April 12, 2009

Why are professionals attracted to solution-focused approaches?

Tara Hirst sent me an email with an interesting question. Her question was: 'Why might professionals (therapists, coaches, social workers, etc) be attracted to solution-focused approaches?' I have pointed her to this previous post but I would love to get some additional ideas on this.... So what is your answer to this question:

Why are professionals attracted to solution-focused approaches?

19 comments:

  1. Hi Coert,
    and Happy Easter!!

    Why are professionals attracted to solution-focused approaches?
    I can only answer for myself.
    And my answer is:
    1 - because it works
    2 - because it is scientific (i.e. it has a reasonable evidence-base)
    3 - (and maybe the most important reason for me): it takes the stress away for the practitioner. I would always feel the pressure to come up with a solution. To be brilliant. To be the expert. To solve my clients' problems. With SF approaches, THEY are the expert. I have nothing to prove. I can sit back and relax. Let them take the lead. I only have to follow the protocol. And believe me, results are much better, and come much faster this way!!!

    Thanks for the question,
    ciao,
    Paolo

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  2. I do not have to have all the solutions my clients have them for themselves, I only helpon the side line. what you do not feel for yourself and I try to fix it does not work at all. If the client feel it he/she want to get rid of it and so it works effectiveliy and quick. I experienced this also in my own process. I am not GOD allmighty - pffff what a relieve.

    Happy Easter

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  3. Hi Paolo and Gertrud, happy Easter! Thanks for your great answers! I hope there will be more comments
    Coert

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  4. Hi Coert (and Paolo)

    My thoughts:

    I don't agree with "number 1 - because it works", since people are mainly attracted because they -percieve- that it works. People think Astrology works too.

    Oh, how I'd wish "2 - because it is scientific" would be true. Scientific credibility has quite low status among change professionals. There is a growing evidence base, and recent neuroscience might also point to some "low-level" support for SF (research into affective neuroscience, attention, and memory, for example. This has yet to reach the general practitioners.

    Number 3 - It takes the stress away for the practitioner. Ah, there we have it, Paolo. This is what I think is one of the main attractions of the SF approach. (And, might I venture, one of the main reasons it works. My hyptheses: SF modifies the stress response of the practitioner and the client, allowing their brains to work better. In a way, releasing neuro-resources locked up by problem-thinking and problem-emotions.

    Michael

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  5. Hi Michael, Thanks! You may be right there but I am not at all surprised that Paolo is actually attracted to aspects nr 1 and 2...

    Interesting what you say: "SF modifies the stress response of the practitioner and the client, allowing their brains to work better." This fits with the study I linked to. How does the SF conversation achieve this specifically?

    Coert
    PS happy Easter to you

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  6. Hello everyone, hope you are all enjoying easter. Unfortunately I've been in all day working on my essay. Ive read the comments and they have given me ideas for my essay so keep them coming!!

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  7. Hi Coert, hi Michael, hello everyone.

    Michael,
    very intriguing what you say, and I quote you: "SF modifies the stress response of the practitioner and the client, allowing their brains to work better".
    I never thought about it. Interesting!!
    It sure resonates with me.

    About my point 1, I meant to say: it works as well as any approach that I tried so far, if not better, in terms of oucomes - and AT THE SAME TIME it leads to results in much shorter time, with little or no stress for me. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clarify, Michael!

    You guys have a good night,
    ciao,
    Paolo

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  8. I'm not a professional but I will tell you why I am attracted to it.

    I think it fosters auto-efficacy and awareness and those two are extremely important to me.

    And even if it is a search for solutions to problems, the accent is not on "You've got problems" but on "You've got the POWER."

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  9. What Peter said about awareness and own power suites best to me. If we speak about science and a better working brain I turn around and go away because you do not solve any whatever problem only with your brain or science.
    Why working with models when people are concerned? Why not even think about working from the heart and feel what is really needed? Not all human beings are the same and react in the same way and you cannot solve a problem to the root by only looking at the future.The root of the problem must be known to change in a profound way. If you do not look that deep it would be the same than only pick the leaves and not also the root of weeds - it quickly grow again and so is the riffraff in one/s psyche. Even in business it does not work if you do not look at the root of a problem.

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  10. Gertrud, I believe models can help a lot. They can guide and provide clues to better approaches.
    Of course, if they are used in a rigid way, some problems might arise.

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  11. Thanks to all who contributed so far! Peter, I think your perspective is right on the mark

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  12. Hi,

    Well, I actually agree personally with Paolos 1 and 2. It gets the job done och it fits with what I know about science. What actually attracts people towards the approach is another manner.

    For me, SF is attractive also because it makes it easier to work with complex situations as opposed to "simply" complicated. For complicated situations you frequently know what to do: it could be CBT, medications, training, etc. In complex situations, where you don't really understand the situation and the mechanisms, SF is perfect. It allows you to act under great uncertainty.

    In most real life situations there are both complex and complicated aspects, which means that SF might not be enough. For the complicated stuff, you need things like psychology, economy (of which we often ARE the experts, unashamedely).

    I think there is a false and misleading distinction between problem-solving and solution-building. Both aspects are frequently needed at the same time, to help us deal with a life that is both complicated and complex.

    Michael

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  13. Thanks Michael for your explanation. Very interesting again. I will later make a list of all the reasons and perspectives that everyone has brought in. I hope a few more people will come up with even more reasons and explanations.

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  14. Great question and I've enjoyed reading the responses. My initial responses were different to Paolo in words but similar in essence:
    The first for me is that it is respectful - even though I love the idea of being the expert, what I love even more is when others are their own experts. In business situations it's great to walk into a room and as Paolo says not have the stress of having to work it out for them.
    Also it's simple (though not easy), to focus on what they want rather than solving their problems. I have spent days in workshops in the past getting to the root cause, having a great explanation of what's not working, but still not being any closer to a pathway to what the group wants.

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  15. Hi Coert and everyone,
    I agree with Paolo and would like to add the following:
    1. I like the inductive way that SF was developed.
    2. I like the fact that it is a theory of no theory.
    3. I especially like the fact that I am not the (primary) change agent, but that the client is.
    From the start it just made sense to me. In the past year I have been using SF I have seen some spectacular outcomes, nothing from the past 28 years compares with it!
    Best whishes.
    Stanus

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  16. These comments are great! I would like to extend the suggestion of Coert and encourage other readers to contribute.

    We are part of the same tribe. We should sing and dance together. :)

    Don't worry about what you write, rhythm will get you up to speed.

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  17. Hi Stanus, Thank you! I had just finished my top 10 attratice aspects when your comment came in

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  18. Hi Sharon, thank you. as you see, I have included your answer in that top 10

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  19. Many clinicians here in the USA are cautious on the sf approach deeming it overly simple ... as well as their love and admiration for the "diagnosed problem." In fact a lead at one of the nations leading children's hospital noted that he consider's his team's work a "diagnostic mill." So ... the sf approach, which seeks to enhance the functional capacity (regardless of the specific diagnosis) is much to uncomplicated. And ... how can you continue to invoice an insurance company when a person comes to the 'best hopes' in 3 sessions?

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