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Answering questions with Solution-Focused Therapist

In our psychosocial support program “Emotional Suport & Wellness” we offer voluntary service that is focused on creating a positive emotional experience through a conversation. Our volunteers listen and ask useful questions following approach called “Solution Focus”. This approach is being used accross the world both in therapy and coaching by many professionals. We love Soluion Focus and so we wanted to share more ideas on it from different professionals using this approach in their service to people. This time we were lucky to speak to a Solution Focused practitioner Lisa Tranchellini.

Lisa Tranchellini is a development and educational psychologist, Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) practitioner who lives and works in Brussels, Belgium in a private practice. She has worked with expat, kids and adults and has been using the SFBT approach for 7 years. We interviewed Lisa, asking some basic questions about Solution Focused approach to get her perspective as an expert of the field.

Questions and answers of the interview.

Volunteer: Could you please introduce yourself?
Lisa: My name is Lisa Tranchellini, I am a child psychologist and I am Italian. I started studying Solution Focused Brief Therapy in the Philippines where I was working and living. Now I am living in Brussels where I have my practice. I see children and adults using SBT and also working with learning disabilities.

Volunteer: Could you please explain briefly in your words what Solution Brief therapy is?
Lisa: SFBT, as the word suggests, is a brief therapy, which although hard to define, is an approach that focuses on what the person wants instead of what he has. It doesn’t focus on the problem but rather what the person wants to see happening in his life, consequently the solution is focused for that reason. Doing that creates a new way, a new neurological pattern of thinking. You are sometimes trapped in the problem and you don’t see any other reality. Thus by focusing on a preferred future you create new neurological patterns of thinking, possibility and solution, and for me that is the power of SFBT. As the therapist you are not the expert of the person’s life. The person is the expert of the problem and the resources that they possess.
You, as the therapist, can enhance what the persons can do and have, through, for example, asking about relationships, about skills, about what the person is already doing. Doing this you give the person the power and encouragement, which I think is another important aspect of therapy.

Volunteer: Could you highlight some benefits that arise with Solution Focused Therapy?
Lisa: Benefits for the person would be that it’s not a bias therapy, it’s not ingrained in cultural values which adds an aspect of multi-usage and can be used by anyone in any situation. Furthermore, the person is really working to find a solution. It aids in the rewiring of the neurological path of thinking, because you really engage the person. You don’t offer or give solutions. The person is engaged in what is working and what is the best possible way to solve the problem. And also the person is invited to discover and to find again the resources that they have and find their own strengths and power.

Volunteer: Would you be able to give us an example on when you used SFBT?
Lisa: I have applied this therapy in the Philippines with women who have been subject to illegal recruitment abroad and labor exploitation abroad and had returned to the Philippines after having been subject to this exploitation. We did a workshop, which was put in place as a support program, with SBT which was very important. It helped the women see, imagine and again, using the preferred future, imagining and activating the resources they could use to come out of the misery. As you may know, in the Philippines you would go abroad for the search of a better economic situation and for success, but coming back without having acquired the former can arise the sentiment of shame, thus with SFBT it helped them come out of shame and to think about other possibilities to support their families. I think the most powerful tool that helped them to come out of that experience with some positive thoughts about themselves was one of the techniques that SFBT uses, which is the complementing. So we were different therapists and we “gossipped” about them, telling them positive things and telling them things by which we were impressed by them, individual by individual. I think that this was very empowering for them and uplifted them. I think that with anyone who leaves their own country searching for a better life and of course having experienced trauma, it’s really useful for them to have a therapy which. Firstly, is not culturally based, and not biased by the culture or does not want to impose a way of coming out of a problem, and secondly, having someone who helps you see hope and that there is always hope, also in such a difficult situation is I think very important and it works.

“The person is the expert of the problem and the resources that they possess.”

“By focusing on a preferred future you create new neurological patterns of thinking, possibility and solution, and for me that is the power of SFBT.”

Lisa Tranchellini

Psychologist, Belgium

Emotional Support written by Skirmante S

HPP Emotional Support & Wellness

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