesn’t even feel even close to authentic to me.
So I had to figure out a way to do this in a way that was authentic to me and my culture and who I am. And then I started writing about it and my books became some of the most purchased books in our field because a lot of people, like we have to be authentic in who we are in our journey.
And like, there’s no way you should do therapy like you because you’re not the same person, right? There’s certain things that fall coming outta your mouth is perfectly like appropriate, but coming outta yours wouldn’t be. It would just be, it would just be different. And you know, you shouldn’t do therapy like she does and on and on and on.
And you should be proud of your iterations. And there are certain things that just wouldn’t feel right for me saying it, it has to be connected to the science, but you should not look like him doing therapy. You’re just not the same person. You don’t have the same lived experience.
The way to think about it is like language. Like where did you grow up? In Texas. What part? It’s a town called Mason, Texas. Mason Texas, All right, now look. I grew up in Boston, Mass, there’s not a lot that you and I have in common culturally, like from our lived experience. So if we go to a restaurant,
I should order different food than you. I should order different drinks than you. I should wanna see different movies than you. Now, it doesn’t mean my culture’s better than yours, but at the very least we have to acknowledge we’d have just different lived experience that drives the way we do things. And that’s normal. And that also includes how we practice Psychotherapy.
Because you shouldn’t look like me practicing Psychotherapy because we’re just two completely different people. We’re both connected to the same science. But you should speak with a bit of a, of an accent that comes from your personhood. And I should speak with a bit of an accent that comes from my personhood. And in order for you guys to be effective, you have to like own your authenticity.
Like you have to figure out like, who am I in this world? Because that’s how I can know who am I in this, in this session. And the hardest thing the world to do is to be authentic. And I’m gonna sound old, but at 22, you’re not there. You shouldn’t be there yet. Like you’re very young. So you haven’t figured out exactly who you are.
And it’s a journey and it’s a process. But the scariest thing in this world is to be authentic. Because when you’re authentic and things happen to you, they hurt more because you’re vulnerable and you’re exposed. And it took me a really long time to be like, I’m going to be the guy who does therapy in a hoodie. Because this is how I’m most comfortable.
Like, this is just how I feel at my best. And I, I don’t think I was that way at 30, but I’m I’m that way now. It just took a while. So you have to be your like, true, genuine, authentic self. And don’t do it like a textbook. The textbook is like the framework, but you have to marry that information with your personality.
And that’s a really hard thing. But think about how many of you guys have a partner? Do you have a, like a partner? Okay, So think about your partner. If you came home and you went, I read a textbook that says loving relationships hug more, so I will hug you twice a day. Your partner’s gonna be like, for real.
Or if an alarm clock goes off and you’re like, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. It is time for me to kiss you because that’s what the tech like, it doesn’t feel right. You know what I mean? Like there’s no, I want you to hug me because you love me. I want you to hug me because being in an embrace with me makes you feel good.
I want you to hug me because you want to make me feel good. Your questions have to feel like that. I’m asking you this question, not because Guy Shannon wrote a book, but I’m asking you this question because I believe in you and your clients can tell, like your clients know when you’re full of shit they know. And never forget, like your clients only have one professional.
So you might have a thousand students that you see, but those thousand students only have one professional that they see. So if you feel technical, they will not experience you as authentic. They will not feel connected to you. And if they’re not connected to you, they don’t change. Like I promise you promise you guys are gonna say things to your students.
They’re not gonna remember exactly what you said, but they’re gonna remember like, so-and-so thinks I can do this. They don’t have a clue what you said that conveyed that, but they will remember that feeling, right? They will remember that the essence of that, of that feeling. And then they will, then they will change.
But the name of the game is like, I think you should study the technical part. But when you do this 15 minute video, make sure to be yourself in the video. Like Rachel, somebody should laugh. Like if you said, I sit with my students and I laugh, there should be laughter in that 15 minute video now, not just laughing about like, did you see the Seinfeld episode yesterday?
You know, like, not like that, but you should say something like that should be in there. Like your personality should, should show up. It’s so important that I cannot say it enough, like it’s so, so important that you be yourself and figure out who that is. And like I said, at 22, you probably don’t a hundred percent know and that’s okay. I didn’t know. But you’ve gotta, you’ve gotta be who you, who you are.