I’m having another surreal experience, where I’m on this ridiculous boat, on this ridiculous river, in Portugal. And whenever I do stuff like this, I always think about Elliott, like a generation ago. Who I was as a young person. Growing up in Boston. Super depressed, suicidal, anxiety, all of it, and going through abuse. There was a time in my life where I couldn’t see moments like this. I just couldn’t see it. One of the things depression does is it creates a veil, like a fog in front of you, and you don’t have a clear vision of your future. Depression and suicidality actually link to hopelessness. Because if I can’t see a nice future, it’s hard to live for something. I’m so glad I hung on, because now I get to have experiences like this, that I never ever could see.
So when we work with clients and we ask clients about their desired outcome from the therapy, we’re not asking what they want. We’re challenging them to see something into their future that they can’t yet see. I’m asking them to tell me an outcome they want to achieve, even when it’s blurry, even when it’s foggy, and even when they don’t yet believe in it.
If people can hold on, if people can just try to think and dream into the future, then those futures become possible, and they’re much more likely to hang on in their current time. And then they’re gonna start having experiences that they can’t believe either.
Now, here I am on this river. It’s ridiculous. It’s beautiful. And with good friends and all that.
But sometimes the dream that people can’t see is sobriety, happiness, a happy marriage, joy, a job they enjoy, whatever. But your job isn’t just to have them talk about a goal. It’s not even really about an outcome. It’s about helping them see something that they can’t yet see, to the point where they believe in it.
Once you can have somebody see something in their future that they don’t (yet) really believe in, you’ve completely transformed their lives. The more they believe in it, the more real it becomes, the more likely they can endure a hard thing in their current time, to experience joy in the future. And that’s what life is about. And that’s what Solution Focused Brief Therapy is about. Probably the most important tenet is having the ability to have somebody describe something to you that they don’t yet believe in.