So now you’re a Doctor. What next?

Dear reader,

we have a new Doctor in the house. Not a medical one, but a PhD. Last Wednesday I passed the last formality and am now officially Dr Biba (which is strange, because my bibliography will say I obtained it in 2018 but here we go – done and finished!). I couldn’t have wished for a nicer ceremony and my farewell to the academia. Lovely memories, lots of gratitude, appreciation and a huge relief.

One of my Committee members, a professor, said it’s easy to obtain a PhD, but after, the person holding it must prove every single day they’re worth it. With such a title comes responsibility, as does with talents. Talents are not only gifts, they are duties as well. The holder’s got duty to use them for the benefit of not only pleasing themselves, whatever the talent may be – art, science, children upbringing, cooking, craft, etc.

My professional path has taken many unexpected turns and I’ve no ambition to stay in the academia for now. But if it wasn’t for my university, my supervisors, extracurricular activities as well as setbacks, I would have probably never left Slovenia and discovered the field I am so passionate about at the moment. Time for the next step. My ambition is the world. My passion is Solution Focused Practice.

So here comes some bits of news I have been looking forward to telling you for a while: I am not alone in this. About a year ago, a fortunate coincidence crossed paths of three people: Ben Scott, Greg Oberbeck and myself.

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A thought that brought us together concerns the future of SF and how to spread its brilliance to the next wave of practitioners. All of us have been training others in SF and recently, we formed a trio called SF Possibilities (SFP). We have noticed there are many frontline workers, practitioners and enthusiasts worldwide, who are keen and curious about SF and haven’t got access (geographical or financial) to high quality training. We want to respond by providing international Solution Focused Training with up to date observations from our own frontline practice.

What is uniting us is our wish to keep the SF approach simple, minimalistic and straightforward. The core of our ethos is continuing to follow the guiding principles our teachers at BRIEF have been inspired by for 30 years. Innovation, observing and presenting our own work as well as staying humble is something that brings us together, in spite of our personal differences and training styles which we see as beneficial and enriching.

So this is where I am going from here. It has become a “we”. We are “coming out” at the UKASFP Conference this July in Bath and before that, if you’ve ambition, you can join us in a 3-day training course in Solution Focused Practice in Bedford, UK. The invitations will go out soon, as will our web presence. Meanwhile, you are welcome to have a look at this page. We’d love to have you with us!

Dr. Biba, SFP

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#Succinct #Minimalistic #Straightforward

 

She Designed a Life She Loved

Dear reader,

I really like the thought that life doesn’t happen to us. It happens for us. I don’t mean it in a self-centred narcissistic way, but rather as an ongoing invitation for different experience life is and has to offer. Then it is of course up to you how you evaluate this experience, for instance bad, good, joyful, pleasant, rough, painful, exhilarating, etc.

Since I recovered and am able to fully walk again, I enjoy walks differently and do my best to go out for a walk every day. Sometimes with a purpose, like buying pineapple and sometimes without. As I was walking the streets of West London the other day, when we had a longer period of 20+ degree days over Easter, I accidentally ran across a painting.

Visual art has never been my cup of tea, it hasn’t touched me like music does, so it is quite obvious I am not a frequent or a passionate gallery visitor. I can appreciate the efforts of an artist, however am unable to tune into their channel of expression. Never did I think I’d buy any artwork for myself. Until recently.

On my purpose-less walk (or was it?) I was appreciating the sun, enjoying the warm breeze, my walking, friendly faces, colourful markets and playful unleashed dogs. And there it was, this painting. It put down to words what I was thinking, or better said, daydreaming. It said

She Designed a Life She Loved.

Art enriches and stretches our worlds, it puts to words and images the thoughts better than we’d manage without it. An artist offers you ways of thinking and being that are new to you or that speak to what is already there, seeking or provoking your response. Yes, this painting has been an answer to my deliberate creation to design a life I love. So now it is hanging in my London office to remind me every single day of my choices, to answer life’s invitations and translate it into experience that fits the life I would love.

Today I was supposed to fly back to Ljubljana, Slovenia. It was an early morning flight from a quite remote airport, so I decided to catch a late night film at 1am and then have a long walk to Marble Arch from where I’d catch a bus to the airport. All chilled, casual and quite relaxed. Until my bag came out of the security check. I got cold feet, realising I left my passport behind. So there I was, with two hours before my flight, without an ID document which of course, prohibited my boarding.

This is quite a stressful situation with obviously, many practical and emotional implications.

And in the middle of this contrast of having a good night which then escalated into an invitation to not be granted access to fly, I chose to feel good. Not because I would have evidence to justify feeling good or that this time life’s invitation sounded pleasant, no, far from it. Feel good because I want to deliberately embrace full experience life has to offer me and to keep designing the life I love. It all comes down to one single question, which is so important in Solution Focused Practice. If I did X …

what difference would that make for the rest of my day?

So I came back to my London house and not to mention that the entire house found my sudden return quite amusing, I had a good day. Imagine the difference this deliberate decision has made on the way how I thought about what to do next. Which airplane ticket to buy, how to get from the airport asap, how to tell people I promised to meet I am letting them down, etc. It makes a massive difference. So now I have a juicy story. And you have some (hopefully useful) blog.

Biba

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My clients love it. What do you think?

A Patient Cured is a Customer Lost (about ethics in therapy and coaching)

Dear reader,

This came across as I was sipping my morning coffee. In therapy and coaching, there are numerous examples of unethical practices and behaviours. One of them is surely keeping clients in therapy or coaching process longer than necessary and useful for them and sometimes these intentions might be profit driven.

When I deliver trainings in Solution Focused Practice for professionals around the EU and UK, I often tell them that if they want to become rich, they have to change to another modality. SF process is brief and if one is surviving on clients only, one might either become really good at constantly and frequently attracting new clients, or make their living elsewhere (or be unethical, which I will not consider at all atm).

Solution Focused Practice will invite you to think about your preferred future. It will help you describe new ways of living for yourself and might open up new possibilities of a future you consider worth living. It will not tell you what to do and will not provide an explanation of why you haven’t managed to get there yet (or reversed, why you have been in the situation you do not want to be in). The research across cultures, countries and settings shows to have lasting effects comparable to any other type of therapy or coaching, with the difference that you arrive at your desired outcome faster. So why do more, when you can do less? Why spend half of your life in therapy if there are other, faster and lighter options with the same outlooks?

And one more thing re below picture. Therapy and coaching in my modest opinion, are not business services. They should not correlate to one’s ability to pay or afford it. The practitioner should always strive to be brief – not do one session more than what is absolutely necessary. And the “necessity” should always be determined by the client, not your expert opinion. So when the patient feels well, they should not be given extra drugs “just in case” or when the client feels they are able to move on or live their life in the way that is right for them, they should not be imposed another session “just in case”. If they ask for it, that’s a different thing altogether.

So whenever you meet a therapist or coach who will tell you in advance how many sessions it will take, walk away. They have no ways of knowing and their theories are merely theories – they help us think, but not always act.

Some Monday, huh? Wish you a good week ahead,

Biba

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Borrowed from Facebook.

 

Not interested in therapy anymore. I never was.

Dear reader,

It doesn’t interest me if you’ll read this post. What matters is, if it might add to your day so that you can be in alignment with who you are and want to be.

It is not my ambition to collect likes and followers. What really matters to me, is whether we will get to the point of being true to each other and be well off together, or separately.

It hasn’t been of my concern of whether this world will be a better place because of me. As long as it is not worse.

Why do we post on social media? To impact? Impress? Sell? Inform? Show off? Justify our existence? Please don’t, the world is already overly cluttered. What I want is to share with you simple, casual, everyday images and thoughts, no photo filters or editing, not in order to shock or impress or inspire, but simply to share authenticity and an image of real life, not camera-ready or social media cropped. And I am interested in seeing you, for who you are and how you are, not just when things go right but when they go everywhere.

Life is so much better when lived and enjoyed together. So I do care about each and every one of you, whether we have met yet or not, whether we will find a common language, or not.

I just hope that every living being feels comfortable in their shoes/bodies and is brave enough to share their life story as it is, not as the mass media, pressure and competition think it should be. And that every being is left alone, not pressed to be different. We are not competing, we are travelling, changing, expanding. If I can do it, you can do it, everyone can do it. There is nothing special about me or my life. It’s just that I along the way, decided not to strive to be exceptional or an achiever. I allowed to be every-day average and enjoying it. And life unfolded in front of my eyes in ways I could have never imagined, I am thriving and my work calendar is full until July.

Change is constant and inevitable, this is one of the core assumptions in Solution Focused Brief Therapy. Therapy, traditionally, has been viewed as trying to fix what has been broken or to bring people onto the “right” path (again or for the first time). People are not broken. We have had different life experiences which have been offering us lessons over and over again. Sometimes we learn and sometimes we don’t and that’s learning too. But we are never broken, just undone. And once we are done, we’ll probably leave this place and go somewhere else.

So may I be undone with you, haven’t shaved legs or done my nails for weeks and yet I am not sure what I might lack this very moment. Things are changing. And so are we. In this world, sometimes together, sometimes separately, but we are all sharing this Planet so … I care about you. Living being, be it a stone, a river, a fly, cat or dear reader.

With love,

Biba

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There is a fine line between genius and crazy. I like to use that line as a jump rope. Photo D. Hogan, Frankfurt SF Trainers Conference 2019

For SLO: Masterclass in Solution Focused Practice (Coaching and Therapy)

Dear reader,

this is a post for my dear home country, Slovenia so please allow me to write in my mother tongue. If you are not a native speaker, you might be intrigued by complexity of Slovene language and if you are currently in Slovenia or will be around the upcoming May, then this news might be of value to you.

Draga Slovenija,

Od mojega “tapravega” odhoda v Anglijo lansko leto, sem se na področju kratke, k rešitvam usmerjene terapije (Solution Focused Brief Therapy) naučila veliko novega, sprejela veliko novih klientov in ponudila usposabljanja na to temo angleški strokovni javnosti na BRIEF v Londonu, Stratfordu ter Walesu, ki so bila toplo sprejeta.

Vse to rezultira seveda v novih izkušnjah in pogledih, ki jih želim deliti s slovensko strokovno javnostjo maja, ko se za nekaj časa vračam v domovino.

Tako organiziram letni “staying SF” enodnevni dogodek, ki je namenjen vsem, ki bi radi osvežili in poglobili znanje iz k rešitvam usmerjenega pristopa (Solution Focused Approach). Videli boste nove posnetke dela z resničnimi klienti, preizkusili boste nove vaje, prav tako pa boste slišali novosti na področju razvoja pristopa v Evropi ter Veliki Britaniji.

Vidimo se 11. maja 2019 v hotelu Nox v Ljubljani med 10.00 in 17.00 uro.

Cena za celodnevni dogodek je 100 eur, vključen material ter pijača in prigrizki med odmorom. Dogodek sem si zamislila bolj intimno, za maksimalno 10-12 ljudi. Za rezervacijo mesta pošljite mail na biba@ribalon.org. Posnetki dela s klienti so večinoma v angleščini, zato je priporočeno znanje jezika. Diskusija in vaje bodo v slovenščini. Mesta bodo dodeljena na osnovi “first come, first served”.

Upam, da se vidimo ter ponovno skupaj povadimo ter se pogovorimo o pristopu, ki v svetu še vedno velja za radikalno drugačnega, ne glede na to, da je z nami že 40 let.

Vabljeni!
Biba

PS. dogodek je lahko zanimiv tudi za tiste, ki pristopa še ne poznate, vendar se že ukvarjate z delom z ljudmi (kot terapevti, coachi, izobraževalci, trenerji ali moderatorji). Za pokušino pa tale video:

High Performance Requires High Maintenance

Dear reader,

In the past month I have worked in four different countries on four totally different projects. Not bad, right? So the moment I’ve woken up in my London bed, finally back and with a lazy weekend ahead, I felt the toll – a headache and sore throat. Such differences in temperature, lack of sleep and being overly-adrenaline, sounded like my thing at the time and as it ended, so has my resilience.

It is Women’s Day today. Celebration of femininity for me, which can reside in any kind of body, be it male, female or other gender. It is not about the gender per se, it is much more about the energy, the feminine energy. Feeling, instead of understanding, touching, instead of knowing. There’s nothing more feminine than knowing you deserve to be admired, helped, and adored. So my recent high performance requires high maintenance and lots of gentle, loving female energy. And I am more than happy to step out of male competition for a while.

As such, today I am having a day off. And went to a little place down the road in Shepherd’s Bush in London, to give myself a little treat. Sitting there, I noticed a remarkable link between the woman who was working hard for me and the work I do when I am seeing my clients in therapy or coaching. Both of us are professionals and experts in the processes we do. And both place the expertise on the content of what is desired to the person we are working with.

So here it is, I couldn’t resist making a vlog out of it as the inspiration came, even though I am not camera ready. Hope you enjoy it and wish you all a good, loving weekend ahead!

Biba

I’d rather not be right

Dear reader,

just finished another group training, this time young volunteers from different EU and some non-EU countries doing their voluntary projects in Slovenia. We spent five days together, working from 9.30am till 7pm with only a few breaks in-between.

Being young nowadays isn’t easy. Making choices, deciding what to do with/in your life, deciding to dedicate some of your time to do volunteering work, isn’t easy. Then add that it is happening in a foreign country, away from home, loved ones, on a tight budget and without a clear picture of what’s ahead, and you come down to one word: unknown.

I’ve done quite some numbers of similar youth group trainings. And have been a participant in a few myself. As trainers, we’d often have high expectations, presuppositions about the participants as well as theories of who’s in the group and why do they behave the way they do.

For instance, there are always stereotypes about different nationalities. Then there are social stereotypes about young people being spoiled, unmotivated, waiting to be served, not proactive, etc., etc. With such assumptions it’s always clever to figure out who’s the group making those claims. It is almost never the group about which the assumption is about. Funny, isn’t it?

So it happens that people in the group do not follow instructions. Object. Or ask the same things that have just been explained the session earlier. They do not show up on time. They complain about things not being right, yet do not offer how to make them right. And so on. I’m sure you know what I mean.

What each group teaches (reminds) me is that I never want to be “right” again. Even when I might have an assumption, I’d never want to argue or not repeat the instructions again and again and again or be kind even when others aren’t or be patient when someone might not be. What I remember was the most important for me in another country, among people I didn’t know, language I wasn’t fluent in, etc., was not people who were smart about how things should be or would be right about what I should have done. It was people who were kind and there for me, especially when I was clumsy and made mistakes. Who were willing to help me out without me feeling that I should “know this” or that “I’m stupid”. This is probably what mothers are like towards their children. They’d never assume the child will not make it and they are not forcing them to “get it” faster or would not be fed up with them not showing immediate progress. It’s what a gardener might feel when planting the seeds. They need whole lot of water, warmth, sunshine and care, before they can bloom.

Groups are inspiring, but can also be stressful. Lots of people together, lots of persuasion, dominance, cooperation, competition, comparison, manipulation even. Lots of fighting about whose opinion matters more and who is right or wrong. Fighting to have a say. To be the leader. Or to hide, to detach oneself from the group or to lose interest because it is going too slow or too fast. Again, not easy. As a trainer, it is important to capture this and try giving space so that each individual in the group can feel welcomed, encouraged and to find their unique place in the group. And in order to make that possible, one has to do away with our own fight, ego and being viewed as an expert, even when in trainer’s role. One has to give the expertise to the group and before this, offer the group space so that they recognise they (can) own it. And when they do, this is what group work is all about. The essence of human existence and connectedness. And I love it, every single time and with every single training I’m privileged to be a part of.

So I never want to be right again.

Thank you Slovenian National Agency for having me as your trainer again and thank you dear participants and my co-trainer to make it a unique and enjoyable event. Best of luck and hope to he

Biba

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Our participants. Quite inspiring, isn’t it?

The Key to My Heart

Dear reader,

no matter the weather, there will always be a place on Earth with plenty of sunshine. Or thunderstorms, depending on your preference or perspective. Whatever you think of things and events that are happening around you, you are right in version of your own truth.

Life is never easy. It is multifaceted, complex and unpredictable. Yet it doesn’t have to be unnecessarily complicated. I meet many people every day. They share their stories and wisdom. I am lucky to be blessed with a gift of being a wonderful and charismatic trainer/teacher and with the ability to make other people around me feel special. In that sense my work is a combination of what I am good at and passionate about. And sometimes I forget this and then my participants remind me of it. So today I’ll share some of their thoughts. It says a whole lot more about them than it does about me. So have a look at what kind of wonderful people I usually work with:

Biba is a very easy to follow and engage with teacher. I have learned a lot from her knowledge of the SF approach as well as her genuine passion. I think it would be useful for anyone (counsellor, parent, manager, etc.) to experience and practice at least once in their life like this. (Anna)

Working together will inspire, energise and change the way you work, live and think (Luke)

There is a lovely energy about you and an incredible inner strength. (Susana)

There is some mystery about how the process works, it seems. Perhaps that is a good thing as we humans are so hard wired to seek and enjoy mystery.  (Jane)

Thanks so much for this Biba and for the excellent sessions you ran here.  It was great to meet you and I have already tried putting some SF thinking into practice. (James)

I thoroughly enjoyed your energy! You are the real deal! (Chantal)

I like your relaxed, respectful and light-hearted way of being. Of course you will feel sometimes different, but there is always a joy around you. (Annemieke)

Those are not official testimonials, gathered for the purpose of promotion, far from it. They are little messages I got in the past three days alone. And I want to share them with you, because I want to emphasise that having a talent isn’t only a privilege. It is a responsibility and duty too – a duty to use it and give to community. Share your ideas. Share yourself. And then watch the magic happen when you get back to what you give tripled.

Yesterday my magic materialised as a very special key. I got my own pair of keys to BRIEF and I am now ready to start seeing my face to face clients (individuals or families) at BRIEF. Yesterday I saw a mother and her teenage son. So much love and care they have for each other and it was beautiful to watch it surface again. So come and join. Be a part of it. Use your talents. Welcome!

With much love and from life,

Biba

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The Keys to My Heart

My first course at BRIEF

Dear reader,

I like groups. Groups are powerful. Inspiring. Challenging. Tribal. Connecting. Caring.

Working with groups can be a delight. Working with groups applying Solution Focused Approach can be miraculous. If you are a practitioner (therapist, coach or consultant), trainer, counsellor, teacher or connector and would like to explore how to use Solution Focused Approach with groups, then this will be the course for you. Have a look here.

BRIEF is the world leading training centre in Solution Focused Practice. And this is my first course as its international trainer.

See you in London. This is an event we will never forget. And neither will you. So be with us when it happens, not to miss this opportunity when others will talk about it months or perhaps years after.

Biba and BRIEF

This Year Santa Brought Me No Presents

Dear reader,

those of you who are in touch through Facebook know that I had to leave the UK immediately and rush back to Slovenia because my husband ended up in intensive care. Unfortunate and unpredictable as it is, his blood platelet count was zero. Not low, but zero. This is likely a consequence or a side effect of his leukaemia with which he’s been diagnosed just as I came back from the UK in August, determined to move there in October.

So this year under our Christmas tree there were no presents for me because nobody was able to bring me any.

Do these events make me sad? Does it mess up with my plans? Am I worried about the future? Big questions, which do not necessarily need to be answered because there is no certain answer. But they do make one pause and think. Everyone is different and everyone’s story is unique. That said, one cannot generalise and predict that what might be good for some, might not be the worst thing for others. So here are some of my current thoughts to carry into 2019 and my Christmas present for you.

I believe the purpose in life is not to be happy. Or to be successful, having a family or great career maybe. A meaningful job and close friends. All of these things matter, of course. And it seems all of these things are for one reason only. We believe those things will make us feel better in the having of it. So to me a purpose of my life is, simply, joy. I decided to take a shortcut by already feeling good, regardless whether having or not having all the things or relationships one might consider important to live a purposeful life.

Joy. I am bringing joy with me wherever I go. Am not a messenger, teacher, influencer leader or a motivational speaker but was somehow born with the ability to make others feel good. I guess it comes from having simply decided that I want to feel good and spread this vibe around, not because that would be my wish or intention, but because the spread and impact just happens. Some people like it and are drawn towards it and that is good, others do not like it and stay away and that is good too as it doesn’t do any harm. The world doesn’t need more leaders who’d make you feel you’re never doing enough and will never reach out to them. It needs people who are kind and who make their everyday special. Who make others feel special. It literally needs people like you. So don’t hide and share your specialness with your world.

Here’s my little secret. I am choosing to be carefully selective of the thoughts I think. In doing so, I am staying close with people and other living beings I am sharing this planet with, with a deliberate intention to focus on the aspects of their personalities and behaviours that I truly like and admire. It just makes my life much simpler and most important – fun. A life everyone has a chance to enjoy regardless of what is “real”.

In 2018 so many things have happened that could have so much influence on this sense of joy. I had a major operation and a long and painful recovery. My husband got his diagnosis and the outlook isn’t good. My closest friend had an operation too as well as massive complications with it and is still not well. People around me are dying. Divorcing. Fighting. Destroying. My own future is uncertain. Where will I be? What will I do? Will I make it? And yet, in spite of all this going on, I am generating joy. Massive joy. Not because I would try to run away from all that is going on. Or because I want to inspire others. I chose joy because to me that’s the essence and purpose of my being. Everything else will work out. I don’t have to figure it out, all I have to do is allow for things to work out for me while I take care about feeling good.

Perhaps this adds to your day. Perhaps it does not. And I do wish you lots of joy and feeling good. It’s our natural state of being. Pain, stress or misery are not our natural conditions no matter how long you may have been exposed to it. As simple as that.

Happy Christmas.

Biba

 

Let us spread joy together!