Presented at The Developing Group 30 Nov 2013
We were recently invited by a group of experienced Solution Focus (SF) practitioners to compare and contrast Symbolic Modelling and Clean Language (SyM & CL) with the SF approach.
The originators of SF, Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg (pictured), were influential in the design of both our Framework For Change and Symbolic Modelling Lite, so we were delighted to take up the offer.
In preparing our talk, we quickly realised that while SF and SyM shared much, there were fundamental differences at all levels: principle, process and practice. It was also clear that slightly modifying some of the SF questions would make them ‘cleaner’. As a result SF would retain its essence while adding in some of the advantages of a clean approach. At the same time, some Solution-Focus vectors could become part of the Symbolic Modelling repertoire.
A comprehensive comparison of SF and SyM was beyond the scope of our research. However, by looking at a model SF transcript, similarities and differences between the two approaches could be used to illuminate both methods. In Joining Up The Work of David Grove we used a ‘join up’ rather than ‘integrate’ philosophy. Similarly, we aimed to join up both SF and Clean in ways that preserve the nature of each. And the way we did this could be applied to many other methodologies.
Five years after the above we revisited the ideas and with the help of Alex Manea we published our research in the Journal of Experiential Psychotherapy.