Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

Conference Report: 2nd Danish Solution Focused Conference

The 2nd Danish solution focused conference ( took place last week in Copenhagen. With 50 participants and 2 days program on "Difference that makes a difference" it was a joint event of EBTA and SOLWorld, put together by Jesper H Christiansen ( and Anne-Marie Wulf ( .

Nora Bateson ( opened the conference with an inspiring presentation on the main conference theme. This quote is associated with Gregory Bateson but Nora stressed that William Bateson (father of Gregory and founder of what we call now genetics expressed the idea before him. William also had the idea "treasure your exceptions". Nora works on initiating research which keeps the "things" being investigated in their context. This makes great sense of connectedness and wholeness, and taking parts out of their interdependence seems to be less useful. To grasp this interconnection, multiple descriptions of anything we want describe are needed. She argued persuasively against flow charts and structure boxes and suggested metaphors which leave space for unexpected and mutual influencing of the "parts", "zooming in and out". Her work was inspirational for SF practitioners who are engaged in seeing families and clients as whole organisms - and in my subjective view closer to our work than I could get it, back at the SOLWorld conference in Hungary, 2011.

In the following workshop slot, Karin Pharès showed her work,  Jesper H. Christiansen introduced a case "solution focused future forum" (See description in InterAction: in an interactive way.
My own workshop (Kati Hankovszky Christiansen) was also a space for learning within the solution focused paradigm (see in Interaction ). In the highly individualised process led by questions/suggestions for interactions, connections were explored between learning and solution focus(ed conversations): also the topic of my current PhD research. We used examples of recent professional learning experiences to find that interaction enables learning, that organised learning events are not necessarily the most common environment for learning and that declaring a situation as "learning " makes an experience adaptive (similar to my finding in a microstudy, 2015, unpublished). These findings resonate with current efforts to recognise adults learning under informal conditions as often happens in communities of practice - such as SOLWorld :)

The second round of workshops allowed a live conversation to be studied, Henrik Christensen gave a workshop on SF in Schools. Harry Korman offered a workshop on "exceptions" and spoke with engagement against a "thinning out" of the solution focused model and for paying attention to exceptions (which show a family resemblance to "what's better" questions) and for giving tasks. As well as Harry’s extensive knowledge of all Steve de Shazer’s texts, his case examples were inspiring. The first client he quoted (a case from 2004) seemed not to be able to find any times when her very disturbing problem was not happening. Harry´s staying persistent got its prize: suddenly a 30-minutes period during the previous week when she could control her problem
could be identified. Harry used a recent case to show how he managed by really closely detailed work to co-create 3 exceptions from the time since the previous session - and showed how classic tasks can serve client's focusing his attention on his preferred future actions. Impressive: Harry's not-questioning the frame of the client .(ok,ok we know it's normal for SF practice but he's REALLY accepting all conditions which were there when they stopped the conversation).
Kitchen table was in Danish, sorry, no details ;)

The start of the second day allowed participants to wrap up 1st day's experiences.
In a keynote speech, Peter Szabó introduced his latest thoughts on changing change the first time (as Harry Korman commented: changing our talking about change) - and offered three stories with his comments. Change is already happening, so you can relax and see what might come out of it... (A transcript of his talk will be available soon on his new homepage.)
His presentation was followed by an reportedly excellent workshop of Anette Kureer on SF leadership (leading is not a science, it's a meeting of people), Anne-Marie Wulf on SF mentoring (a Danish local format of helping (young) individuals),
Sofie Geisler and Jonas Wells put together an interactive workshop on large scale SF work (such as governmental negotiations, coordination of different governmental and non-governmental Services). Their examples from Sweden and Mexico illustrated the incredible adaptability of solution focused conversations. In my view they managed to create a remarkable and encouraging/contagious description of their large scale work, DESCRIBING the relevant interactions without wanting to create a model or a recipe, which is a very solution focused way to allow new actions for us fellow practitioners.
An impressively active first open space at a Danish conference followed.
Another excellent choice of the organisers: the last plenary offered the stage to Solveig Larsen to share her just-completed Master thesis on "Hope in solution focused practice" - refreshing excellent inspiration with touching AND funny stories.

Dear SOLworld community, you are lucky, some of these guys will show up in Liverpool!!! Join the conference or the online study buddy possibility :D

thx for reading sooooo far. deep bow
Kati Hankovszky>

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