First presented at The Developing Group 30 Nov 2013 'Solution Focus' Through a Clean Lens - Parts 1-4
James Lawley and Penny Tompkins
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, 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.
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.
A comprehensive comparison of SF and SyM is beyond the scope of this paper. However, by looking at specific similarities and differences between the two approaches we hope to illuminate both methods.
The paper is in four parts (each available as a pdf download):
1. Comparison of principles, processes and practices
2. Analysis of a SF session
3. Summary of similarities and differences
4. List of common SF questions and cleaner versions
Coincidently, another article on a similar theme was published at the same time by Schenck, Klaus
(2013). "So What's a Meta For?" InterAction - The Journal of Solution Focus in Organisations
, Volume 5, Number 2, November 2013, pp. 35-53(19), SFCT.
Purchase from: ingentaconnect.com/content/sfct/inter/2013/00000005/00000002/art00004
. Dr Schenck says the approach of "Clean Language" has cultivated a whole set of questions
that may be helpful to know about, and useful for extending the toolbox
of Solution Focus questions.