May 29, 2007

The solution focused approach must be recreated continuously

"For me, this is a central part of the solution-focused approach: the creative way in which it was developed is actually part of the approach. It must be recreated continuously."
- Michael Hjerth

This is what Michael Hjerth said to me in an email conversation we had, some time ago. Just before saying this, Michael had pointed out that Steve de Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg and their colleagues at the Brief Family Therapy Center once developed the approach by closely listening to their clients and noticing what worked. They never copied their famous predecessors like Milton Erickson and the people at the Mental Research Institute. Instead, they kept on developing their approach. I think Michael is quite right.

In fact, Insoo Kim Berg never lost this mindset. I once asked her: “Do you see the solution-focused approach as a finished approach or do you think it will keep on developing and changing?” She answered without any hesitation: “Oh no, it’s not finished. For any model to stay alive it will need to constantly keep developing and renewing itself.” She smiled brightly and continued: “So, we need bright young people who will do that.” I like this a lot. It invites us to take up a much more creative and challenging task than just copying what other people have once created.

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