Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

what are your best hopes?” Author Katherine Waldock

Permission to share has been granted by author.
I share this blog with you as a thank you to the SF community. It is through this very community that our practice continues to thrive and develop in a way that makes a real difference to our service users and to our staff.
Thank you for joining FBS chats. Thank you for the networking opportunities. Thank you for our conversations.
I hope you enjoy Katherine's blog. Be proud of it as you have all played a small part in her recovery.

I thought I would write this blog on how much the Solution Focused Approach has changed things for me. Although I have a long way to go, I have learnt so much, it has been a journey and a half. I have not loved every step of it, and I have fought some steps. However, I believe in this approach and can see the benefits, as a result it has changed my daily life, in many ways as you will see.

I had never heard of Solution Focused Approach before I met the team at Family Based Solutions (FBS). So, when I was referred to them my initial thoughts were along the lines of ‘great another therapy to fail’ (sorry guys) but it is true. You see at the time I was referred I was in a terrible place, mentally, socially, and physically. I had nothing really to encourage me to keep going so the motivation to actually engage with anyone wasn’t there.

I won’t ever forget the first phone call I received; I was actually at work. That call changed my perspective almost immediately. I say almost because like anyone who has been let down, hurt, and left alone I assumed that the same thing would happen again. The only difference this time though was that call. There was something about the words that were used, I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, however now I understand it better. The phrases used, the words used were hopeful, they were planning for the future, and despite not knowing me I was spoken to like a human being and not a patient. Only being one phone call, and me not knowing who it was I spoke to on the phone I went back to my office with a little bit of hope that day, that someone might be able and willing to help.

“The image in our minds that we wish to be like, and that we can achieve, one day.”

Those first few meetings I had where a bit of a whirlwind, but the remaining memories of them are how the focus was always on what was going well. For me this was no mans land. This was something no one had asked me before, and I can’t tell you how many times I would annoy people by answering with “I don’t know” which believe me when I say that, if you say it enough you get a response like “Can’t you think of anything, even a small thing that’s gone well?” I still say I don’t know now, but only when I don’t know the answer to something which is massive!

With a Solution Focused Approach I quickly learnt it isn’t needing to look at where you have been on your journey. Like the many types of therapy that I have been to previously where the history of events would be scrutinised and examined in great detail, sometimes meaning I would leave the sessions more traumatised than I started them. It is more about looking at where you want to go, what can you do to get there, and how far you have come. The achievements and how you have overcome the bumps in the road.

The wonderful people at FBS soon discovered I can be quite stubborn though, and still get stuck on the history of stuff, so I make them work. I’m learning this is all part of recovering, and moving forwards, one step at a time. Having the confidence to work towards your preferred future. Most days I can now look back purely to see just how far I have come, it isn’t an easy view admittedly, but it’s a personal journey and the different way of thinking has helped massively.

Learning to look forward and change my own focus and perspective has definitely been an interesting experience. I still have not got used to being asked how I am doing, and what do I want to do. Allowing me to have the choices and to be in control of my own journey. These are all the steps which get broken down into even smaller than baby steps, but I have learnt that that’s okay.

“The craziest thing of all is that this all started from one question that I had never been asked, – what are your best hopes?”

So, on an individual basis this approach has helped me massively, in my confidence, without which this blog page wouldn’t exist. I would never have had to confidence to share parts of my story, to speak to others about their stories. It has even given me the confidence to throw some of the questions back at the FBS guys at times, which is quite humorous I must admit. My view on life in general, on the importance of hope, and keeping that alive in everyone. That hope goes hand in hand with motivation, without the motivation to keep going hope will fade, yet without hope the motivation to keep going will soon diminish.

As a parent this approach has made me so much calmer, in the fight to get my rainbows home it has allowed me to listen better. I hear what they tell me and can respond to it in a much better way. The best conversations happen when you end up with a child who looks at you and says “what, you’re not going to tell me off?” and you can simply say “No, are you going to tell me what you have learnt from this?” To recognise things that as a family we are doing well. Like any family there are some terrible moments, don’t get me wrong. There are teenagers, a pre-teen and a toddler involved which means no day is ever completely smooth sailing. However now it is a case of looking at each day, thinking how we overcame each obstacle, and being proud of what we have achieved.

The work FBS has done has spread across my entire family, not just with me. This has included the amazing online chats that are available to everyone to watch on their Facebook page and YouTube page, I would recommend watching them. They are the best conversation starters if you watch them with others, and good if you need a laugh at times. They have a great sense of humour and outlook on everything. The confidence and ability they have instilled with my children to enable them to use their voice, as well as allowing me to support that as well has made a remarkable difference. All this by only focusing on the future family we want to be. The image in our minds that we wish to be like, and that we can achieve, one day.

I wonder at times why it took so long to find FBS, as I think things would have been much easier if I had met them a long time ago, however I am more than grateful for the impact they have made and continue to make today. The changes are long lasting, and something that will be instilled for years to come. Hopefully something that I will be able to pass on to others as well.

I hope that you can see how much this approach has changed things for me, from hopeless to hopeful, from unmotivated to mostly motivated, and not wanting to give up. The willingness to want to improve, and change for the best, to recognise strengths not just within myself but in all those around me. To recognise that it is ok to reach for your dreams, and in order to do that you will take steps forwards, backwards and hit bumps in the road. The craziest thing of all is that this all started from one question that I had never been asked, what are your best hopes?

Donations to Family Based Solutions can be given through this link, this will enable them to continue to do the work that they do, and help the families that they do. I am only one family of many that receives help, and would love to see this help continue on for others.

Family Based Solutions supports families where there is child to parent abuse and families recovering from domestic abuse. We adopted the solution focused approach in 2014 and quickly saw the difference this approach made to children, young people and families. The approach allows families to identify and expand on their existing knowledge and resources by exploring instances of success and individual strengths

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