The Evolution of Solution Focused Brief Therapy

Posted by Elliott Connie - January 17, 2020 - Solution Focused Therapy - No Comments

Over time, everything evolves and this includes the Solution Focused Approach. A recent paper was published about the evolution of SFBT, here’s my response to the paper and what the paper highlights. Enjoy!


So I’ll never, ever forget the early days of my learning as a psychotherapist. I remember being at graduate school and taking like the General Counseling Theories class where it’s like chapter one is about Freud and Freud says, “Here’s how people think and this is how to help them change.” And then Jung comes around and he says. “I don’t agree with that. Here’s how people think, and here’s how people change.” And then Adler, like, came around and, you know, now we’re in the third chapter of the book,

and he says, “Here’s how people think and here’s how people chance and I disagree with Freud and Jung.” And I remember, and it goes on and on and on. You know, the next name, the next iteration. And I remember being a student thinking, “Gosh, I just want to learn how to be a psychotherapist”, and I was getting confused because each chapter was saying something different, and I kind of had the opinion that I should probably find what’s current, because each iteration makes the previous iteration obsolete. That’s the way I was thinking of it at the time.

Kind of the way technology evolves, right? Like as a kid my family had an eight track tape player and then one day we got a cassette player, and then no one ever used eight tracks anymore more because we were all using cassettes.

And then CDs came out and like everybody got rid of their cassettes and we all had CDs. And then MP3 players came out and everybody got rid of their CDs,

and we all used MP3 players. And then now no one uses MP3 players because we’re all streaming music.

So you see, like each iteration makes the previous iteration obsolete. That’s how I was thinking of psychotherapy.

But I realized, that psychotherapy evolves very very differently, is we have to find a way of doing psychotherapy that fits with the way that you think, that you’re comfortable with and that you are able to utilize based upon your personality,

on what’s a good fit for you in the way of talking to and working with people. That’s also true in the field of Solution Focused Brief Therapy,

because there is not one way of doing Solution Focused Brief Therapy. There is what we refer to the Milwaukee style,

like the original way that was developed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, way back when back in the late seventies early eighties,

I guess. And then there are people. There’s a Bruges model that was develop by a guy named Luc Isabaert.

The Brief model developed by some really close friends of mine. Chris, Harvey and Evan. Chris Iveson, Harvey Ratner, and

Evan George, over in London. Adam Froerer and I do something that we now call the diamond approach.

If you’ve been following me recently, you know what that’s about. And there’s lots of people doing lots of iterations about Solution Focused Brief Therapy. And a guy who I have a tremendous amount of respect for, a guy named Dr Mark McKergow, wrote a paper last year,

2019, maybe 2018 the paper came out, and it was about a calling Solution Focused Brief Therapy,

Version 2.0. and he was highlighting that Solution Focused Brief Therapy is evolving, and it’s changing,

and a lot of people in the fields took that like it’s a disrespectful thing, like referring to 2.0 means 1.0

was obsolete, and I just wanted, like, I’ve never said anything publicly about this. But I’ve heard this so much that I thought was important that I let people know that 2.0,

or 3.0, eventually or 4.0, it doesn’t make the original way of doing it obsolete. It’s just highlighting

there are different ways of doing Solution Focused Brief Therapy. And we’re actually doing this approach a disservice by talking about Solution Focused

Brief Therapy as one entity and one way of doing things. There is an evolving that happens, and it actually pays homage and respect to the original ways of doing it,

because things evolve if they are valuable. Like I talked about technology evolving. But what that really is, the evolving, because we value music so much.

Well, because Solution Focused Brief Therapy is so wonderful. So many people spend a lot of time working on how to teach it,

working how to practice it and coming up with new, fresh ideas even 40 years later, and it actually honors

the original work. It does not devalue. I think there are people who practice like the original way of doing it.

I think they feel threatened by all these new ways, and I wish that we would kind of recognize we’re all working on the same thing,

and we’re all working to grow this approach, and we actually honor this approach by recognizing that there’s an evolution happening.

We honor this approach by respecting other people’s values and opinions of way of going about doing it. And we honor this approach by working together.

And we make this approach more easily learned when we are just more transparent and acknowledge there are just different ways to do this approach.

And I think that that’s an important thing to recognize. I think that one of the things that Mark’s paper highlights so well is I don’t think we’re doing anything good by talking about it is if this is not happening,

it is happening. What Steve and Insoo. Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg. The people credited with creating this approach.

They worked with a team, Elam Nunnally was there and Eve lipstick was there and some others,

but they inspired people. They inspired the next generation of therapists who came up with their own ideas and their own way of doing things,

and luckily I met some of those people, like I talk about Chris, Harvey and Evan and Linda Metcalf, who also does her version of Solution Focused

Brief Therapy. And these people inspired the next generation, which I’m lucky enough to be a part of, and hopefully watching these videos will inspire you.

But I want you to have new, fresh, wonderful ideas, and I want you to recognize that those ideas are valuable because when someone gets inspired to keep working on things and to evolve

that thing, is actually a way of showing it respect, not devaluing. So I hope this video makes sense. I thought it was super important because I’ve never said anything publicly about this dynamic,

but it’s going on in the field right now. And I thought it was really important to share, because I hope in the same way that I’m so deeply appreciative for the way that Chris, Harvey and Evan have inspired me and the way that Linda Metcalf has inspired me,

I hope that I could inspire some other young mind, and then 30 years from now they’ll be calling what I do obsolete.

I think that would be so great because it means that you inspire people to go off and create new and wonderful ideas that started with something that we all see is so valuable and so true and so powerful in clients lives.

So thanks for watching this video. I’d love it If you leave, a comment as I’d like to hear what your thoughts are about this idea.

If you haven’t read the paper, you should go Google Mark McKergow. His paper will come up.

It’s a wonderful paper. It’ll get you thinking. I think it’s great. Leave your comments below this video.

I’d love to hear what you think. Please ‘like’ this video. If you’re watching this video on YouTube,

click the bell so you get a notification every time I post the video. If your head on over to my website www.elliottconnie.com,

two ‘l’s, two ‘t’s, and get all of this stuff that I have there. My website is a great resource for people who are interested in

learning Solution Focused Brief Therapy and I will see you in the next video

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