The therapist himself, Dr John Flynn, is good enough to describe Solution Focused Brief Therapy: “Essentially, it’s goal-oriented. We concentrate on where Christian wants to be and how to get him there… There’s no point breast-beating about the past – all that’s been picked over by every physician, psychologist, and psychiatrist Christian’s ever seen…. It’s the future that’s important. Where Christian envisages himself, where he wants to be.”
I’m actually wondering if this section of the book might be to some extent a fantasy, which could account for the author’s otherwise inexplicably poor grasp of the details of SFBT. Her therapist, for example, offers problem-saturated diagnosis – “He has a morbid self-abhorrence” – and makes inappropriate comments, for example, from an expert perspective – “I probably know a lot more about you than you think”.
I don’t know it there’s a supervision session coming up in Volume Three of the trilogy, which could sort out some of these issues. It’s a notion encouraged by our sceptical heroine, who terms him an “expensive charlatan”, admittedly before she meets him – a device with which the author cleverly alerts us to the limited prospect of pre-session change.
Another possibility is that this is an accurate account of a session with a rogue therapist trading under the good credentials of SFBT or a practitioner blending ideas too freely with other approaches. If so, it may be worth researching and exposing whichever therapist this is based on and inviting him to the next SOLworld conference where there’s an interesting strand of workshops dealing with the overlapping territory of SF meeting other plausible approaches (Appreciative Inquiry, Action Learning and so forth). We do learn that “Flynn” is British and keen on masked dancing, so he’d undoubtedly enjoy the conference social programme.