What To Do After The Best Hopes Question

Posted by Elliott Connie - October 4, 2019 - Solution Focused Therapy - No Comments

Since the Solution Focused Approach is driven by the client’s hopes for outcome, it’s relevant to understand what to do once you know what that is. However, I’m not sure we have spent a significant amount of time teaching this point. That’s what this video is about.

Since the solution focused approach is an approach based
on the client’s hoped for outcome and we get to that hope or outcome by asking
about what are your best hopes from the therapy. I think it’s an appropriate
question to ask. So what do we do once we know what the client’s outcome is? So
I want to try to address that cause I know that it’s such an important
question. So many people over the years have emailed and have asked me at
events. So Elliott, once I know the client’s desired outcome, what do I do? So
I’m going to give you two examples. So I was working with a client recently and
I said, what are your best hopes from our talking? And the client was really
emotional, they were in a really difficult space and they said, what I’d really
like is to be happy. So I said, so suppose you woke up tomorrow

And you were happy, what would you notice? And we did a
real detailed description of the presence of the client’s happiness. And
because solution focused brief therapy, it’s about description. It’s about
details, but it’s about the presence of what is hoped for. But let me throw a
little wrinkle at you. I was working with another client and I said, what are
you best hopes from our talking? And the client said, I just don’t want this
anxiety anymore. Like I used to feel like I could conquer the world. I want to
get back to that. So I said, if I’d met you time in your life when you had
that, like I could conquer the world feeling of what would I have noticed. And
we did a detailed description of the presence of that conquer the world feeling
going in the past. The interesting thing is when both clients came back a
couple of weeks later, both clients re re reported huge progress, both kinds of
reported that their lives had moved in that direction towards their hope or

So why is this important? Because I think people go into
solution focused sessions wondering like, what’s the formula? What’s the,
what’s the plan? What’s the progress? You know, are you, I was originally
trained to do cognitive behavioral therapy. And one of the things I used to
love about cognitive behavioral sessions is I used to go into every session
with a plan. But what I want you to understand, it is your job to know this
approach so thoroughly and so well that could do it going backwards. You can do
it going forward. I want you to understand that it doesn’t really matter
whether you go backwards, you go forward. If I asked the client what are you
best hopes from our talking, And they say you want to be happy, I could
certainly say, tell me about a time in your life when that happiness was the
most present.

Uh, what was going on in your life. And you can get all
kinds of details about the happiness in the present. Or I could say, suppose
you woke up on a day when the happiness was back in. You’re like, what did you
notice? And you can get all kinds of details of the happiness in the hope for
future. But what’s important is that you get details that are connected to the
presence of what the client is hoping for. Like that’s what we do in solution
focused brief therapy like I used to love, I didn’t have any anxiety
whatsoever. I’ve gone into my sessions when I did cognitive behavioral therapy
and I would just know what my plan was. I had met with my, my team, I’d met
with my supervisor. They gave me an idea about what intervention to design for
the client and then they would go off.

I would go off into the session and and try to impose that
intervention on the client. The crazy thing is they often didn’t work. The
client often didn’t remember them and they didn’t make a difference in a
client’s life. In a solution focused conversation, I go in just knowing, I’m
going to ask about what the hope for outcome is and then after that we’re going
to build the session based upon what happens next and I think what I’m asking,
in fact what I’m begging you to do is master this process is such a degree that
you can do it. Looking forward or looking backwards, and you can just build the
conversation based upon what the client says and you remember the always
connect your questions to the hoped for outcome. So I hope you liked this
video. I hope this addressed the question for you. Please leave a comment below
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