Ending the Session Without Setting Limitations
I ended my sessions much differently 15 years ago. Now, I end the session without setting any kind of limitation and let me tell you, it makes a world of difference for my clients!
One of the biggest differences between the way that I end my therapy appointments today and the way that I did 15 years ago, when I first got introduced to this approach, is the way that I end the sessions. So I just got done teaching an online workshop, having a coaching call for one of my online courses. And one of the questions was about how do you end the session so that the client maintains their autonomy and
their like, sense of being able to do something different. And it’s the biggest difference in the way that I end things in session now, versus the way I did 15 years ago, because 15 years ago, I was very likely to give a series of compliments and I was very likely to give like, a suggestion that would help the client do something different as a result of the way that we talk.
Now, I’m much more likely to just end the session and allow the client to go on a journey of discovery between appointments. And I’m not likely to give compliments and I’m not likely to give a task because we limit people when we give tasks. And one of the greatest examples of how tasks limit people comes from a really cool documentary.
If you haven’t seen it, you can find it on YouTube. Just do a search for something called the last lecture. It’s about a guy named Randy Pausch, who was a professor at Carnegie Mellon. And he’s basically the guy who, if he didn’t invent it, he created unbelievable advances in the field of virtual reality. And when he was a professor,
he decided he was going to create a project for his incoming freshmen that’s 18 year olds and have them work with his virtual reality software. Now, this is in the early nineties, late eighties, which really early in that world, he decided to create a course that allowed his freshmen to start playing with his virtual reality software. Now, because no one had done this course before Randy Pausch didn’t know where to like, set the bar.
So he didn’t know what suggestions, and anytime you make a suggestion, you set a bar. He didn’t know where to set the bar. He didn’t know where to make suggestions for these freshmen. So he basically said, I’m going to teach you how to use the software. And then at the end of the semester, you’re going to show me what you built at the end of the semester.
These freshmen had blown away his expectations. One of the groups had made like, an Aladdin rug, like from the movie Aladdin. And you could ride around on this rug and take a tour of the Aladdin world. And the, I mean, these are 18 year old freshmen and making these elaborate amazing things. So when Randy Pausch was going to do this a second time,
he went to his boss and he said, these freshmen blew me away. They blew me away so much I have no idea how to measure them. And his boss told him, then to measure them at all, to make any suggestions to them would be disrespectful and it would create a limitation. And that’s exactly how I’ve used Solution Focused
Brief Therapy because I’m still blown away by what clients do between sessions one and two. It is amazing what people, they come back to Therapy and they tell me the things that they did. And they’re so far beyond what I would have anticipated or what I would have thought they were capable of doing for me to have make a suggestion, which remember any suggestion
sets a limitation. So for me to give that person a suggestion would be for me to set a limitation and I don’t want to do that. So the way that I end sessions today is by simply saying “I’m about out of time. Do you think you’d like another appointment?” or “Do you think another appointment would be helpful to you?” And then the session is over.
And that is why it is so important to just let your clients leave the session, feeling autonomous and going on a journey of discovery. And they discover oftentimes that they’re much more brilliant, capable, and resilient than they’ve given themselves credit for. Hey, thank you so much for watching that video. I really appreciate you guys listening to me share my thoughts and ideas about Solution Focused Brief Therapy and as I try to make you very best Solution Focused Brief Therapist that you could possibly be.
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And I hope to see you in the next video. Thanks.