The Centre for Solution Focused Practice


‘How does that make you feel?’

Well how does that question - ‘how does that make you feel’ - make you feel? In my case the answer is a bit queasy, indeed slightly nauseous, which in many ways is unfortunate since it appears to be the go-to, the stock question that so many practitioners rely upon when they are not quite sure what else to ask. Evan George explores the difficulties with this question.

‘I know I can do it’.

A DBIT (Essex) practitioner new to Solution Focused Practice describes her experience of using the approach with a 15 year old girl who is 'an anxious school refuser'. The practitioner describes herself feeling 'overwhelmed' by what the young person was able to achieve.

Integrating SF . . . or not.

One of the most frequent questions that gets asked on training programmes is the question ‘can you integrate SF with other approach?’ And very often this question is asked from a stance which implies that the worker drawing on a range of approaches is clearly and obviously beneficial to the client. However in SF the answer to this question seems to be neither quite so clear nor quite so obvious.

Evan George shares his thoughts.

10 ideas for times when the ‘best hopes’ are not forthcoming.

Towards the end of a recent training programme one of the participants asked a question about ‘best hopes’ – well more specifically what to do if the client doesn’t answer the ‘best hopes’ question. The particular context involved meeting a 14-year-old boy who had been ‘sent’ to meet with her and who, despite the worker’s best efforts had still not described his ‘best hopes’ by the end of the first meeting. As a group we began to generate ideas about what can be useful in such circumstances although it is only fair to the worker to say that she had tried pretty well everything that we discussed.

Questions and the Solution Focused approach

In the Solution Focused approach the practitioner asks questions - and more questions. Questions are all there is, in essence. So it is pretty important for us to be clear about the nature of the questions that we ask

Evan George shares some thoughts.

Matthias Freitag asks . . how do you paraphrase in Solution Focused Practice?

Matthias expands his questions adding: ‘Do you contribute to the co-constructed reality with paraphrasing? Do you believe in the concept of co-constructed reality? ... and I remember a scene in a Couples therapy with Steve de Shazer when the wife says "sometimes I HATE him" and Steve responds with a re-framing "You are sometimes ANGRY because you care a lot about him ..." - that is the way we paraphrase!’

Evan George responds.

Paula Lange asks about follow-up sessions . . .

We often say about Solution Focused practice that it is 'simple but not easy'. Perhaps we might go further and say that although it is theoretically simple it is neither intuitive nor always obvious or straightforward. Evan George highlights this characteristic of the approach in thinking about follow-up sessions.

Taking BRIEF to Japan

Harvey Ratner has just returned from delivering a Solution Focused workshop in Japan, following in Steve de Shazer's and Insoo Kim Berg's footsteps. He writes here about how the BRIEF approach to SFBT was met.