The Solution Focused Lens

Being a good Solution Focused therapist requires the practitioner to view people in a particular way. As Elliott Connie and Adam Froerer put it in their recent book*;

‘What really sets our approach apart is its stance – the position we take about viewing our clients as capable and strong and worthy collaborators in co-constructing effective therapy… Once you start listening differently, you start talking differently, and your client changes. They become different… when you believe your clients are capable of anything, they start acting as if they’re capable of anything. They transform.’

This ‘stance’ is sometimes also referred to as a ‘lens’.

Another passion of mine is photography. There’s something about it that encourages you to see the beauty all around you, in the mundane, and that habit seems to stick around even after you’ve put the camera down.

Holding regular Solution Focused conversations similarly affects the way you view people in general after the event.

The descriptions which therapy clients come up with of moments in their lives contain significant details that they might otherwise have overlooked, and photography captures visual detail of moments that might have otherwise only fleetingly flashed before our eyes and been forgotten.

Also, there’s apparently something about images which can unlock people’s innate capacity for survival, adaptability and growth. Last year I listened to a fascinating episode of the BBC Radio 4 series ‘The Life Scientific’ (available as a podcast here:, in which presenter Jim Al-Khalili interviewed psychology professor and neuroscientist Emily Holmes about her development of an effective trauma treatment, based on the premise that the human brain is only able to hold one image at a time. She talked about conducting a study which found that people playing the videogame Tetris whilst waiting in hospital Accident & Emergency departments had less flashbacks, and about other findings that inviting people to form an image that matches their hopes reduces their anxiety about upcoming events.

Photography for me, like Solution Focused practice, is all about finding the beauty in the mundane, and the hero in everyone.

This provides a really cool synergy in my life; I find that maintaining my ‘solution focused lens’ whilst practicing photography leads to more pleasing, interesting and evocative pictures, and maintaining this perspective on people through photography helps me to be an effective therapist.

If you would like to see some of the photos I’ve produced in this way, check out my Instagram account @solutionfocusedlens (

*’The Solution Focused Brief Therapy Diamond: A New Approach to SFBT That Will Empower Both Practitioner and Client to Achieve the Best Outcomes’ (2023) Elliott E. Connie and Adam S. Froerer

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