Solution Focused Trifecta - A Guide to Being Solution Focused. Workbook for School Counsellors by Joe George
Solution Focused Future, 2024, 127 pages, ISBN 9798218362522, US$ 16.95

Joe George’s workbook on the Solution Focused model is easy-to-read, thoughtful and concise. Geared towards school counsellors and conversations that might be shorter than a standard therapy session, it supports an informal SF model well attuned to school environments, making it equally easily to co-construct both quick hallway conversations with students or contacts with colleagues and families.

The book opens with a brief history of the model and the basic tenets and skills of an SF session/conversation, alongside George’s own SF journey – it is clear throughout how his roles including teacher, coach and counsellor have informed his learning. His background is also evident in the graphics accompanying templates, with guidance on using scales and ensuring conversational flow, and clear distinctions between group activities and student check-ins. Readers learn both about the SF mindset, and to check in with themselves before a session – showing how really practical this workbook is.

Six easy-to-digest chapters outline the SF mindset, what works, what is wanted, and working towards building what is next. The closing chapter focuses on honing the practitioner’s skills. George also provides a chart showing how CBT-focused skills can be reframed into SF language. Acronyms, templates and thought-provoking questions throughout help readers experiment with the ideas and techniques addressed.

Chapters conclude with opportunities to reflect on what has been learnt and, in true SF fashion, how readers might apply it to themselves, and would notice it working usefully in their own workplaces. The templates are easy to understand and well incorporated into the chapters. Finally, the book offers further templates that can help a conversation to be structured in an SF manner that frees readers from overly focusing on what they are/should be doing, and guides them towards what is happening now in the conversation.

An accompanying series of videos exists, which obviously should greatly extend the textual utility of the book; they have not yet been seen by this reviewer.

To summarise, this workbook benefits greatly from being light on research and theory – it is a guide to practice, with a plain and practical presentation of SF essentials – yet it is sure to provoke rich and frutful conversations. Joe George’s emphasis on how all this matters for the reader in the present, but will still matter as they move forward, is particularly insigthful – and, as we all recognise, quintessentially Solution Focused!