Over the past ten years or so, I have been considering ways in which our natural creativity as human beings can enter into our solution-focused practice and enhance it. I hope that some of the flavour of this is captured here, where I share ideas and practices related to song and music, dance and movement, drawing and cartooning.
Solution focus and creativity
This is an updated version of a piece I wrote for my previous website a few years ago:
Human beings are inherently creative people and solution-focused practice is an inherently creative approach. There are at least three ways in which I see creativity being involved in our work.
1) The minimalism of the solution-focused approach provides a space in which creativity can flourish and develop. The solution-focused practitioner enters the work with no preconceived ideas about what will help and no programme to follow, but with a commitment to listen to the client and to follow where this takes them. At the beginning there is a blank canvas and the marks that are made on it come from the emerging dialogue between practitioner and client. Solution-focused practice is an interactively creative process.
2) Solution-focused practice helps people to be creative. By assuming that people can create all that they need to in order to resolve the problems that lead them to seek help, and that they are already using their unique ways of being creative, the solution-focused practitioner fosters the creativity that people have within them, but which sometimes they forget they have.
3) I bring creativity into my training courses and workshops, and I am committed to working with and alongside creators and artists to help do and teach solution-focused practice in the most useful way we can. This has included the development of a workshop for children combining a solution-focused approach and cartooning, and the integration of solution-focused ideas in the 5 Rhythms dance movement practice.
If Karl Marx was right, that art is the paradigm of authentic human activity, it would be crazy not to draw upon it in our solution-focused work!
There is some theoretical and philosophical support for bringing in such creative practices into our work, in particular from the growing fields of embodied and extended cognition.
These were the subject of my philosophy masters dissertation, since which I have been considering implications of this for therapy in general and solution-focused practice in particular.
I wrote about this in a 2016 article for the InterAction journal, Extended Mind, Extended Person, Extended Therapy.
I co-wrote the related book chapter, The extended iSelf, with Esther de Wolf, and this was published in Solution Focused Practice Around The World, in May 2020.
“The best EBTA workshop I have ever attended!”
Mark Beyebach, former President of the European Brief Therapy Association, on the workshop I ran with Rob Black on Creative Solution-Focused Practice in Malmo, 2010.