September 7, 2007

What can you realistically expect from the solution-focused approach?

Of course there are many skeptics of the solution-focused approach but there also seems to be another category of people. I have noticed some people expect rather a lot of the solution-focused approach. They expect it to be:
  1. very easy to learn and apply, 
  2. always applicable and 
  3. making everything different and better. 
Some go even further and express ideas like
  1. SF needs to be promoted aggressively within all organizations, 
  2. solution-focused practitioners are more different (always positive, friendly, fair and wise), 
  3. a new paradigm (or cosmic consciousness) is now growing which will make everything better. 
Is any of this true? Not if you ask me. I think these expectations are way too high because:
  1. Utopia does not exist and will never exist; no situation in life will ever be or remain problem free, 
  2. cure-alls don't exist: there is no method at all which is always applicable and suitable for any kind of problem, 
  3. it is rather easy to make a beginning with the use of SF but it is not at all that easy to master it. 
Further,
  1. I believe SF should not be promoted aggressively (there is a difference between telling people about SF and inviting them to try it out and pushing them to use it; the latter will probably not work), 
  2. my experience is, solution-focused practitioners are just the same as anybody else, 
  3. my suggestion is to not get carried away by the promise of methods like SF and appreciative inquiry. 
Instead let's follow a step-by step approach and further discover what positive change approaches like SF, AI etc will have to offer. In my view solution-focused change is:
  1. a respectful and goal oriented approach to reach fast improvement, usually in a pleasurable way, 
  2. originally developed in psychotherapy now successfully applied in many contexts, 
  3. easy to start using, hard to master, 
  4. fun to apply.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Coert,

    couldn't agree more although I see a wide spectrum of scales of grey between: "promoting agressively and telling about and inviting". Which tone is appropriate depends on the situation.

    SF is a great tool for helping people become unstuck, a nice tool for helping people develop (although I am having a few doubts that mixing with other stuff might not be better) and definitely no panacea.

    and yes, yes, yes -- we ARE entirely normal people and it is a serious mistake to expect more of SFers than of other people.

    thanks again for insightful post

    Kirsten

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