Therapy doesn’t work. Coaching doesn’t work either. Clients work!

Dear reader,

in the field of helping professions, there’s a constant battle and rivalry between different approaches about which one works better, has longer lasting positive changes, is associated with better outcomes. There are so many theories about how human mind works, how our brain works as well as theories about behavioural, emotional and cognitive systems, concepts, maps, etc. We’ve got millions of pages written on expertise in different diagnoses, relational problems and family patterns. I don’t mean to be rude but

this is such bullshit.

None of the approaches work. Also none of the approaches doesn’t work. In reality, it doesn’t really matter. Because the one who work here are clients. The ones who make changes are clients. The ones who assess whether something is working in their life (or not) are clients and only clients. I find it ridiculous when professions try to beat each other by proving whose theory is correct. Every theory is correct until it is proven otherwise. We might as well say that every theory has chances of being incorrect. So why all that fuss about trying to explain human behaviour and why trying to analyse the underlying causes for unwanted situations? It only makes sense if we believe in expertise. That we or somebody else knows why something happened and can suggest what we might do in order to stop that happening now and in the future. Yet probably there aren’t many people (if any) who would be able to clearly see all the existing circumstances that influence current situation as well as predict the factors that might have an impact. Let alone to explain the reasons and to offer a correct conclusion on how to improve.

Less is more. To do more with less intervention is an approach that respects and allows clients to utilise what they already have. In my opinion at least, simple approaches are better than complex ones. Simple, but not simpler than simple. Not the same as easy!

Too bad that our society is full of experts of various kind. Take a company for example. When problems arise and company ends up in crisis, we have business analysts, financial analysts, counsellors, risk assessment agencies, coaches, management advisors and many more people, who make a living based on companies trouble. It so often happens that millions are spent on expert studies that result in no change. And it is also very often that the company is blamed for no change, because it didn’t follow expert advice.

This is how people make money. This is not how useful change happens.

In therapy and coaching we have a similar phenomena. Sometimes people are kept in the process of counselling for years, sometimes deliberately, sometimes voluntary. I’m not saying that approaches used in therapy and coaching do not work. Neither am I saying that they do work. Clients work. And it is abusive, disrespectful and actually a crime to keep clients in the process longer than it is absolutely necessary. Every session should be seen as a potential last session and it should take up not even one session more than it is necessary.

So who is it to decide what is necessary? The experts? Experts on whose life?

Who is an expert of your life? Marketing agencies? Media? Social beliefs?

Should be you.

Biba

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Slide used as training material in our Coaching for Change project

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London Calling! And an Open Call to experience SFBT conversations

Dear reader,

Tomorrow I’m partly moving back to London (UK) for one year. It’s actually huge news, as I’ll be attending a Diploma in Solution Focused Practice, hence becoming a Solution Focused Brief Therapist. I’m burning enthusiasm and energy! But I need your help.

You see, what practitioners say is not the same to what practitioners do. Talking about therapy or coaching is nowhere near to doing either of it. One cannot learn how to facilitate useful conversations from books alone. It takes a lot of practice.

So I’m moving to London for this particular reason. I reached a certain point in my life where I am proud of my work as a trainer and a coach and I trust my clients to have all the resorces necessary to make a change they want to see. So when the student is ready, the teacher will appear, they say. Ribalon’s second season is slowly closing, as is 2016. This year we launched the first Slovenian professional training in Solution Focused Practice and we splendidly coordinated and carried out our first European international project Coaching for Change. Both promising projects give me confidence that there’s a bright future for Ribalon and for Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) in Slovenia. Like at the very beginning, I still very much believe SFBT is radically different to any other approach to coaching and therapy. And I want people to experience it, make use of it and learn how to benefit from it. So it’s only natural to return back to practice and sharpen my skills so I carry out my mission the best I can, to do SFBT justice.

I will be surrounded by many people in London, who are eager to see me succeed, perform well and who will assist me in my professional development. Meaning, they will closely monitor my work with clients. And I cannot do any work without my clients. My clients are my best teachers and the only true stakeholders to assess whether our work has been useful. I can’t create opportunities alone. Nor can I make a positive difference to anybody, without clients.

This is a call and an invitation for you, who are following this blog and for those you know, who are looking for opportunity to make a difference in their own, or their significant others lives. I’m inviting you to join this journey as a client and to experience the magic of SFBT yourself and contribute to its spread.

Simply click on the link below (a document with more detailed information) and apply. I would be honoured, if you would forward this Call to anybody whom you wish the best and would like to see them discover or find what they are looking for.

OPEN CALL for participants to be engaged in SFBT conversations

Many thanks and – see you soon!

Biba

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It’s not a goodbye. It’s a new hello!

New Start, New Services

Dear reader,

it is said that the darkest hour is right before the sunrise. Yesterday I told you about my “Blues” and ways forward. Today is a brand new day.

For quite some time now, I’m noticing I’ve come a long way from being a beginner in Solution Focused Approach. My supervisors also agree that I’ve reached a point where I can really pursue meaningful and useful conversations that create a context within which the clients are quickly able to find their own solutions that last.

Since I’ve grown from voluntary services and community work, it took me a long time to acknowledge I am not a volunteer anymore who helps others because she likes to do it and it’s the right thing to do. After more than 8 years of such work, my identity has changed. I’m now an established skilled professional who has made a lot of efforts to build up the knowledge, develop the right skills and enjoy the privilege to have such a strong international background. My work is not just pleasure. It brings results. Having said that, of course it makes a difference. I’m getting more and more requests to do Solution Focused work and lately, I’m also working within business settings with organizations. I’m beginning to receive more requests than I am able to process, so I had to make a choice: whether to go broad and do more quantitative work, or narrow my target group and do more qualitative work. I chose the latter.

After consultation with my UK partners, we’ve shaped a selection of new services you can enjoy and benefit from. Also our prices have gone up, because we have limited the number of clients and we believe our work has a value that is supported by evidence as well as client’s testimonials (there is a nice proverb that says if you want cheap services, hire an amateur, but eventually you will see this is really expensive). Still we have kept our research programmes, that enable those who have it difficult paying, to join as well.

So once again, I have followed my integral principle that “less is more”. Meaning I want to do good quality work, tailored to clients preferences and driven by client’s contents. Solution Focused Approach has for decades been proven to be highly effective approach in complex situations that helps individuals, teams, groups or organizations move forward. But talking about Solution Focused is very different to doing Solution Focused. Having delivered an entire Solution Focused Training, loads of work with clients and my supervisor’s opinion has recently confirmed I’m really doing pure Solution Focused work and I’m doing it well. Which means my clients experience high quality service that enables them move forward in their lives.

If you consider making desired changes, let go of bad habits, or you have found yourself (or your team) in a situation that seems to be too demanding for your current capabilities (such as implementing or designing a new strategy, facing complex changes, having performance challenges, work overload, etc.) or you simply follow this blog and would like to learn how to ask yourself the right questions, you are very welcome to benefit from sessions and save your time, energy (and money). You can find the options how to participate, collaborate and engage on the renewed page here or in Slovenian language here. Also, if you are keen to learn how to do Solution Focused work yourself and are from Slovenia, check the training programmes here.

I’m very happy to assist you with methodology that works to enable you become the best version you can possibly be and to be there while you make progress.

Biba

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Your Wish is My Command – Skype meetings available for the international clients

Dear reader,

recently, I’ve been super busy with workshops and getting the programme ready for our Slovenian SF Training (note: only 3 spots left, if you want to join and learn how to use Solution Focused practice yourself). I’m getting more and more requests to organize something for people outside Slovenia as well – from other bloggers, my followers, fellow coaches, potential clients, people who appreciate future focused approaches, people who want to learn soft skills, people who hold demanding positions in big organizations, people who want to change their lives, people who want to find happiness, freedom, joy, bliss, a new job, a new partner; and also people who don’t want to be where they currently are, people who are in trouble, debt, lost, miserable, depressed, hurt, abandoned, lonely, etc.

Great news for all of you: your wish is my command, so if you ask, you shall be answered. One on one sessions are from this day officially available also for international clients through Skype. Until now there has been this option available, but not regularly and as the number of requests and testimonials this has been useful for you grow, I now have three days a week reserved only for online coaching and therapy sessions for international clients (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday). All you have to do is send me an inquiry and request to Skype at info@ribalon.si with your preferred time to talk and we’ll meet on a 30-minute conversation where you can get a free session taster. After this you can decide whether you would like to proceed or not. Totally commitment free and for your satisfaction.

Here’s a brief me in five words: Integrity, minimalism, simplicity, humour and professionalism. Once we make a bond, get to know each other and your basic questions are answered, we can start the process. Your confidentiality is assured. I can adjust to your language, so we can talk in English, German and Slovenian (Croatian, Serbian). Also Spanish and French might work with a little practice. When we reach that stage, you’ll let me know when it’s best for you to talk on the Skype days, regardless your time zone.

Here’s an example of what a Solution Focused session might look like. I’m well trained from Europe’s best trainers and teachers and have more than 9 years of experience working with people, recently also organizations, who find themselves in complex situations and want an immediate way forward. But I prefer working from my heart, compassion and care (see my signature for a story on that).

Payments are made through Paypal. Your investment in return for the service ranges between what you consider the session’s been worth to you (experience shows suggested payment to be between €40-100). If your current financial situation prohibits you to cooperate, come to me anyway and we’ll find a solution.

I’m very much looking forward to have an honour to be working with you and to meet you. It’s amazing how distance nowadays doesn’t matter anymore and how easy it’s become to meet likeminded people. Who knows – this might be just the perfect moment for you to start something big for yourself. I’m very happy to partly go through this journey with you!

Biba

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A Word about YOLO and Finding Yourself

Dear reader,

You only live once. True, or if you believe in reincarnation, true for this very life. But that’s not really what YOLO stands for. YOLO stands for enjoying in pleasure, daring to do things that are prohibited, consuming as much as you can in the shortest time possible. It stands for pleasing yourself and letting yourself enjoy, mostly in things that are somewhat bad for you. Today’s post was inspired by Leo Babauta’s blog about instant gratification (http://zenhabits.net/gratify/) and it pushed me to share another story with you.

YOLO is for example, I want the second piece of that delicious cake. YOLO, just go for it! Sure, why not, one more piece doesn’t count.

I really shouldn’t have another glass of wine, because I won’t remember this evening tomorrow. Come on, do it, YOLO! Sure, yeah.

This bag is just amazing. I want to have it, but cannot afford it. Oh the hell, YOLO, here’s my credit card.

So here I am, a few days after, and the same story happens again. And again. And again. So YOLO in this sense is really LW (life wasted). My liver will suffer. I might have a car accident while driving drunk. The bag is in fact just a thing, really. Just. A. Bag. And my pride? Satisfaction? What’s that again? YOLO, I’ll get me a nice pair of shoes. It’s better to cry when you have a nice pair of shoes to cry in.

Sometimes clients say, they have to take the time off and find themselves. When asked how will they know they have found themselves, one client said that he wouldn’t be so scared. He would be more determined. Would know for sure. Would be confident. Further, when asked what would be the first sign that he found himself, he said he would feel alive. Wouldn’t have to drink so much, because he wouldn’t have to hide from problems. Instead he would be brave enough to face them. Would try to solve them. And that means he would go out and look for opportunities, he would make connections and ask for help, he would act.

And if this were to be happening, what would be different? He said, he would feel more down to earth, yeah, more confident. What else? He would feel less scared, because he would go out and do things. And what else? [long pause] He would feel more like himself.

So by creating himself, he would find himself? He said yes.

How about the YOLO and a temptation to drink again, how will you know you can manage that? Thinking about my liver, my safety and my tomorrow when I will be proud of myself outweigh YOLO. Outweigh the childish behaviour of getting what I want now. NOW! And as much as I can! Instead, being more focused and conscious would help me praise my body. And my confidence. That would be lovely, he said.

YOLO because I want this now to comfort my desire is one thing. YOLO as an insight into my cravings and seeing them as a temporary condition that can pass and it will, is another. YOLO as being here and now and not needing much, because you are actually fine, is third. Which means not looking for yourself, but creating yourself, using reflection, not things.

This was a short version of a transcribed session with the client’s permission.

Dear reader, I’ll be away for a while, because I’ll be at EBTA conference. Will be with you in my thoughts though. PS. I still need you to keep you fingers crossed for the big news.

This chap has it difficult finding himself (picture borrowed from https://www.facebook.com/PlantBasedOnABudget?fref=ts).

This chap had it difficult to find whatever he was looking for (picture borrowed from https://www.facebook.com/PlantBasedOnABudget?fref=ts – a page, I’m really a fan of).

A Failed Prodigy

Dear reader,

Is there any such thing as being “objective”? Those engaged in science would without a doubt claim there is or science should at least strive towards objectivity to the fullest extent possible. Well, most contemporary social scientists nowadays more or less agree there’s no such thing as objectivity. It’s just about how many people share the same opinion and the more there are, the firmer their truth appears. In most banal form possible it could also be said that if you repeat some experiment (hypothesis, statement, etc.) long enough and try different methodologies, sooner or later you’ll find the means to prove its probability, reliability and at the end even accuracy.

That’s okay when you acknowledge you cannot be objective (however you can be less emotional about it). It also means there’s no such thing as a failure and no such thing as an ultimate truth. This may sound really scary at first and at the same time incredibly comfortable. Sort of an uncomfortable comfort.

Clients (and friends who are not in sessions, but are keen to know what I do) often ask me if (in sessions) we draw some goals and set some plans/strategies. No. Clients themselves can if they choose to do so. But if they want, they do it anyway, I don’t have to tell them to. An underlying statement about plans and goals is that they predict victory or failure. If you follow a plan and meet the goal, you’re a winner and if you don’t, you’re a looser. Too bad if you fail. Not too complicated to understand, isn’t it?

It would be simple to understand (and to act accordingly) if situations were static. If yesterday’s goal is tomorrow’s reality. But yesterday’s breakfast might not be my favourite breakfast tomorrow. Because things, preferences and even values change. And sometimes they change fast and without an evident reason that would make change a justice. And that hurts, sometimes really bad, because we may feel we’ve failed or disappointed someone (ourselves?) and that we are frauds, liars, hypocrites and so on. We’re none of that. We’re just changing, because everything moves, even the universe changes constantly, not to mention relationships. Suppose we’re being really honest: I will love you forever is a really dangerous statement. It may not be true in 20 years. Does that mean we were lying when we said that? No, it was real. Well then, does it mean we’re lying now? No. Then what’s real?! Both.

Another client came one day to her following session. I asked her what’s been better since we’ve last met. She said her best hopes were not in place anymore as she went through some major unexpected change in her life. For that she labelled herself as being indecisive, confused, wandering and without any direction where she wanted to go. I commented she’s not the same person she was yesterday and that’s fine. We can change her best hopes, without blame, fault or feeling of failure. It’s a game called life.

That’s also why there are no goals. Because they imply failure. And if the client “fails”, she may feel she’s disappointed herself or me and that’s not on our agenda in making progress. The truth (my truth, speaking of ultimate truth) is, she cannot fail no matter what she does or doesn’t do (except in a life threatening situation; we’ll talk about safety and risk on another occasion), because she had a good reason to do whatever she’s done. She also has a good reason to come and she has the resources to create solutions to her problems. All clients do, they just may not know that. So failed prodigies? Not really, just changing. So have a nice day, make as many mistakes possible and spend some fun time laughing about them =)

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Today’s picture is borrowed from the streetart found on the web (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/202591683212795239/). May be just a wall that failed (too personal for a wall I know). Or it may be transformed into a piece of art.

A Word About Happiness

Dear reader,

It’s all about finding happiness, whatever that is, isn’t it? We do things to be happy; buy things that we believe would make us happy; look for relationships to find a person we could be happy with; strive to find a job with a meaning to find happiness, etc. Many times it doesn’t work. None of these forms. So what is it then?

Happiness appears to be universal, yet you get different answers to the question what it means to be happy and how to get there. Most people try at least, some even know what it looks like and how to make it last. Most of us hope we might get a clue, sometimes we get closer, sometimes well … we’re pissed.

Happiness is overrated, yet it is what it’s all about. Some call it meaning, purpose, some call it love, some call it passion or bliss. Same as in paragraph above – 100 people, 100 definitions, all right from their point of view. “To be happy” is the most common best hope I notice about my clients. Ways and shapes come different, but in the end in its core meaning, it comes down to this.

I had a client today, she said she wants to find a goal and meaning in her life. Some straightforward direction, a clear path. She’s about my age, so we are both representatives of the generation Y, which has it difficult these days (high youth unemployment, we are sometimes called “the lost generation” …). So defining a goal as our parents did, is not as effective strategy for us as it was for them. Also the meaning is different. So at the end of a lovely session, she asked why I keep doing this, trying to help other people, giving my time and efforts. For nothing.

I remembered a story I once read somewhere. Don’t remember where, in which language (have a clue might be French?), what the plot was, nothing. What I remember, is that a story was about a boy child, who came home to his mother and was really in a bad mood. He was bored and annoyed, he moaned. “Make me happy!” he shouted to his mother. She turned to him, embraced him and after a while said: “Why don’t you go help someone?”

That was the story. Well I do hope that I’ll make a living on doing this one day, but it’s not for the profit, just to enable me do what makes me “happy”. So now you know. I didn’t tell my client this, because we’ve been talking about other stuff. But this is what I would answer.

Here's to introduce my friend to you, who helped me in Brighton as I was "alone in a foreign country". Is this happiness? Well then I consider myself really lucky!

Here’s to introduce my friend to you, who helped me in Brighton as I was “alone in a foreign country”. Is this happiness? Well then I consider myself really lucky!