A Moment To Change It All

It’s only Wednesday and already it’s been one of those weeks where it seems like everything that can go wrong has gone wrong, everything has become more complicated than anticipated, and everything I’m trying to achieve has just become harder to achieve!

‘Everything’ of course is an exaggeration. Plenty has gone well too, and I could even list reasons why the week is shaping up to be a good one, but in the moment in which I’m writing this line, that’s just how I feel.

I’ve found myself wishing life could just be easier, whilst knowing that none of us really ever get to have much of a say in that. Life just throws whatever it throws at all of us.

Having pondered it for a short while, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best I can do is just keep going, putting one foot in front of the other, and making the most of the better moments.

Because those moments can make all the difference.

For example, last night, in the midst of wrestling with a sense of overwhelm, exhaustion and despair, I noticed an amazing sunset, recalled simpler times when I’ve had the luxury of just admiring the sunset without a care in the world, recognising the possibility of another of those times being potentially within reach again soon, and found myself saying “that’s all that really matters”. At least for a fleeting moment, I felt grateful to be in a position to witness that spectacle, and decided that perhaps I can do all the ultimately pretty inconsequential and laborious stuff I need to do if necessary, whilst waiting for the next moment like that to really savour.

So, how does this relate to Solution Focused practice?

Well, I’ve been involved in lots of conversations with fellow Solution Focused practitioners recently about a key aspect of the approach; eliciting a ‘detailed description’ of a hoped for future.

This has mainly centred around how we might ensure that we are covering enough detail about all aspects of a person’s life to imply a complete transformation, rather than just, for example, some improvement in one area of a person’s life whilst overall things are still not entirely how they’d like them to be.

The obvious method to do this is to try to cover lots of scenarios throughout a day in the life of the transformed client (so a typical description might include waking up, leaving the house, interacting with various other people, returning home, reflecting on the day). This will certainly cover a lot of detail.

The important question here though is what we mean by ‘detailed?’. Breadth or depth? (or both?)

I think we could look at this like DNA – a strand of DNA from any part of someone contains all the information that makes up the whole person.

Similarly, a single moment in a person’s life contains all the information needed to realise who they are in their entirety.

Therefore we potentially only need to focus on a single moment in our conversation to co-construct the complete realisation of what is hoped for in every area of the clients life. Finding the sufficient level of detail, like finding the DNA molecules in cells under a microscope, is the key.

Knowing which moment to pick presents a challenge, so generally speaking, most of us practitioners opt to do the best job we can to ask about all of our client’s lives, so as to minimise the risk of missing any significant moments.

Occasionally, the client inevitably hits upon what is sometimes referred to as an “a-ha moment”, where they find themselves describing being so in touch with what is right at the core of who they most hope to be, as evidenced through their response to finding themselves in a particular situation in a fleeting moment, with such lucidity, that they can’t help but identify as that person. In moments like that, it’s common for people to blurt out something like “that’s who I am!”, or “I can do this!” – that’s the sound of someone taking a significant step on solid ground in the direction they hoped they might go when they decided to book a therapy session.

It’s moments like that that make all the stresses and strains of trying to stay afloat as a therapist worthwhile for me, and I hope that sharing these insights might help any potential clients reading this to understand what they might expect of a Solution Focused therapy session. Ultimately, it’s all about moments.

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