August 7, 2010

How can one recognize the solution-focused approach?

There are many different ways to describe the solution-focused approach. Together, these various descriptions can help to get a clearer understanding of what solution-focused work is and how it works. InterAction, the journal of SF in organisations, has provided an interesting list of things by which you could distinguish a piece of solution-focused work. The editors add that not all of these items need to be observed to speak of a solution-focused piece of work. Here they are:
  1. Building conversations on the basis of the client's language, metaphors, stories and behavior.
  2. Using simple, concrete language, "staying at the surface", promoting interactional descriptions rather than mentalistic explanations
  3. Promoting descriptions in specific, small, interactional and positive terms (presence of solutions rather than absence of problems, start of something new rather than stopping something). Seeking useful change and positive difference in all phases of the process, from before the first session, between sessions and afterwards
  4. Helping the clients build a description of their own "preferred future" using the miracle question or other "future perfect" oriented questions
  5. Establishing elements of the "preferred future" which are already happening using scaling question, exception question, coping questions, counters questions and other methods
  6. Identifying and commenting on the client's resources, offering compliments and tasks appropriately
  7. Seeking and amplifying instances of useful change, positive difference and signs of the customer's resources between sessions in ways which build on the client's role, agency, efficacy and choice in participating in such change
  8. Helping the client identify and take small constructive steps in the direction of the desired change
  9. Working from answer to question, from instance to instance. The practitioner's next actions depend on the last helpful answers of the client.

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