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About this book

This textbook shows how any conversation directed towards change can become a solution-focused one, whether in planned series of sessions with individuals, families, groups, or in the less structured contexts in which many helping professionals work.

Full of real-life case examples and stimulating activities, this will be an invaluable guide to anyone wanting to develop their skills in this empowering approach. This textbook is a comprehensive and accessible guide for anyone who wishes to incorporate solution-focused practice.

Originating in the world of talking therapies, the adaptability and usability of solution-focused practice is already used by many practitioners in health, social care and educational settings.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Abstract
Andy Flower, the England cricket coach, was responding to a question on the ‘Today’ programme (BBC Radio 4, 30 November 2011) about the best piece of advice he had been given to help bring about success, and not just in sport but more widely in life. So here to start with is a simple idea from Nancy Kline, a different kind of coach, which invariably informs the beginning of my training courses, group work sessions and team meetings:
People think better throughout the whole meeting if the very first thing they do is to say something true and positive about how their work or the work of the group is going. (Kline, 1999, p. 107)
Guy Shennan

4. Description I: The Preferred Future

Abstract
Once there is a contract for the work and the client has been helped to look forwards to where they want the work to take them, the worker will typically start to help them to describe, in rich, concrete detail, how they will know they have arrived there and the differences that arriving there will make. Such a description has come to be termed the client’s preferred future (Iveson, 1994), the future in which their hopes from the work have been realised. Solution-focused practitioners believe that describing such futures is a helpful step in bringing them about. Before reading further then, you might want to carry out this activity, just in case they are right!
Guy Shennan

6. Bridging the Preferred Future and Its Instances: Scaling Questions

Abstract
Scaling questions are the most versatile and adaptable tools available to the solution-focused practitioner. They tend to be used in most structured sessions, both initial ones and follow-up, and can also be useful in a wide range of other conversational contexts, for example in supervision, meetings, sports coaching, one-minute conversations in school corridors, in any situation in fact where talking might help progress to occur. Indeed, the whole solution-focused approach resides within its simple 0–10 scale, which provides a bridge between the preferred future and the instances of this already in place; so coming to grasp how solution-focused scaling works is a sure route to understanding the whole approach. And the structure provided by the scale makes it readily accessible to beginning solution-focused practitioners, who frequently find scaling questions the most straightforward way in to using the approach.
Guy Shennan

8. Putting It All Together

Abstract
In Chapter 2, I presented the overall solution-focused process, and in succeeding chapters, I have broken it down into its component parts. It is now time to put it back together again. In this chapter, I shall be focusing on how to use the whole approach in a structured fashion, session by session. To do this, it is important to be clear about the typical structures of first and follow-up sessions and how the work flows from one to the next. I shall begin with the simplest outlines of these structures, before fleshing these out in more detail, considering each stage of the session in turn. An extended case example will then illustrate ‘putting it all together’.
Guy Shennan
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