Inaugural Meeting of the Solution-Focused Collective

We were in London on Monday 6th August for the inaugural meeting of the Solution-focused Collective, convened by Guy Shennan: it’s exploring possibilities for using SF approaches for social change.

The idea has been emerging in the SF community in the UK for a while, and gathered momentum at the UKASFP conference in Liverpool in June.

A websearch brought Guy to Zebra, as one of our founding notions is that SF approaches can enhance any social change project, and we’ve been working on this idea for all our 15 years – albeit we know we can – and will – be doing a lot more.

The meeting was stimulating, with good energy and collective will – and it’s always so refreshing to be in a room with a bunch who really get SF.

More news soon. And next meeting scheduled for Stoke on 8th October.

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more – and perhaps get involved.

Meanwhile the latest draft of the manifesto is reproduced below, and it can also be found in the Solution-Focused Collective Facebook group and on Twitter (@solfocollective), which you are invited to join and follow if this project is of interest to you.

Draft Manifesto for a Critically Engaged Solution-Focused Practice

We hold this truth to be self-evident, that solution-focused practice can assist people in moving towards the lives they wish to live.

Solution-focused practice helps people to cope with the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.

We are angered by the oppression we see around us, believe that public issues should not be translated into private troubles, and thus are committed to social change.

So we have a dream, that solution-focused practitioners can come together, and use the power of our approach collectively towards the social change that is needed.

Our best hopes are for a world where there is social justice and freedom for all.

Our preferred future is a world of equality, reciprocity and interdependence, and of communities that enable people to lead lives of fulfillment.

We believe that there are instances of this everywhere, and that there has always been progress towards this future, wherever people have come together for the greater good.

The history of our preferred future includes the campaign and reform sides of social work present at its beginnings, alongside help provided to individuals and families.

The history of our preferred future includes the critical and radical psychologists who opposed austerity and now call for social change.

The history of our preferred future includes community work and community development, where workers get alongside people in their communities and agitate for change.

The history of our preferred future includes solution-focused practitioners and others who have worked with people in groups and not only on their own.

To realise our hopes, we aim to develop our solution-focused practice so that 

  • it acknowledges the social and environmental causes of people’s distress and difficulties
  • it extends beyond the realm of the individual to embrace collective and social action
  • we evaluate the impact of our solution-focused work on promoting social justice and equality, going beyond evaluation focusing only on individual improvement measures
  • we build links with movements for social justice and equality, and with practitioners of other approaches committed to these aims
  • we critically reflect on our methods and on whether they maintain oppressive relations

We call on solution-focused practitioners everywhere! To join us in our collective aims, for a campaigning solution-focused practice, for a critical solution-focused practice, for a solution-focused practice that we take into our communities and offer to those in greatest need.

We call on solution-focused practitioners to rise up, to break free at last, for we have nothing to lose but our individualised chains!