Solution Focused Therapy

Borrowing perspective

As humans we care about how others perceive us. Our primitive programming prioritises human connection. To a degree, caring what others think keeps us kind. But often we can care too much. And caring becomes worrying. Worrying becomes anxiety. Anxiety can make us feel trapped. 

We worry about how our colleagues perceive our communication style; our office ‘banter’, our outfit, our handshake, our weekend plans, our email signature, our Zoom backdrop. 

We worry about how families perceive our lifestyle, our house, our job, our partner, our carbon footprint, our choices.

We worry about how our friends perceive our personal style, our level of engagement, that thing we said or didn’t say, that thing we did or didn’t do.

The parents among us worry about what our mum and dad friends think of our parenting style, our children’s diets, manners, birthday parties, screen time.

This worry shuts us down, and pushes us further and further away from our own authenticity. We try to be what we think others want and what we think others need. We try and try and try, until we find ourselves a world away from our own sense of meaning. Disconnected from our inner strength. Lacking confidence and losing self-esteem.

Ironically the friends and family members who we love and trust the most will tend to describe us with far more kindness than we describe ourselves. 

When we step, with both feet, into the perspective of a loved one, someone who knows us better than anyone else, and look back at ourselves, we can shine a light on strengths, capacities, and resources we never recognised were there. 

In solution focused therapy we encourage our clients to step into this alternative perspective and we ask;

“What would this person notice about you that lets them know of your strengths? 

“What stories would this person tell that had inspired their confidence and belief in you?”

Sometimes, when our own lens is misted over with worry and self-doubt, borrowing the lens of a loved one can help us achieve clarity on exactly how, underneath all the trying, we are already the person we hope to be.

Mindfulness

Dancing leaves

The tree that reaches it’s gentle sweeping branches over my courtyard is a giant. Exposed to the elements; wind, sun and rain. I often sit back and wonder at the leaves, dancing their chaotic dance. Twirling, tumbling into and around each other; clinging on to the branches for dear life as they twist around it in search of refuge from the wind. The dance is exhausting to watch, it appears miraculous that the leaves manage to hold on.

These dancing leaves remind me of my thoughts. Bustling alongside each other, coiling, curling around each other, vying with each other for a millisecond of space. And yet, when I shift my focus from the busy canopy down to the thick trunk, I leave behind the chaos; all is still, steady, strong and firm.

Refocusing our attention to our core, to what matters, can feel like a challenge. It can be difficult to remember that the trunk is even there, hidden beneath the wild waving, the spinning circus of leaves above. When we accept our thoughts for what they are, leaves dancing in the wind, we accept their busy, chaotic dance, we accept their exhausting acrobatics as an inevitable part of our nature, part of our humanity as we journey through life, exposed to the elements. When we accept our thoughts for what they are, we allow ourselves to release our focus on the twists and turns of every leaf. We allow ourselves to step back and see through the swaying branches to the steady trunk beneath.

This core strength is something we can return to whenever we need, when the chaos above becomes too overwhelming. It is always there, restorative and resilient; a sturdy cradle from which we can branch out, extend, adventure and explore; dancing with the wind and reaching for the sun.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Mindfulness

Connect to your inner self

As varying versions of the COVID-19 lockdown continue across the world, fear remains around how we can safely reconnect with those we love. Many are isolating alone, and for lots of us, isolation is far from over. In such times, the solution focused approach of connecting to our inner strength can be a balm, helping us to build our resilience, so that loneliness doesn’t become overwhelming. You can take the words below as a moment for you to stop, switch off the news, focus on the present, and feel a sense of connection.

Take long deep breath, and release. You’ve got this.

Stay safe.

Connection

From the moment we are born,
We have a primitive need to be held. Soothed.
To feel the warmth of touch.
To feel connected to something bigger than ourselves.
So, in a time when connection is tainted with fear,
And touch, with frightening consequences,
We can feel lost.
Helpless to meet our deep desire to connect.

But something magical happens,
When we start to connect with our inner self.
To nurse our fear with our own inner strength.

So take a moment to close your eyes,
And feel your breath.
See light in the centre of your chest,
Beating with your heartbeat.
Let that light fill your chest cavity.
Let it drop down your torso,
Down through the water table, the rock and magma.
Connecting you right down to the centre of the earth.

Allow yourself to bathe in the warmth,
Of that grounding cord of light.
Feel its strength,
Beaming out to every living thing.
You are a part of that beautiful firework.
Connected to everything.