Solution Focus Process: Solution Talk vs. Problem Talk Pt I

Solution Talk vs. Problem Talk

Problem talk, of course, is talk about the problem. Solution Focus direct communications to talk about solutions. It does not try to overcome resistance to change, but rather, find where the change is already occurring in the system and accentuating it.

In Solution Focus, we listen to the details communicated about the problem. This is important because it gives us pertinent glimpses into the helpee's world and their perception of what is happening in their world. But regardless of how they perceive their circumstance, there are positive aspects of their lives that continue to exist. There are areas that are working and it is these areas where they are refocused to and encouraged to build upon. Solution Focus concentrates on the positive aspect to help them create changes. Remember, each individual is the expert of their own life. Helpers always retain a "not knowing" stance. Individuals and families have the ability to generate change and have made changes in the past. Solution Focus interaction seeks to uncover these past successes and solutions. The helper's task is to get information about the perceived problem, about "what went well" and how it happened.

It helps others identify their own strengths and resources and utilize them toward achieving their relevant goals. This non-blaming way of thinking shifts the focus away from what is wrong in people to what is strong in people and their competence rather than their deficits. There is less focus on "problems" and more focus on empowerment, strengths and exceptions to those problems in order to promote solutions. Rather than dwelling on the past and engaging in lengthy "problem talk" about mistakes, weaknesses and causes, the focus is on what worked before and what clients want, what their goals are and which solutions can help them achieve those goals.

Questioning Interaction

"Exceptions" are those occasions in the helpee's life when the problem could have occurred but did not. For example: a mother and daughter complain of getting into arguments almost every day. The helper asks for a description of those times when they are not arguing and seem to be getting along well with each other: "When you are not arguing how are things different?" Or, "when you are not arguing what is occurring instead? How do you think that can be made to occur more often?" Those times when Mother and daughter are not arguing are "successes." We help helpees' transfer this ability from one situation to another. This is powerful! Many people are so blinded by what they perceive as problems that they cannot appreciate those times (and there are usually many) when the problem is not happening. In the example above, the keyword is "almost." They do not argue "every" day. Nothing occurs all the time. Solution Focus deals with those times when the problematic situation is not happening.

Miracle Questions. Miracle questions make inquiry into the helpees' frame of reference regarding their perception of what a miracle would mean to them in their life situation. It provides the helper with insight and forces the helpee to focus on the positive. In the above example, miracle questions would ask: "if a miracle occurred tonight and when you woke up the problem was solved, what would you notice first to tell you something was different? When have you noticed small indications of that difference already happening? Who would have to do what to make that happen? When will you know the problem is solved?" Helping using miracle questions is a wonderful approach because it creates a vivid image of what life will be like when the problem is solved. It also creates hope that life can be different from what it is now. You can be as creative as desire in using this approach. Some people use, magic wand, crystal ball, three wishes and so forth. The main idea is to focus the helpee on imagining what their life looks like without the problem and what small signs already exist toward making that life a reality.

(continued in Pt 2)

Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. http://www.clergyservices4u.org She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: A Grief Healing Workbook, will be available soon.

In The News:

How do superstitions affect our psychology and well-being?  Medical News TodayThis Friday the 13th, we take a look at the psychological mechanisms of superstitions and their effect on mental health and well-being.
The Psychology of Cheap  CMSWireIf we spend just that much more time thinking about the future impact rather than present convenience, we can do a lot better.
The Psychology of School Choice  Foundation for Economic EducationMany parents take for granted that the local public school option or the type of school they (parents) attended will automatically be the best option. What happens ...
A Connection Between Motivation and Brain Inflammation  Psychology TodayNew animal research identifies a possible link between acute inflammation of the cerebellum and "depression-like" symptoms marked by a decrease in ...
Is Social Media Toxic to Your Teen's Mental Health?  Psychology TodayNew research finds that social media hurts our teenagers' mental health, but another recent study disagrees. How do we reconcile research that contradicts?
11 Ways Plants Enhance Your Mental and Emotional Health  Psychology TodayWhat do trees, shrubs, grasses, green plants, parks, beaches, open fields, and flowering gardens have to do with your mental health? Just about everything ...
Thinking of seeing a psychologist? Here's how to choose the therapy best for you  The Conversation AUPsychologists use a number of different methods, including cognitive behaviour therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and behavioural activation.
New psychology research indicates being unable to regulate positive emotion is linked to negative outcomes  PsyPostScientists are beginning to investigate the importance of being able to attenuate positive emotions. A new study, published in the Journal of Personality ...
This Psychology course allows students to participate in hands-on research projects  The Daily Tar HeelThe 2018-2019 cohort of students in PSYC 395 pose with Jennifer Coffman and Peter Ornstein. Photo by Taylor Thomas.
Those with autism make good social psychologists  Medical XpressAutism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by the inability of individuals to gauge the emotions and mental states of other people. However, if the lens is ...
Toward a Positive Evolutionary Psychology  Scientific AmericanIf I did not think you a good tempered & truth loving man I should not tell you that . . . I have read your book with more pain than pleasure. Parts of it I admired ...
Tangled-Escaping the Five-Story Tower of Narcissistic Abuse  Psychology TodayAre you tangled in a "toxic" relationship at home or work with a narcissist? Learn what narcissism really is. How do you get out of it or how can you manage it ...
Six BPS chartered members elected Fellows of the European Health Psychology Society | BPS  The British Psychological SocietyProfessor Daryl O'Connor, chair of the Society's Research Board, was one of six BPS chartered members elected as Fellows of the European Health Psychology ...
Stanford psychology expert: This is the No. 1 skill parents need to teach their kids—but most don't  CNBCWant to raise smart and successful kids? Teaching them how to stay focused and indistractable is a skill that will serve them well no matter what life path they ...
Seven Positive Childhood Experiences with Adulthood Benefits  Psychology TodayThere may be lifelong psychological and relationship-related benefits associated with seven specific "positive childhood experiences," according to a new ...
Understanding What Drives Serial Killers  Psychology TodayRegardless of the specific motive(s), serial killers commit their crimes because they want to and need to.
Negative Memory Bias and Depression  Psychology TodayWhen experiencing a depressive episode, one may begin to view the world through a depressive schema.
Chronic pain research: Linking psychology, sociology, and neuroscience  Medical News TodayUnderstanding chronic pain is challenging. A recent study examined the interplay between sociological, psychological, and neurological factors.
Mental health workers to decrease time with patients in third month of strike action  Stuff.co.nzHundreds of DHB-employed psychologists are set to strike for the third time this year over their working conditions.
Professor Adam Brown Addresses Global Mental Health Disparities in Psychology Lab  The New School NewsAdam Brown, an alumnus and associate professor of psychology, came to The New School for Social Research (NSSR) in fall 2018 with the goal of bringing his ...
How Confident Are You that Your Relationship Will Last?  Psychology TodayBelieving your relationship is strong may be the key to achieving this positive outcome. New research on relationship confidence shows 5 ways to find whether ...
Malcolm Gladwell: ‘I’m just trying to get people to take psychology seriously’  The GuardianThe Canadian writer made his name bringing intellectual sparkle to everyday subjects, and his new book - about how strangers interact with each other - is no ...
New psychology research reveals men’s motives for sending unsolicited dick pics  PsyPostMen who send unsolicited images of their private parts primarily do so with the hopes of receiving either similar images or sexual interactions in return, ...
Are You Troubled by Negative Intrusive Thoughts?  Psychology TodayMost of us like to feel in control, especially when it comes to our mind. Have you ever had a strange, unwanted thought suddenly pop in your head, one that ...
The Psychology of the “Foodie Call”  Psychology TodayNew research looks at why some women accept dates just to get free meals, but in the process it uncovers hidden dynamics in the modern dating scene.
September 2019  Psychology TodayA new book asks whether the world's biggest virtual-reality game is the world itself. As unlikely as it seems, it may make you wonder the same thing. America's ...
How Strong Is the Evidence For Evidence-Based Therapies?  Psychology TodayThe world of mental health treatments is vast—ranging from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to ...
What Smartphones Are Doing to Your Teenager's Mental Health  Psychology TodayHow many times have you heard that screen time is bad for adolescent's mental health? A new study published last week suggests the truth may be just the ...
When the psychologist needs therapy too  Economic TimesVarsha Makhija, a 36-year-old clinical psychologist from Mumbai, was at a restaurant with her family one evening. “Suddenly, at 11 pm, a client called to say they ...
Why are we obsessed with psychological thrillers?  Times of IndiaA compulsive need to examine broken behaviour patterns and take an adrenaline ride through the twists and turns of crime fiction fascinates us all with the ...
Is Work Making You Ill?  Psychology TodayNew research shows that work-related distress can multiply the risk of frequent headaches, gastrointestinal symptoms, insomnia, binge-eating and reliance on ...
Lecturer in Performance Psychology / Lecturer in Performance Psychology Education (AEP) job with KINGS COLLEGE LONDON | 178435  Times Higher Education (THE)This post provides an exciting opportunity to contribute to the development of two new King's College London programmes: BSc Sports and Exercise Medical ...
Parents condemn B.C. psychologist's choice to retire rather than face hearing for role in custody cases  CBC NewsDr. Allan Posthuma was an expert witnesses in child custody cases for decades. But his work has recently been the subject of five investigations by B.C.'s ...
ISU psychologists get $1.1M grant to tackle opioid crisis  Idaho State JournalPOCATELLO — Two Idaho State University psychologists have received a sizable training grant to bolster a wide range of local efforts to treat and prevent ...
Psychological assessment critical in sport  Trinidad GuardianThe growing interest and engagement in research in psychological health as it relates to sport and exercise is a testimony of its importance to the modern sport ...
University of Pennsylvania's head of counseling, psychology takes his own life  PennLive.comGregory Eells, 52, had been the head of the University of Pennsylvania for six months. He died Monday morning after jumping from the 17th floor of a ...
Stephen McMurray: Psycho-coercion? The use of psychology in the welfare system  CommonSpaceSocial Researcher Stephen McMurray (@StephenMcMurray) analyses the role of psychology in the UK's welfare system, finding that increasing use of ...
Researcher and commercial pilot applies psychology to flight training practices  Concordia University NewsAir transport is indispensable in the modern world — from international travel to the delivery of essential goods and services. As the industry continues to expand ...
What Does it Cost to be Transgender?  Psychology TodayA new paper published in a special issue of Psychology & Sexuality has explored the costs associated with transitioning related treatment for transgender and ...
Experts offer suicide prevention advice in the wake of Penn psychologist’s death  The Philadelphia InquirerSigns of mental health distress can be difficult to spot. Here are some tips for how to recognize whether a friend or family member is in need, and what you can ...
What Makes Some People So Insensitive?  Psychology TodayWhen people say they're just being “frank,” why do you instead find their behavior rude? A just-published study explores how extraversion relates to insensitivity.
When Therapy Makes Things Worse  Psychology TodayFor centuries, an enormous clay statue of the Buddha sat in Wat Traimit, a temple in Thailand. Its origins unknown, it had become something of a fixture.
The Magic Wand of Psychological Research  Psychology TodayRandom assignment to experimental conditions renders many criticisms of behavioral science research irrelevant. Here's how.
Psychiatrist or psychologist?  GuardianIf you, or someone you know has mental health concerns, you should seek help. Do you look for a psychiatrist or psychologist? These two in particular amongst ...
Office of Juvenile Affairs hires new chief psychologist  Oklahoman.comAs the new chief psychologist for the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs, Dr. Paul Shawler sees every day as an opportunity to influence the lives of young ...
Workshop Using Psychology to enhance exam performance 16 September 2019  The British Psychological SocietyDate: 16 September 2019 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm; Location: Belfast; Cost: This event is free and open to BPS members and the general public. Registration is ...
Maughan recounts unique demands of replay psychology  RTE.ieAhead of this weekend's All-Ireland final replay, former Mayo manager John Maughan recalls the task he had in getting his side focused for the second day out ...
Psychological Flexibility: A Core Mental Health Asset  Psychology TodayMultiple theorists have pegged psychological flexibility as one key to mental wellbeing.
With It Chapter Two in theatres, a study explains the psychology behind why clowns are creepy  FirstpostA 2008 study conducted in England revealed that very few children actually like clowns. It also concluded that the common practice of decorating children's ...
Rats and Researchers Play Hide-and-Seek  Psychology TodayRats quickly learn to play hide-and-seek with humans—and they turn out to be quite strategic players!
Unusual Observations to Help You Stop Overeating for Good  Psychology TodayIt's common to think overeating is a problem with which we must chronically wrestle, but this isn't necessarily the case! Here are three important observations to ...
Trailblazing psychologist takes reigns at Naval Hospital Bremerton  Kitsap SunAs Naval Hospital Bremerton's new commanding officer, Shannon Johnson will lead the facility into a new era under a wider military health system.
Hungary Pioneers Psychological Support for Ambulance Personnel  EMSWorldIn the field of emergency services, being exposed to a high level of physical and psychological stress is a serious health risk factor for frontline workers.
The Secret to Making Friends as an Adult  Psychology TodayIt's hard to make friends as an adult. Here's what science says about how to make it easier.
"The Hollywood Ripper" case: Victim selection by serial murderers is often very specific" says expert  CBS NewsKris Mohandie is a clinical, police and forensic psychologist with more than 30 years of experience in the psychology of violence. He has conducted extensive ...
Task Force Paper on Cerebellum Research Charts Future Course  Psychology TodayAn international team of "little brain" thought leaders has published a task force paper that highlights the significance of knowing that the human cerebellum ...
Optimism Study Gives Optimists More Reason to Be Optimistic  Psychology TodayOptimism is associated with living longer, according to a recently published, decades-long study.
The Trump depression: Experts see a serious psychological depression taking hold in America. Here’s how to fight it  AlterNetReviewing “Trump's Wacky, Angry, and Extreme August” on Twitter, the New Yorker's Susan Glasser said the experience “was exhausting, a dark journey to a ...
Don't Ever Talk to Me Again  Psychology TodaySometimes, the best way to deal with a problematic person in your life is to just cut them out. But using this strategy too frequently may come with a large social ...
Conversion therapy associated with severe psychological distress in transgender people, study says  Washington PostTransgender people exposed to conversion therapy to change their gender identities, particularly as children, are at a greater risk of psychological distress than ...
University of Akron finishes renovations of Cummings Center for the History of Psychology  cleveland.comThe University of Akron's renovated Cummings Center for the History of Psychology houses the Institute for Human Science and Culture, which includes ...
Marital Satisfaction Is Linked to Women’s Sexual Desire  Psychology TodayNew research shows that declines in women's sexual desire over time predicts declining marital satisfaction for both members of a couple.
Penn’s head of counseling and psychological services dies by suicide at Center City building  The Philadelphia InquirerThe executive director of counseling and psychological services at the University of Pennsylvania jumped to his death Monday morning from the 17th floor of a ...
Bupa defence health contract: warning lives could be at risk over referrals logjam  The GuardianSome psychologists treating military personnel say they have not been paid since Bupa took over the defence health contract in July. Lisa Martin. Fri 13 Sep ...
Why We're Doing School All Wrong  Psychology TodayFollowing his defeat at the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE, Marc Antony heard a rumour that Cleopatra had committed suicide and, in consequence, stabbed himself ...
There’s No Such Thing as Behavior  Psychology TodayIf you want to get to know someone, learn about their goals.
South Africa calls on sociologists and psychologists to help as crime stats show 58 people killed every day  The TelegraphSouth African police have hired psychologists to figure out the causes of a murder epidemic that kills nearly 60 people killed every day.
T-Bill/10yr Treasury Spread Rising Sharply After Panic. What's Next? A Lesson In Market Psychology  Seeking AlphaPart of the misconception of well-worn indicators is that the signals for which they are known which have been incorporated in computer models is that they refl.
COLUMN: Positive Psychology: It is Positively Interesting!  SpectraAs a student of psychology, I have spent time studying and learning all that I can about the discipline, but never have I come across anything about positive ...
Psychologists Reveal What People Really Think About Your Selfies  ScienceAlertNo matter how good you think you look, there's something about posting a selfie that might frame you in a bad light. An experiment on hundreds of real ...
The Strange Link Between Pet Ownership and Cancer In Women  Psychology TodayThe results of three new studies on the relationship between cancer and pet ownership are good news for dog owners and men, but bad news for women who ...
The Inequality of Climate Change  Psychology TodayUnlike in the last election season, climate change has been a centerpiece of the Democratic debates in the lead-up to the 2020 Presidential election. Even as ...
The Science of Psychology: Carleton Research | Carleton Newsroom  Carleton NewsroomAt Carleton University's Department of Psychology, more than 40 faculty members and graduate students are applying scientific methods to some of society's.
5 Secrets From Sports Psychologists That Can Benefit Us All  SportscastingMany pro athletes employ sports psychologists, who can help them focus and succeed. Did you know these experts' tips can work for you?
Police hope to make psychologist position permanent, expand mental health strategy  Saskatoon StarPhoenixThe Saskatoon Police *Service* is looking to create a permanent in-house clinical psychologist position after a one-year pilot project.
Understanding Why Play Is So Important For Children  Psychology TodayWhy is play so important for children? Animal and human research show both the "hows and whys" of this question.
The Psychology Behind Why Clowns Creep Us out  The WireRandom clown sightings don't make everyone laugh. A study on creepiness explains why clowns are especially adept at making us squirm.
Lt. Gen. Boykin: Death of Bin Laden's son 'psychological setback,' not 'lethal blow' to Al Qaeda  Fox NewsRetired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin said on Saturday that the death of Hamza Bin Laden, the son of terrorist leader Usama Bin Laden, was a "psychological" set back ...
How Psychological Injuries Cause Physical Illness—And How Therapy Can Heal It  James MooreEmotional wounds can damage DNA and produce a huge web of destructive effects that shorten lifespans. Therapy can turn the process around.
Is it too early to put up the Christmas decorations? One psychologist thinks it isn't  Nottinghamshire LiveThere's still a long way to go until that magical month of December.
DOJ Acknowledges Psychologist Cleared Jeffrey Epstein From Suicide Watch  NPRThe Justice Department acknowledges that a psychologist working in the New York federal detention center where disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein was held ...
Is a Shortage of Desirable Men to Blame for Fewer Marriages?  Psychology TodayMarriage rates are on the decline in the United States and have been for the last few decades. Data offered by the U.S. Census show that nearly 70 percent of ...
A Parental Primer for Understanding Diagnosis  Psychology TodayFor mental health specialists in clinical practice, diagnosis is challenging. Defining a predetermined categorization that fits presenting behavioral manifestations ...
6 Keys to Nailing a Job Interview  Psychology TodayThe alarm goes off at 7 am sharp. This is the day of the big interview. It's the company that you have always wanted to work for. The position matches your ...
'I thought psychologists were for crazy people': can therapy help refugees?  The GuardianFor Muntaser, it's the memory of militiamen raiding his village in Darfur. For Ahmad, who fled Afghanistan as a child, it's the terrible vision of his father murdering ...
You Know Less Than You Think  Psychology TodayRealizing how little we know may improve our political conversations.
Alex McCord Gives a Look at Her Post-RHONY Career Like We've Never Seen Before  BravoAlex McCord's life since The Real Housewives of New York City has been, uh, different. Following her move to husband Simon van Kempen's home country of ...
What Finally Convinced Dr. Orna Guralnik To Star In Couples Therapy  Refinery29Here's why psychologist and writer Dr. Orna Guralnik agreed to have her couples therapy sessions filmed for a TV show.
"Psychological Fusion" With Donald Trump Is Linked to These Worrying Traits  InverseDomestic terrorism in on the rise, and experts question whether the ascent can be linked to the president. While President Donald Trump has denied ...
That Fatigue You Feel Might Just Boost Your Creativity  Psychology TodayFeeling drained at the end of the day? Well, that fuzzy feeling could lead to your greatest innovations.
Sounds Good Starts New Series on Sport Psychology  WKMSMurray State professor of psychology, Daniel Wann, Ph.D., was a trailblazer in the world of sports fandom psychology. Sounds Good is introducing a new series ...
Expert talks to sheriffs about psychological preparedness  wnky.comBOWLING GREEN, Ky. – At the Kentucky Sheriff's Conference Thursday, Dave Grossman, an American author and a retired lieutenant colonel in the United ...
First Therapy Session? 4 Treatment Types, Explained  InverseTalking therapies can be just as effective as drug treatments for a number of mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression, or can be a good ...
Putting Christmas decorations up early can make you happier, psychologist says  Mirror OnlineIf you're already yearning to get your tree out of storage and stock up on mince pies, then there's good news.
[Anime Horrors] The Psychological Deception and Trauma of "School-Live!"  Bloody DisgustingSchool-Live! made its anime debut back in 2015, and before you read another word, I have to preface this article with a note. If for any reason you are in.
Opinion: Resistance to the Idea of Reparations May be Simply Psychological, Part II  Post News GroupLast week, Dr. Nobles proposed that resistance to the idea of reparations for Black people is rooted in a psychological problem among white people that was ...
Dark Psychological Crime Thriller Dublin Murders Coming Soon To BBC  LADbibleJudging from the trailer, it's going to be the perfect level of morbid gloominess to keep us company as the nights draw in.
UPenn psychological services head dies by suicide  New York Daily NewsGregory Eells, the head of counseling and psychological services at the University of Pennsylvania, apparently killed himself Monday morning, leaping to his ...
Clues That Your Partner Wants a More Serious Relationship  Psychology TodayHow do you know when a love interest wants to take your relationship to the next level? Both their actions and words send crucial signals.
Firmino “majestic” & Reds’ “psychological dominance” key – Media on Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle  This Is AnfieldThe media assessed Liverpool's “psychological dominance” and Roberto Firmino's display as key to the 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle. The Reds ...

The Joan of Arc Complex

Sometimes I think that I have a mental health problem... Read More

Subconscious Drives Make You Unhappy

Feelings and emotions are nerve impulses.The feel of paper and... Read More

Key Solution Focus Interviewing Skills

There are several key Solution Focus interviewing skills that are... Read More

Mind Over Matter - Proven

THE ACTS OF CREATION:The following quote is a review I... Read More

The Myth of Mental Illness

"You can know the name of a bird in all... Read More

A Case for Multiple Intelligences Based Classroom Instruction

Although many high school age students tend to think and... Read More

Waking Up in the Middle of a Good Dream

When the brain is asleep and in REM dream mode... Read More

What is the Addictions Recovery Measurement System?

As I climbed 15-feet on a wooden ladder to the... Read More

Split Personality - A Myth or a Reality?

IntroductionIn this world today, there are a lot of unbelievable... Read More

HypoManiacs Often Misunderstood

Are you a Hypomaniac? If you are you have some... Read More

Intuition

I. The Three IntuitionsIA. Eidetic IntuitionsIntuition is supposed to be... Read More

Time Out of Mind

Let us first consider the role of time in our... Read More

Serial Killers

Countess Erszebet Bathory was a breathtakingly beautiful, unusually well-educated woman,... Read More

You, I and We

Our life in society hovers around the concept of 'You?I?... Read More

Human Psychological Issues in the Recruitment of Suicide Bombers

Swedish Scientists did a study and found that young men... Read More

What is the Theory of Multiple Intelligences? Part 1: Biological Basis

Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences is based on the... Read More

The Cultural Narcissist - Lasch In An Age Of Diminishing Expectations

"The new narcissist is haunted not by guilt but by... Read More

Birds in the Room Alter Sleep Patterns of Humans

Birds have always been considered good pets of modern day... Read More

Metaphors of the Mind (Part II)

Storytelling has been with us since the days of campfire... Read More

Four Cognitive Skills for Successful Learning

The word "cognition" is defined as "the act of knowing"... Read More

Accepting New Ideas

Much of the time when a new idea comes to... Read More

Why Other Children are Rejecting Your Child

IntroductionDeveloping healthy peer relationships is critical for the normal development... Read More

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is Not Related to I.Q.

It's important to know that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and... Read More

Gay Men Psychology

Gay men are said to be usually third or further... Read More

Get Out of Jail Free: Stop Being Defensive

When Marcus and Sally first met they immediately felt like... Read More