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Working succesfully with adolescents 10 solution focused ideas


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The solution focused approach has a really great track record for engaging adolescents and for effective work with them. Here are just a few of the reason why!
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Working succesfully with adolescents 10 solution focused ideas

  1. 1. BRIEF Working successfully with Adolescents: 10 Solution Focused ideas from BRIEF BRIEF
  2. 2. BRIEF Best hopes  Assume that our clients have a good reason for being with us.  It is our job to find out what that good reason might be.  And remember very often the adolescent’s reason is not the same as the referrer’s reason. BRIEF
  3. 3. BRIEF Good reason  Assume that our client has good reasons for his or her life choices.  Check out when puzzled: ‘I guess you had a good reason for doing things that way?’  Sometimes our clients will say ‘no actually’.  This works better than when we tell our clients that their choices are poor. BRIEF
  4. 4. Respecting the client’s frame BRIEF  As far as possible how can we work within our client’s frame staying centred on what they want rather than insisting on our own preferences.  For example working with a young person who wants to ‘get the adult world off my back’ can often be easier, and indeed lead to the same outcome, as trying to persuade him or her that a behaviour change is required.  Let’s make the work easier for them . . . and for us! BRIEF
  5. 5. BRIEF Everything is cooperation - well almost!  Stress that our clients do not have to answer any questions that she or he would prefer not to answer.  That way even silence can be viewed as cooperating with the work.  Trying to get young people to talk makes it too easy for them to ‘defeat’ us.  All they have to do is to stay silent. BRIEF
  6. 6. BRIEF How can we know – for sure?  A young person yawning may just be tired.  Looking out of the window does not necessarily imply boredom.  A lack of eye-contact can mean all sorts of things  Let’s try to resist assuming the worst. BRIEF
  7. 7. Keep those feet moving BRIEF  However our client responds just try to keep the conversation going.  Nothing that happens in the session is predictive of whether our client will change.  The only way that we can ever know whether a conversation has been useful is when the client returns.  Just keep going – unless its better to stop! BRIEF
  8. 8. BRIEF Compliments  Adolescents are by and large like the rest of us!  We all like to be complimented as long as the compliments are genuine, fit with the adolescent’s preferred view of self and have ‘no strings attached’.  Best to ask questions and use the answers as the basis for compliments – then the compliment comes from them and will likely be accepted back. BRIEF
  9. 9. BRIEF Don’t know  We should try not to be put off by ‘don’t know’.  It may be that the young person needs time to think, or the question is not clear, or the adolescent has not been asked that question before, or the question is just difficult or embarrassing.  Or of course we can ask if a different question would be preferable.  Or do they have a good question that we might ask? Or . . . BRIEF
  10. 10. Right for you BRIEF  If the adolescent is struggling to respond to the ‘best hopes’ question we can stress how important an answer is to help us to avoid ‘wasting your time’. Only an answer to the ‘best hopes’ question can help us to really try to ‘get this right for you’. BRIEF
  11. 11. Sometimes an hour’s too long BRIEF  Let’s just remember that for most adolescents an hour sat down talking with an adult is not much fun.  30 minutes or even less might work better.  We can even ask ‘how long can you stand talking with me for?’ BRIEF
  12. 12. BRIEF Contact details Find out more about Solution Focus on our website For more information about the approach, training, therapy and coaching contact us at: BRIEF BRIEF