a couple of weeks ago, we ran a training together with Chris Iveson, co-founder of BRIEF but also my first supervisor, colleague, co-trainer and a dear friend. Soon after I completed my own SF training at BRIEF, we started doing work together – Chris came to teach with me on my Solution Focused training for professionals in Slovenia in years 2016 and 2017, we presenter together at international conferences, I was BRIEF’s guest to teach at their Diploma and other courses, until they offered me to run a course on my own in 2019 and for the past two years, Chris and I have been working together more closely as co-trainers, with the mission to bring Solution Focused Approach to countries, territories and disciplines where access to training is limited unaffordable and/or doesn’t exist at all. As such we travelled, even in the year of Covid (virtually) to Pakistan, India, Iran and are having activities lined up to travel to Africa and more of Asia in 2021.
The course we recently ran together was about Solution Focused Groupwork – Solution Focused approach for group facilitators. We got lucky for having a privilege to work with a group of 35 marvellous, skilled and dedicated practitioners, so we were already confident (and also hopeful) that two days together would have high chances to result in outstanding outcomes that neither of us could predict at the time we were planning the course.
And one Saturday before the course, my first Guardian paper arrived to our house. Chris has been tempting and nudging me with getting a subscription for years and I have no idea what made me finally agree at the beginning of April 2021. But I do believe that things happen for a reason and in the first paper read in my bed while having coffee and strawberries proved this once again. I was reminiscing about our upcoming course, when this article came up. And then in a blink of an eye, an illuminating thought came to link the metaphor of Kintsugi to the work we do in therapy, coaching and group work. I took a screenshot and sent it to Chris with a text saying “Let’s use this in our course!” and so it began. Before I could start putting my thoughts in shape, Chris had already given it a go with a group of trainees he was with. The response was promising and we started talking. Exploring. Wondering. Trying. Thinking. Hoping. More wondering. More trying. Until an exercise with thought through, deliberate and carefully selected questions was born. We offered this exercise to our group and gave it a proper go with the invite, that participants mute their microphones, but say their answers out loud in our common online space. The beauty of group work is that the facilitators will never know how a certain activity and invite will land and what the participants are capable to do and achieve together as a group. Our group made the exercise better, it brought us new metaphors and language, so we moved from an exercise of “A Broken Pot” to “New lives from broken dreams”. We explored the metaphor of “gold” and introduced a metaphor of “mosaic” rather than a reconstructed pot. So our group has merits that we went beyond the “Art of Repair” which is often associated with Kintsugi, to the art creating new lives. We are thankful to our group for testing this exercise and giving us feedback, which made us want to record it and make it publicly available so that more people can use it, either for themselves as a self help tool, or as an activity used in their group work or training where participants have gone through an experience where their dreams were broken, their hopes dashed, their future destroyed and somehow they are still here.
You can view and try the exercise here:
There will be a written form of this exercise coming up too, to make it really inclusive. Chris and I are looking forward to seeing it be used, replicated, cited, taken on new levels, so let us know what you think and how you use(d) it.
Meanwhile – we will run the groupwork course again. When? When the time is right!
Biba and Chris