I was heading home today on the train, and I had a thought come to me that I wanted to share with you all. It’s a bit of a metaphor that I think really highlights how the Solution Focused approach helps people to make changes in their lives.
It was around 4:30pm, and it was that time of day where the darkness had really set in and yet the sky wasn’t completely dark. Amidst the rural landscape along the River Thames in Essex, I’m speeding across the darkness in a bright carriage that is full of people. And it was at that moment, that for some reason I thought of how all of the challenges and difficulties that people face in their lives may sometimes make them feel like they might be standing out there in the darkness watching everyone else speed on by – feeling like everyone else has things sorted out and under control. Despite being in that position of potentially feeling stuck and isolated they want to be on that train, they want things to be different, and they want to be moving forward with their life. At that moment, they’re just not sure how to get to a station so they can hop back on the train.
How does the Solution Focused approach help? We start by exploring the outcome you’re after – your best hopes from talking together. In this example, it might be getting to that train station and focusing on that light. Then we look at exploring what life might look like for you when those hopes are achieved, so what does that station look like? Someone might say it’s that station near the beach with the big mosaic murals on the platform.
Then as the description continues, people talk about the things they’d be noticing if they were there. Perhaps it’s the pub around the corner from the station, the bridge over the track that leads to the seafront or even that zebra crossing out front. The more people describe their destination, the more they start to take steps towards it. So from being in that field in the darkness to being able to describe what that station looks like, you’re likely to be in a better position to get yourself there so you can get back on the train and be on your way – living life in a way that is right for you.
It makes me think of some recent work with an individual where things were very dark for them, to the point where there were thoughts of serious self-harm and not being happy about life. And in exploring some of these things over the course of two sessions, they spoke about how everything changed for them at a certain point in our first session when they were thinking about the little things they’d be doing when they were living in the way they were after. They said that something clicked and from that point on, things were different. For them once they found their way, they were off as fast as that train!
As always, I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading that, and if you feel that others would enjoy it or benefit from it, please do share it with them as well! And if you’d like to have a chat or ask any questions about anything I’ve written, please do get in touch, as I’d be more than happy to talk with you!
All the best,