May 31, 2011

Solution-Focused Treatment Planning

Guest post by DAVID JOHNS, LMHC

Treatment Planning in agencies and private practice has often been described to me as a dreaded activity that has no immediate or long term relevance to client outcome. It is seen as a waste of time and as a document required only by funding sources who are looking for accountability. Client benefit is not acknowledged nor is obvious to the clinician. I can appreciate that point of view, having been one of many therapists who have been trained to evaluate and treat emotional and psychological problems. Spending half of my career working in agencies, I can relate to having this requirement explained to me as "a necessary evil". Those are exact words that I have heard frequently to refer to this phase of treatment.

May 29, 2011

N-back training

Psychologist Raymond Cattell once distinguished the following two aspects of intelligence: 1) fluid and 2) crystallized intelligence. Fluid intelligence is the capacity to think logically and solve problems in novel situations, independent of acquired knowledge. Crystallized intelligence is the ability to use skills, knowledge, and experience.

Many psychologists have long thought that crystallized intelligence can be developed but fluid intelligence can't be developed. And many still do. But cracks begin to show in the believe that fluid intelligence can't be developed. Previously, I have already mentioned a study by Jaeggi, Buschkuehl, Jonides, and Perrig (2008) which shows fluid intelligence is trainable for anyone and the more you train, the more you gain. Here is another challenge to the idea that fluid intelligence is not mutable.

May 26, 2011

Positive fantasies about idealized futures sap energy

by Heather Barry Kappes and Gabriele Oettingen
Positive fantasies allow people to mentally indulge in a desired future. Whereas previous research found that spontaneously generated positive fantasies about the future predict poor achievement, we examined the effect of experimentally induced positive fantasies about the future. The present four experiments identify low energy, measured by physiological and behavioral indicators, as a mechanism by which positive fantasies translate into poor achievement. Induced positive fantasies resulted in less energy than fantasies that questioned the desired future (Study 1), negative fantasies (Study 2), or neutral fantasies (Study 3). Additionally, positive fantasies yielded a larger decrease in energy when they pertained to a more rather than a less pressing need (Study 4). Results indicate that one reason positive fantasies predict poor achievement is because they do not generate energy to pursue the desired future. (more)

May 21, 2011

A model of success

The effects of success are as interesting and important as its determinants
If we define success as the achievement of a valued or desired result or state, I think it is fair to say that we are all interested in it. Therefore it is not surprising that much attention goes into the question of how we may achieve success. Many books and articles have been written about how to become successful as individual or how to build and sustain successful institutions. In other words we are very interested in finding out what are the determinants of success. Although less attention seems to have gone into the question of what are the effects of success this may be every bit as important and interesting. Here is a brief exploration of that topic.

May 17, 2011

Childhood self-control linked to later social, financial and health outcomes

In 1972 Walter Mischel of Stanford University did his classic marshmallow experiment. It showed that young children who were better able to resist the temptation of a cookie or marshmallow grew into teenagers with fewer disciplinary problems and better school results. Now, a new study by Terri Moffitt and her team  found that levels of self-control of children are positively associated with a range of social, financial and health outcomes in adult life.  Remarkable was that the study showed that there does not seem to be a level of self-control beyond which no more benefits are gleaned. The study suggests that  teaching children self-control could prevent problems. Also, teaching children self-control is likely to benefit even children who already score highly in self-control. (More about this study here).

May 10, 2011

Solution-Focused Assumptions Survey

Are you a coach, therapist, counselor, consultant, trainer or manager who uses the solution-focused approach? Would you please take a brief informal survey about what you think about clients, change and the process of helping?

This will probably cost you more than a few minutes.

This survey is now closed. Hope to report about it, soon

May 7, 2011

Incremental, self-selected, and contextualized small changes

The research below describes an effective weight loss program which is based on a principle which sound very solution-focused: using incremental, self-selected and contextualized small changes.

Weight loss is coupled with improvements to affective state in obese participants engaged in behavior change therapy based on incremental, self-selected “Small Changes”
by Jenny Paxman et al. (2011)
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a group behavior change intervention involving self-selected, contextualized, and mediated goal setting on anthropometric, affective, and dietary markers of health. It was hypothesized that the intervention would elicit changes consistent with accepted health recommendations for obese individuals. A rolling program of 12-week “Small Changes” interventions during 24 months recruited 71 participants; each program accommodated 10 to 13 adults (body mass index [BMI] ≥30 kg/m2). Fifty-eight participants completed Small Changes.

May 6, 2011

Solution Focused Approach To Difficult Behaviors

Guest post by Mark Mitchell, Los Angeles, California. USA,

How many people work with difficult people? :) Most employees and managers say they do! This concept of 'difficult people', problem focused, offers SF-ers a great opportunity to expand their consulting and help with solutions at the worksite if they can join and help focus on solutions. Creating the right title for your audience is crucial depending on their cultural context. My seminars in California on "Creating Cooperative People or Behaviors" weren't as popular as "Dealing with Difficult People or Behaviors." Sometimes the negative attracts and gets attention.

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