Ideas on What Works in Therapy



SolutionsThe European Brief Therapy Association Conference in Malmo, Sweden finished today. It’s a professional development conference that happens in different places in Europe once a year. I attended it for the first time.


I always get so charged up during and after conferences about the ideas I’m learning and discussing.  I feel so excited to go back to work and continue refining what I do in therapy. I met several really interesting people this year and participated in fascinating discussions during and after the workshops.


Consequently, lots of ideas are rushing through my head. I’m thinking about some creative ideas I got from a workshop on working with couples using a solution-focused approach, about a conversation I had with a coach and trainer who uses improvisation—think improvisational acting—in his work, and an amazing man, Andrew Turnell, a therapist turned trainer whose developed a program he teaches to child protection workers to use during their child abuse investigations. The program has made a difference by significantly lowering the risk of children being abused again.


I feel like I’ve gotten a rich dose of inspiration and ideas to last for a good while.

Helping people live the lives they want

I had the opportunity to listen to a group of therapists who were among the founders of solution-focused brief therapy. It was so interesting to hear how these pioneers really focused on what was missing from traditional therapy, experimented with ideas and approaches, and paved the way for therapists like me to do what works to help people live the lives they want.

Creating change

They talked about their realization that really focusing on instances of success helped the people they worked with make the changes they wanted, and how therapy became briefer because it ‘got the job done’ so people could get on with their lives.

Why do these ideas matter?

These ideas make such a difference for many reasons. To name a few, it helps people change! It’s so different than traditional forms of therapy that emphasize uncovering dysfunctional patterns and revealing psychiatric diagnoses so that people can ‘manage’ their symptoms. People are not their problems!


It’s also so inspiring to meet people who are pushing the envelope and using the approach in new ways by supporting people in a variety of contexts—like child protection. I feel honored to have the opportunity to discuss ideas with such great minds and to learn what a difference this approach is making in so many areas!


I can hardly wait until the Solution-focused Brief Therapy Association Conference I’m chairing in Banff in November this year!