A Word about Expectations, Regret and Disappointment

Dear reader and especially dear students at the Faculty of Arts,

I’ve got some sad news for you and this is the reason why I didn’t post any blog posts for a while. There will no longer be Brief Coaching project at your faculty. The faculty leadership decided not to support the project and make it available for you. To make a long story short about what happened: as I’ve opened Ribalon institute, I wanted to make the project more sustainable, transparent and professional. So I was adviced to hand in an official request suggesting that. This was in January 2015. In February I was called up for a meeting that I told you about. The dean decided to acquire professional opinion about the project from department of psychology and I was asked to wait and not to pursue any Solution Focused activities at the faculty until further notice. So I didn’t and this is the reason why nothing was going on at this faculty. The informed decisions and professional judgments from departments of psychology and education were first favourable towards the idea and found the project’s settings ok, but then something went wrong with the technicalities and faculty management failed to see the worth of the project and failed to place it within the faculty system. I was not engaged during that process so I’m not familiar with any details. The bottom line was that the faculty turned my request down and asked me to withdraw. So I did.

What this means for you is that you will not be able to access any support services or join the activities that took place under Brief Coaching project any longer from within the faculty. I’m really sorry for that, especially for those who have greatly benefited from it. But that does not mean that you cannot attend through some other channel. Write to me and we’ll find a way.

What this whole thing means for me, since most of my work since 2007 has been at this very faculty and I felt loyal and really favourable towards the faculty which I used to call “my faculty”? It means a lesson. I could be disappointed or I could regret all the time and years spent there working voluntary. But I don’t. I’ve learned that my expectations might have been too high and that’s not the faculty’s problem – it is entirely my problem. And because it is my problem, this means I have the influence and can do something about it.

I view this as a sign that it’s time to move forward. The expert opinion from both departments showed that they found the project good and decent. The external expert opinion which I have obtained from EBTA (European Brief Therapy Association) also thought the project was carefully planned and well executed. So I have no doubts about any professional settings or my own competence. And I have some of the best supervisors that I learn from. And I have my own coaches.

Secondly, I’ve learned that I’ve developed and grown. I no longer settle for average and I respect myself enough that I’m able to close a chapter that fails to recognize my work and worth. It took me a long time to get there, but now I know that I’ve made it. And it makes me proud and courageous.

The same day I received the official answer from this faculty, I got a call from another one. Asking if I could prepare something broader than merely workshops. Like a training programme and some other things. It was a moment of one window closing and another, way brighter, opening. So I’m very much looking forward to new opportunities, because I know I don’t need to depend on anyone and I know that I like to connect and collaborate with everyone.

Even though a lot of my plans have been destroyed because of this sad news and I will probably have a period of unstable and a very insecure time, this clearly indicates that I need to do something differently. I’ve learned a lesson to set my expectations low, my confidence high, which consequently results in no disappointment and at last, I have no regrets about anything. Life gives you lemons, so have some lemonade as they say. I even found out that actually I like lemonade and it’s healthy too.

Hope to be in touch with you my fellow students and hope to see you sometimes again. Take care.

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My cat and my nephew building a better future together.

Down to Earth

Dear reader,

I got back home after more than a week of intense studying and learning (and also some free time of course). Maybe it’s time to tell you more about Solution Focused Brief Therapy.

SFBT as I understand it, is a way of thinking, it’s a philosophy. It’s not about problem solving, or about finding solutions. It’s also not about analysing the causes of problems or any kind of psychodynamic or psychoanalytic approach. Also, it’s not about discussing the past and trying to resolve problems that might have origins as back as in the childhood.

What it is about, is that it is future focused. It helps clients create the context, in which solutions emerge and become possible. It predisposes that a client is an expert of his/her life and therefore knows best what is right for them. The therapist helps the client by finding and identifying their resources. The hidden resources, which all of us have, but may not be aware of. A thought of a German physicists Albert Schweizer well sums this up , by saying:

Each patient carries his own doctor inside him. They come to us not knowing that truth. We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to go to work

It also means no advice, only appreciative compliments and feedback based upon what the client has shared. Because of this and already mentioned future focused approach, it has very few negative side effects. If a therapist is not experienced, the client may feel bored or annoyed by questions that may sound stupid. So if I end up stupid, this is it 🙂

What kind of problems and/or issues can be addressed? Any kind. They may be personal or professional. May be long-lasting or new. May be severe or just feeling of being stuck (which could be very difficult as well!). The approach might also be used when one has something important upcoming (like an important exam, meeting, etc.) and may serve well as a confidence booster (I guess everyone now and then could use some of that).

As a scientist, of course before even starting to learn SFBT, I was curious about its efficacy – does it actually work? Only a brief yes was not enough for me, so I’ve done a bit of research in this area prior to learning. Found out that plenty surveys and research has been conducted in the field of efficacy of the approach and most of them agree, it is at least as effective as any other therapeutic approach, if not more (see for example Gingerich, W. J. & Peterson, L. T. (2013). Effectiveness of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy: A Systematic Qualitative Review of Controlled Outcome Studies. Research on Social Work Practice, [online version], p. 1-18.; as well as http://www.sfbta.org/PDFs/researchDownloads/SFT.pdf for detailed description on most recent and past surveys about SFBT).

So, as shared today with my Facebook friends, I’m ready to go now! I’ve learned enough to be able to perform it well and independently (but of course under professional supervision). During intense courses I had plenty of opportunities to practice and got some very positive feedback from other participants as well as teachers, so I’m really looking forward to pass this knowledge on. Because I so much believe in the efficacy of SFBT and have experienced it live, I’m giving myself and my time to you without any charges at the moment. Starting with live or Skype sessions, might also work through chat, I’m all yours!bighton adidas