When The Client Wants Advice

Posted by Elliott Connie - June 30, 2019 - Solution Focused Therapy - No Comments

It is not uncommon for clients to ask for advice or guidance to deal with a problem or situation. Handling these situations in a Solution Focused session can be tricky and that’s what this session is all about.

Hey everybody. Um, so I’m making this video from one of my
favorite places in the world. Uh, Lake Arlington. It’s a lake near my house. I
love water. I love visiting water. And I, I come here to kind of think and just
kind of process information a bit. So here’s the, here’s the like, and uh, I
wanted to talk about, uh, email I got from someone who was participating in one
of my courses and they asked a really good question about solution focused
brief therapy, which is how do you respond when a client asks you for advice to
deal with a problem? And that’s, that’s such a good question. Right? And, and
as I was answering the question to the person in the course, I was like, man, I
want everybody to hear this answer. So, and it happens a lot when clients are
like, so what do I do to help my depression?

Or can you, can you give me some tips to deal with my
anxiety? You know, you’re the therapist, you’re the help or you’re the
professional so that the client expects you to give some feedback, some
information, some, some help to help them overcome those things. And um, but
when you practicing solution focused brief therapy, our approach is based on
client autonomy and the client finding their own answers and their own pathways
towards, uh, accomplishing their goals. And we don’t want to do anything that
we removed their autonomy. So I want to talk a bit about how I respond when
clients say that, uh, because in a lot of ways how I respond is not really
relevant. So let me give you an example. When I first started using solution
focused brief therapy, uh, I was working at the time, uh, at an agency that
mandated CBT and there was this therapist used CBT and he went on an extended
leave and they asked me to cover his cases.

Now at this time we were doing in home therapy and I had
just learned solution focused brief therapy. I was super excited and I was
using it with my clients and this particular guy’s clients, his name was Lenny
Ortiz by the way. Good friends who’s a friend of mine to this day, uh, linear
Ortiz did CBT, really good CBT therapist. And I had to cover, uh, Lenny’s
clients. So, um, let me look at this. All these really cool ducks. It’s one of
my favorite things about coming out here. But anyway, so I’m covering Lynnese
Lynnese clients and I went and visited his, this one woman and she was annoyed
with my question. So I’m asking you so many folks questions and she’s annoyed
with my questions and she said, I wish you would just tell me what to do like
Lynnie does. And I paused for a minute and I said, suppose I said something
that sounded to you like the type of advice Lenny would give you, what would
you notice after I left that would give you a clue that it would work?

And she said, well, I would be really hopeful because when
Lenny gives me good advice, I’m hopeful that it will work well. What difference
does that hopefulness make? Well, it means that I’m more patient and it means
that after I started implementing the advice, I start looking for signs that it
works. And what would you notice that that would let you know that it worked?
And we had this conversation where I never ended up giving her advice by the
end of the session. She was super duper pleased. She said, thank you so much, I
really appreciate it. She left. I went back and visited a next week and she
said progress had happened. Like there’s profound progress had happened with a,
the issue was between her and her teenage children. But the important thing was
it wasn’t necessarily whether or not I answered her question and gave her
advice or not.

The important thing is I did not remove autonomy and make
the session about the advice. When you’re using solution focused brief therapy,
the session has always got to be about the outcome. So I absolutely could have
said to her, oh, so you like it when Lenny gives you advice. What was the last
piece of advice Lenny gave you? Oh, he talked to me about, you know, having
good boundaries with my children. Okay, so here’s some tips on having good
boundaries with your children. What would you notice as you implemented these
tips that would let you know that it was being effective and making a
difference in your family? Because that always shifts the attention from the
advice to the outcome and a solution focused session is always about the outcome
and I think sometimes we get ourselves stuck when we think of a client ask us
for information or for advice or for feedback.

We’re not supposed to give it. If a client asks you a
question, you owe them the answer because that’s the, that’s the human thing to
do. That’s the right thing to do. But because you’re practicing solution
focused, brief therapy, you have to always be able to make the session about
the outcome and not the content. Right? A solution focus session as always
outcome driven and never content of the session driven. So try not to get
tricked up on whether or not I should or should not answer the client’s
question whether or not I should or should not give advice. Always stay focused
on the outcome from the session because that’s where a one solution focused
brief therapy is all about. So hope you liked this video. I’m going to take a
little walk and have a thing out here at the lake. Thank you so much for
watching. Please give me a like and a share. Subscribe to my channel on Youtube
right down there. Click on that little bell. Make sure you get notified when
I’m posting videos. I always have videos coming out and always forget. I’ll
never ever forget that you were always just one question away from making a
difference in someone’s life. I’ll see you in the next video.