Fetishists and Solution Focus

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Fetishists, according to one dictionary definition, ‘pay excessive attention or attachment to something’.


Recently, psychiatrist Ben Furman questioned if we fans of Solution Focus might have become a bit like the overzealous evangelist. Good question!


To be provocative, are some Solution Focus fans fetishists? If we espouse a core competence, (I’ve been practicing the SF approach for almost 18 years and SF Brief Therapy has been around for 30+ years), it should be questioned regularly in order to keep it relevant and not become expert driven.

So, I pulled out the list of contents in my book, Fry the Monkeys, and asked ‘who is Solution Focus about?’ Is it me, the expert, or the client as the expert? I’ll let you consider for yourself if this is a fetishist’s approach, or an approach that works entirely for the client and therefore avoids dogma, etc.

The Fry Monkeys book agenda: ‘Recipes for the “Solution Focus” Organization – the ingredients you’ll need’

  • Who’s in charge of the thinking?
  • It’s about their resources for their change
  • Every case is different
  • Every solution is unique
  • They are the experts, not you
  • It’s about making progress, not a revolution
  • The skeleton keys
  • What’s a better question?
  • What to expect when you ask a question
  • Solution Focus language for setting a team up to succeed
  • Showing them you are listening instead of thinking of answers to their issues
  • Finding the resources already in place
  • The future perfect / the miracle question
  • Yes, but is the difference sustainable?
  • Affirming and acknowledging
  • The WOW! factor
  • Lots of revelation through clarification
  • Helping them figure out where they are through scaling
  • Clarifying, affirming, and moving forward with scaling
  • There’s no such thing as a bad question
  • Take them seriously, not literally
  • Phrases and words to stop using
  • Slowing things down to speed things up
  • Change as little as possible
  • Learn a new language
  • Gently clench your teeth and listen
  • Helping them decide
  • When we work harder than the team
  • Yes, they do want your advice
  • The more I insist, the more you resist
  • When the team can’t stop complaining
  • When you, never mind they, are stuck
  • Tell, mentor, coach
  • When to go out on a limb
  • A beginning, a middle, and an end
  • Situations where you might apply the Solution Focus tools and recipes

Yes, the client is the expert!

Ben Furman does assert that we have to sell Solution Focus. I agree. This forces us to work on what the client wants, not our own goals as experts in Solution Focus.


Just in case you don’t have a copy my book ‘Fry the Monkeys, Create a Solution’ you can sample a free download of the first chapter.

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