Activism – a manifesto of sorts
I went into social work originally because I wanted to change the world and because I wanted to help people (and because I hoped and thought that I might be good at it).
Like many others before me I came to realise that, by and large, social work is not about changing the world. And, except in indirect ways, solution-focused therapy, coaching and supervision are not about changing the world either. When I am working with a client then I am working to their agenda, and my job is to help them to achieve what they want from working with me, to the best of my ability, as long as this falls within my legitimate remit.
Being an activist is about working to change the world. But changing the world can also include changing and developing the way one works to help people. Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg, by developing the solution-focused approach to therapy, helped to change the world.
And, just as there is a fit between solution focused practice and creativity, so I believe there is also a fit between solution-focused practice and activism. Here is what the pro-Palestinian Israeli journalist, Amira Hass, said, in November 2011:
“I am a very conservative journalist and prefer to write about what happened, and not what will happen. I think these questions about what will happen are questions for activists and about the agency of people in the course of events”.
Having a future focus is to take a radical position, as is to focus on the ‘agency of people’. I am a solution-focused practitioner and I am an activist, and the two roles, while distinct, are related. The energy and focus on change of an activist enlivens my solution-focused work, though this always remains resolutely committed to my client’s agenda. And a solution-focused sensibility informs and aids my activism, where I take my own positions based on my moral beliefs and choices.
And so this website will see evidence of both my solution-focused work and my activism. It cannot not do, as they are, or should be, inextricably linked.