1. Solution Focused Observable Behaviours
To be accredited, practitioners must demonstrate the following observable behaviours:
1 Developing and sustaining interrelated sequences of questions
…such that successive questions are clearly linked to the client’s preceding answers and are based on the client’s ideas about their desired outcome, their preferred future, their present situation, what’s currently working and (if applicable) progress to date.
2 Selective use of summarising or echoing-back
…so that the practitioner shows acknowledgement of what the client says, and is selective about what to amplify or ask more about, choosing those elements of the client’s narrative that contribute to the building of descriptions as detailed below.
3 Structuring the conversation so that its overarching theme is that of the client’s movement towards their desired outcome
…using the key solution-focused ingredients as listed and described in detail in 4.4-4.7, below.
4. Contracting (agreeing the desired outcome)
4.1. Asking the client – at an early stage in their first solution-focused conversation with them – what they are hoping will come from their work with the practitioner.
4.2. Using the client’s response to the above to agree a desired outcome from the work, which then serves to structure the whole of the conversation that follows.
5 Eliciting Preferred Future Descriptions
5.1. Inviting the client to elaborate on the desired outcome from the work to describe what complete achievement of the desired outcome would look like, in the important areas of their life in which differences would be apparent.
5.2. Inviting the client to say what they might notice was different if they were to be making (further) progress towards this desired outcome.
5.3. Structuring questions to enable the client to construct detailed, granular descriptions of what day-to-day life would be like, EITHER if the desired outcome were completely achieved (as in 5.1) OR if there were to be (further) progress towards it (as in 5.2)
The descriptions elicited should be of concrete behaviours, thoughts and feelings located in specific time(s) and place(s) and cover those areas of the client’s life in which progress is desired. The descriptions should include:
- first small signs of the desired outcome (or of progress towards it);
- details of how one ‘event’ (behaviour, feeling, thought) leads to another, and so on.
- multiple perspectives: what would be noticed by others;
- interactional change: details of responses of relevant others and the effects of these responses on the client, etc.
6 Inviting the client to evaluate the present situation in relation to the preferred future
6.1 Using a solution-focused scale, asking the client to assess how close their present situation is to the preferred future they have described in 5.1 (and, in some cases, 5.3)
6.2. Asking the client to elaborate upon this, as appropriate, by describing either
- what tells them that they are this number and not a lower one (if the number given is greater than zero)
- what is helping them to cope, get by or remain hopeful, etc (if applicable).
7. Exploring what’s working and (if applicable) progress to date
7.1 Structuring questions to enable the client to construct detailed, granular descriptions of anything that has already happened, or is happening in their life, that fits with or contributes to the achievement of their preferred future. The descriptions elicited should be of concrete behaviours, thoughts and feelings located in specific time(s) and place(s) and should include examples of:
- instances (specific occasions when aspects of the preferred future have happened);
- exceptions (specific occasions on which problems have been absent, or less troublesome – if applicable);
- ways in which things have improved recently in a more general sense (if applicable)
7.2 Eliciting as much detail as possible in relation to:
- how clients brought about or achieved the instances, exceptions or progress that they have mentioned;
- the skills, strengths and resources that the client has used or is using to move them towards their preferred future;
- the ways in which the instances and/or exceptions described have contributed, are contributing, or may contribute further to progress towards the preferred future.
- first signs that the instances, exceptions or progress described was happening;
- details of how one ‘event’ (behaviour, feeling, thought) led to another, and so on.
- multiple perspectives: what others noticed about the instances, exceptions or progress and what difference it has made to them;
- interactional change: how others responded (or were involved in) the instances, exceptions or progress and what effect this has had on the client.
2. Staying with the Solution Focused Approach
To be accredited, practitioners must also demonstrate the ability to stay within the solution focused approach for the duration of a full (30 -60 minute) initial conversation with a client. Here, staying with the solution focused approach means working within the assumption that the sole purpose of the practitioner’s questions is to elicit the client’s descriptions, as detailed above, rather than to gather information for assessment or other purposes.
The practitioner should therefore refrain from:
- analysing problems
- offering solutions or giving advice (but see Note, below)
- introducing their own ideas
- interpreting what the client says
- imposing their own view about what constitutes progress
- offering theories of human behaviour or psychology
- information gathering for purposes of assessment (but see Note, below)
There may be times when practitioners have to step temporarily out of the solution focused approach in order to meet some of the obligations of their role, which may include elements of assessment, information gathering, advice-giving, statutory intervention, etc. In these cases, practitioners need to ensure that these elements are clearly separate from the overall solution focused direction of the conversation even though the conversation around these matters may still be informed by solution focused principles.
Appendix 3: accreditation application form
Details of material to be submitted
- Are you submitting an audio or video recording?
- What is the total length of your recording?
(must all be answered YES for application to be processed)
- Do you have a full verbatim transcript of this recording which you can attach to an email as a Word, pdf or other suitable format ?
- Is the recording of a full, initial conversation with someone genuinely seeking your help?
- Does the recording involve only you and one other person (your client)?
- Have you sought written consent from your client which permits you to share this recording and transcript with us?
If being sent by post, this form should be accompanied by a cheque for £150 made payable to the UKASFP.
If you are sending this application by email, you will be contacted soon after its receipt by the accreditation lead, who will then arrange for you to make a payment of £150 to the UKASFP, by cheque, BACS transfer or PayPal. Please ensure that you will be in a position to pay in one of these ways, in advance of sending in this form.
Postal address for form: Suzi Curtis, 1, Leamington Avenue, Ainsdale, Merseyside PR8 3LA
Email address for form: email@example.com