Researching a new book on brief therapy I have been struck once again by how much work has been done on understanding what helps people with change in their lives. The information is out there, but for the most part we ignore it.
Instead of looking at what works – what has helped someone change or adapt to change in the past, for example – we all too often tend to do more of the same. Repeating our failed attempts simply reinforces our sense of powerlessness in relation to the problem. This is doubly damaging when our job is to help others change and our strategies involve setting them up for failure.
However well we know them, it is useful to revisit the simple rules:
- Find out what works and do more of it.
- If it’s not working do something different.