In the Solution Focused approach, the client takes the lead. Each session is shaped by what the client brings to it, their hopes, their strengths, their focus, their ideas. The client chooses what they would like to achieve and how they would like to achieve it. The more a client takes ownership of their progress, the better we have done our job.
Expressing how then, as solution focused therapists, we can help guide the client along this process of positive change, is tricky. Guiding seems to suggest leading. So how do we guide while following? The answer ‘we ask questions’, is too vague a statement to really convey the essence of the solution focused therapist.
In a recent lecture, Solution Focused Brief Therapist Adam Froerer provided a metaphor that captures perfectly the essence of solution focused therapy.
We stand in a room shoulder to shoulder with the client
The room is pitch black.
The client holds the only source of light – a torch.
They shine the light where they choose.
We ask the client what they can see.
The client answers: “A wall”
“What does the wall look like?” we ask?
“Is it coming from the right or the left?”
“How tall is it?”
Our questions help the client to move the torch, to adjust their focus and get clarity on their thoughts. Clarity that can inform their next step forward. Clarity that had been otherwise sat undiscovered, hidden by the dark.