Building Hope, Empowering Change
Jan 19, 2023
Introduced by Jenny Clarke
Who better to bear witness to the value of SF than the client? In this video, we hear a powerful testimony from four clients of Family Based Solutions (FBS), an organisation based in Enfield, London, who works collaboratively with families using the solution focused approach. They share what their journey with FBS has meant to them, their families, and their wider communities.
It’s very moving to watch these fabulous people talk about their experiences of SF and how it differs from some of their other encounters with people from the helping professions. Two quotes on this topic will stay with me:
“I was so angry with all the services that had let me down…. I just wanted to get out of my situation.”
“Other services are very good at identifying problems – and then leaving you with them.” As Black Widow explains, FBS have been with her family all along, not withdrawing from them when they saw their contribution as over but offering continued support as needed.
There were common themes from the participants: the sense of working together, not being worked on; teamwork; the non-judgmental aspect of SF, less interested in what the referral or history may imply, and more interested in the way they respond to what they see.
There are clues about how the SF approach has become part of how they get through life, either consciously or unconsciously, in how they all talk. They see the value of small signs that things are getting better and building on these successes. They show confidence in their own abilities: how’s this for a mantra: “I don’t feel I can do this, but I know I can.” Black Widow learned to ask herself “What would Ayse say?” – and then learned that she doesn’t have to ask herself this. She has more faith in herself and her decisions. Super Woman talks of the skills and strategies she has available to her. She starts the day asking herself how she would like to be at the end of the day – proud of how she has handled things, for example – and then decides what she has to do to achieve that. Wonder Woman has become a blogger, offering support and ideas to others, using the scaling tool to beneficial effect. And Mr Stark gets the interactional view: “If I get attitude, I give attitude; if I get respect, I give respect.” He found the FBS team quite cool. I guess they feel the same about him.
And there are some warnings here for over-enthusiastic SF practitioners too. There is always a danger of being more keen on progress than the client. We are told how disrespectful it can be to ignore the client’s problems – and how resentful that can make them feel. As Mr Stark puts it: if you fall off your bicycle, you don’t jump back on right away; you need to dust yourself off first.
We are advised not to be afraid of tears and to show a bit of human understanding and flexibility - not to blindly go by the book.
Thanks to Joe and Ayse from FBS for introducing us to their clients.