A few months back, I went to a networking event and met a fellow counsellor who shared a message with me that stuck like glue.
This message was along the lines of: “most people that seek counselling do so because they have lost confidence in their capabilities and strengths for dealing with the difficulties of life.”
This is so applicable to working within SKATTLE’s post-structuralist strengths-based framework.
In working with people to re-write problem stories, the focus is on finding the strengths and solutions that are already being used by a person (even if they do not realise it), as well as any other solutions and exceptions to the problem.
What has blown me away is just how quickly a person can get back in touch with her strengths.
Through the process of separating the person from the problem, an individual no longer must define herself through the issue. She can see how the problem affects her, and how these effects and her reactions to the effects reveal the things that are important to her.
This is where she can find the foundations for strengths and abilities. She can explore what she does to live by these values and how, in the present and future, she can find new ways to live out these values.
This is such a powerful thing to reconnect with, and is the foundation of all meaningful strengths-based work.
It may not lead to all the answers and fixes immediately, but it is a point of getting back in touch with the inner strength that sometimes gets lost in the confusing and ever-changing difficulties of life.
It has been a personal honour being present with people as they get back in touch with this important piece of themselves.
The amazing part is just how quickly behaviours, language, and physical expression can change once that connection is remade.
It is as if a light switch has been turned on and the person can finally see the possibilities that she possesses.
Clarity replaces confusion. Strength builds from values. Narratives are reworked so that they are no longer a hinderance.
The strengths-based approach allows a person freedom to live a life she wants, based on what is important to her.
I find that SKATTLE’s focus on strengths and solutions is refreshing.
It is something that should not be reserved only for counselling sessions but belongs in everyday life. The strengths explored during sessions are not only important for managing the difficulties that brought a person in, but translate across various aspects of their lives.
When a person realises this, she can move more confidently through life.
Article written by Margaret Craig, one of our great team members at SKATTLE