Solution Focused Addictions Counselling
Ricardo B. Serrano, R.Ac.
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'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the cat.
'I don't much care where ...' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the cat.

Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll


I would like to share with you six simple interventions used in Solution Focused Brief Counselling which you can apply to bring about positive personal change. I have been using these simple but powerful interventions myself and have assisted others with effective results.

1)     Reframing (changing the way you see a potential problem situation.)

  1. For YOU : a new view of the problem, of others involved, or of yourself can prompt new, more advantageous behavior.
  2. For others involved: a new view of the situation, themselves, and/ or possibly of you may lead to a more positive attitude toward you.
  3. Look for responsibility in the situation, not to place blame or guilt, but so you can know what you can change. Leave the changing of others to others. Just work on changing your perceptions, attitudes and behavior. Others may respond positively or not but you will see things from a different, more positive perspective.
  4. Identify FOR YOURELF a new and more positive way to look at a problem or situation, i.e. problems are opportunities to learn and grow.

2)     Interruption (cut short and change the behavior that initiates the problem)

  1. Identify the behavior, perception or attitude that leads up to the problem and then begin making small changes in behavior (doing something different) and watch the attitudes of yourself and others change to a new, more positive way of thinking and behaving. See if the problem doesn't start to become an asset instead of a liability and begin to cause less and less trouble in your life.
  2. Begin making small deliberate changes and you will begin to notice a new you and the way you see yourself, your life and,especially your relationships with others.
  3. A minimal change can bring previously "stuffed" feelings or habits which you were barely aware of into a more active consciousness. Then you can start working on changing the belief or feeling and begin to activate positive changes in your life that you previously thought impossible. The key is to begin with small deliberate changes in thinking about and in the actual "doing of the problem". Change the "doing of the problem" before, during and after and it won't be a problem anymore.

3)     Be Curious

  1. Look for insight into the "exceptional times" (when you "did it right"), when things went well and/or that you did something different, no matter how seemingly insignficant at the time, that that was beneficial rather than harmful in your life.
  2. These exceptions can give you self knowledge about the successes of which you may have been previously unaware. These exceptions can be acknowledged, reinforced and built on. They can point you  toward further success. Success breeds success so you need to know when you were successful.

4)     Practicing

  1. Figure out what works for you and do more of it - build on exceptions to problem or harmful behavior, or on the prechange changes that had started even before you are aware of the problem much less the solution.
  2. Be aware of and start rehearsing those small changes that are part of the exception (when things worked for you) and you will begin to possess the solution to making positive changes in your life and your relationships will be much more satisfying and fulfilling for you and the significant others in your life.

5)     Imagining

  1. Act “as if” the solution/goal has been achieved already.
  2. Acting “as if” will allow you to behave differently, and it helps to ask others look for differences in you, positive or negative, and it can add some fun to the process.


6)     Do Something Different !!!

  1. If what you have been doing hasn't worked DO SOMETHING different.
  2. The important this is to , do something (anything) but do something different !!!


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Modified September 16, 2001 Ricardo B. Serrano, R.Ac.