«One Heart, Many Hands» – Reflections on diversity, relationships, and expanding conversations. Opening plenary at the Conference on Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Toronto 8–9th of November 2013
Solution focused practice has today been influential in a wide array of settings, like family therapy, health care, social services, coaching, and many more. Furthermore, this approach has engaged people all over the world, in an amazingly versatile way, irrespective of these peoples’ sociocultural backgrounds. Observing that the solution focused approach reaches out to this super diversity, itself quietly revolving around some core working principles, prompts suggestive descriptions like ‘one heart, many hands’, thus harking back to well-known Asian iconography in the form of deities or bodhisattvas. On the other hand, Steve de Shazer sometimes compared the solution focused model to a ‘master key’, capable of unlocking not one, but a great number of doors. Such metaphors raise, however, questions like: ‘What characterizes this working core?’, ‘Why would we like to unlock these locked doors?’ and ‘Where will they take us?’
I will, in this presentation, reflect on some features that seem to linger behind (or perhaps in the periphery of) solution focused work , shared by a multitude of people, and emerging differently in different settings as this model continues to attract and inspire teachers, spiritual leaders, executive officers, entrepreneurs, coaches, and therapists alike.