I want to tell you exactly why Solution Focused Brief Therapy is very hard to practice. So I was in a meeting earlier today with a bunch of people who are not psychotherapy professionals. We’re working on a project together. We were having a meeting and I was explaining to them what Solution Focused Brief Therapy is.
And I find that this is a really difficult process to explain to people who didn’t study it in school as a part of their graduate studies and haven’t been practicing it for years, because having conversations with people about their past successes and projecting those past successes and resources into a future, it’s a very unusual conversation most of the world does not talk like this. Most of the world does not interact like this. Most of the world, this is just not the way that we interact, but here’s what I think.
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And I hope that this makes it more clear to you on what we’re doing in the session. So you can then experience it as more straight forward. And I hope the explanation I gave today will be an explanation that you can use, because I think it makes it so much more clear. But what I think a Solution Focused Brief Therapist is doing is utilizing hope and making a ‘hoped for future’ tangible. Because once someone has a ‘hoped for future’ and they believe that it could be true, once we have the grand idea of hope. But we make it tangible so that it is real. And it is something that can happen in a person’s life. Then it changes the way they pursue that good thing, right. It changes the way they go about pursuing and creating their future.
So an example would be in Solution Focused Brief Therapy, we ask people about their past, right? “So what are your best hopes from our talking?” “I want to be happy.” “So can you tell me about a time in your past when happiness was in your life, even if it was just there for a bit?” Because we’re asking about that past, because if the person can acknowledge that happiness has been a part of their story in the past, then it makes it more tangible and more realistic that it could be a part of their life in the future.
That’s what makes this approach so amazing, is we take people’s intangible hopes and make them tangible ideas on what people can achieve and accomplish in the future. That’s the magic of Solution Focused Brief Therapy. I think in fact, that’s the magic of Psychotherapy.
So when you’re working with your clients, I want you to remember, I’m not just doing a description for description sake. I’m certainly not just talking about miracles. What I’m doing is I’m asking people to take this intangible idea that you’re hoping for in the future and having conversations about it and make it feel real and possible and tangible. And grab-able that make it feel remarkable.
I think that’s what Solution Focused Brief Therapy is. That’s what we’re doing with our clients. And once you understand that, then it becomes much more simple and straightforward to do. And certainly a more easy to describe to our colleagues who do something else or people in your life who don’t understand this stuff. I think that’s the magic of Solution Focused Brief Therapy.
So just understand, what we’re doing is we’re taking an intangible hope and making it tangible, real, possible, because once a person believes that their hope for a future can be real, then it changes everything about the way they think, about the way they conduct themselves, or the way they believe, about the way they work. And that’s really the essence of this work.
You know, I’ve seen this happen so many times in our work. I think about working with people’s struggle with like addictions and they walk into my office and they just think like, I’m an addict and I’m going to be drinking forever. I’m going to be using drugs forever. And you ask them about like, what was your life like before the alcohol and drugs? And they telling you about it.
“So suppose you woke up tomorrow and you were that sober version of yourself again, what would you notice?” You can watch them, the more they believe that they can live a sober life, it changes the way they go about creating the next chapter of their life. That’s the essence of this approach. That’s the essence of this work. And I hope that that kind of makes some sense to you. thanks for watching.
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