Interview: Ben Furman: SF Respects the Not Invented Here Syndrome

December 16, 2009

Dr. Ben Furman is a psychiatrist and inspirational speaker and author from Finland. He is renowned his practical adaptations of the solution focused approach in different settings. In Kids’ Skills, people involved in the upbringing of children learn how to encourage children to develop the skills they need to overcome their difficulties. Together with his colleague Tapani Ahola he created the Twin Star and Reteaming models as practical applications of the solution focus in organisations. The first offers very practical suggestions on how to improve the psychosocial environment of the workplace. The latter presents concrete steps to motivate people to change. One characteristic in Ben Furman’s approach is the avoidance of blame storming. Talking about problems and what caused them quickly leads to accusations and excuses. These can be overcome by engaging in “solution talk”: talking about what you want instead of the problem and what can be done to get there. Another constant in his work is his interactive perspective: “We work with teams even when we work with individuals.”

The full interview is available in the SFCT journal InterAction.  Please add your comments to the interview below.

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Case: “Creating a Workplace Where We All Wanna Go Every Morning!” – Yasuteru Aoki

December 16, 2009

Abstract:

Solution Focus Consulting Inc. (Japan) was asked to help Canon FineTech Inc. change their workplace climate and become more innovative by encouraging more lively communication among the workers. CFT manufactures printing devices for copying machines and other industrial machines. They have 1600 employees and 5 sites in and outside Japan. They had tried some change work with a problem focused approach in the previous year but in vain. SFC conducted a four months long solution focused Workplace Climate Change Project at one of their smaller sites (160people). The project included surveys, training seminars and follow-up meetings. At the end of the 4 months, the survey showed 60% of the employees noticed positive changes in their workplace communication. After confirming the effect of the project, CFT is now continuing the project using their own resources and with as little help as possible from consultants.

The full case is available to SFCT members in the InterAction journal – please add your comments to the case below.


Classic SF paper: Beyond Complaints – Gale Miller & Steve de Shazer

December 16, 2009

Abstract:

This essay represents the evolution of thinking about solution focused brief therapy within the Milwaukee group in the late 1980s and early 1990s. (See also the changing language of Steve de Shazer’s books – 1982, 1985, 1988, 1991 – during this time.) This essay is one take on a solution
focused interactional view of therapy, a view that emphasises the collaborative building of solutions. Wittgenstein’s (1958) concept of language games is central to this discussion, as it continues to be today. The strong focus on goals in this essay is, however not so emphasised in contemporary solution focused brief therapy conversations. While explicit goal-setting remains an option in solution focused brief therapy sessions, goal-setting is now recognised as an implicit aspect of conversations about the future. Two aspects of the essay have not been significantly developed by solution focused brief therapy writers. The first involves exploring how solution focused brief therapy is a distinctive process of narrative construction. Such explorations might extend the longstanding emphasis on Wittgensteinian philosophy in solution focused brief therapy. The second undeveloped theme in this paper is deconstructionism. De Shazer drew on aspects of deconstructionism in Putting Difference to Work, but much is left to be done in this area. This is the first time this essay has been published in English.

The full paper is available to SFCT members in the InterAction journal.  Please add your comments on the paper below.


Networking with an SF Outlook – Lina Skantze & Loraine Kennedy

December 16, 2009

Abstract:

This article explores networks from a participant’s perspective. In particular, we have paid attention to the activities in global SF networking. The emerging ideas are primarily based on the results of a survey, which together with this paper, provided a backdrop for a workshop and discussion at SOL International conference held in Bruges in May 2007. SF pioneers Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer are reported to have been adamant that SF was an approach available to all, not something they owned or patented. Our study shows that, to this end, the community spirit of sharing and learning together is what many feel makes the SF community so special. The sharing concerns knowledge, resources, ideas, perspectives and experiences. Key findings emerging from the survey and discussion atthe workshop were that this SF network is both useful, stimulating, enjoyable and valued by participants. Reflecting the SF practice of ‘asking the question’ and seeing ‘what emerges’ in the network, has provided ideas for further investigation.It appears as if the networks we researched are primarily used for learning and social support. There is openness and a generosity in sharing that appears to be unique for the SF networks. The network responses to e-mail enquiries issued on the list surpass expectations and enable thinking “outside the box”, expanding the participants’ frame of mind. Finally, the opportunity for discourse across a global range of professional approaches and applications, cultures and social norms provides the very challenge that most participants seem to value. Networking through the SF community, as evidenced in our survey, enables individuals to cross boundaries, professionally as well as nationally, allowing one to “feel at home in the world”.

The full paper is available to SFCT members in the InterAction journal.  Please add your comments to the paper below.


Solution-Focused Interviewing Protocols as Evolutionary Algorithms – Paolo Terni

December 16, 2009

Abstract:

Darwin’s algorithm has been shown to be Nature’s way of exploring the “solution space” for problems related to survival and reproduction. This paper shows how SF conversations (as used in therapy and brief coaching) can be framed as a Darwinian algorithm to explore the “solution space” for the problems clients bring to the session.

The full paper is in the InterAction journal and available to SFCT members.  Please add your comments below.


Coaching Reloaded – Assumptions of a Brief Coach – Peter Szabó

December 16, 2009

Abstract:

Brief coaching offers a distinctly different angle on the growing knowledge base about the field of coaching. Coaching can be highly effective even in one single session and produce sustainable and lasting results with no automatic need for an ongoing coaching process. In a market where 10 session packages or 6 month contracts are the rule, what Brief Coaching offers stands out. Brief Coaching implies a dramatically different understanding of how to be most useful as a coach. A case example of a single session coaching is described. It outlines the interaction between client and coach and presents 10 central assumptions that guided the coach’s contributions in this specific case. The paper reflects on how these assumptions may have influenced the briefness of the conversation and the lasting result for the client. The paper is also commenting on commonly held assumptions which are different from the ones a brief coach draws on.

The full article is available in InterAction to members of SFCT – please add your comments below.


Supporting Clients’ Solution Building Process by Subtly Eliciting Positive Behaviour Descriptions and Expectations of Beneficial Change Coert Visser & Gwenda Schlundt Bodien

December 16, 2009

Abstract:

SF co-developer Steve de Shazer wrote, in his classic publications Keys to Solution in Brief Therapy (1985) and Clues: Investigating Solutions in Brief Therapy (1988), that SF practitioners should help their clients create an expectation of beneficial change by getting a description of what they would do differently once the problem was solved. Also, he claimed subtle and implicit interventions by the SF practitioner would work best. At the time, de Shazer did not support these claims with empirical evidence. This article provides evidence for each of the assertions made by de Shazer. Only part of the evidence presented here was already available at the time of de Shazer’s writing. Evidence is discussed from diverse linesof research like Rosenthal’s Pygmalion studies, Dweck’sresearch on self-theories, Fredrickson’s broaden-and-build theory, research on Winograd’s prospective memory, Jeannerod’s research on the perception-action link, Wilson’s research on brief attributional interventions, research on Brehm’s reactance theory, and Bargh’s research on priming. The article closes with some reflections on what these research findings imply for SF theory and practice.

The full paper is available to SFCT members in the InterAction journal.  Please add comments and reactions to the journal below.