N is for noticing 

I was talking recently with a client, Gemma (not her real name), who described herself as ‘numb’. 

In my work as a Solution Focused Practitioner, I often notice that clients struggle to notice the moments or the smallest glimmers where things are a little better for them. It is so easy to focus on the negatives, on all that is not right and overlook the moments, however small, that are brighter or better. 

In the Solution Focused session that I had with Gemma, I asked her what she might notice she would be feeling or experiencing if she were not feeling numb. She used words such as better, happy and more confident. Talking further, Gemma described that she might be able to focus and people might notice she would be smiling more. 

We talked about how she was coping. She spoke about going for short walks and reading. I noticed that she became quite animated, recalling her love of reading that she had found again. Our conversation progressed and this led to her noticing that she was onto her third book. We explored what she noticed about herself when she was reading. She described being in a bubble where she could relax, no longer overthink as she was focused on the story, being in her happy space and even laughing or crying whist she was immersed in the stories. When I asked her to reflect on the differences that relaxing and focusing on the story had brought, she noticed that since starting to read at night, she was now sleeping deeply and waking feeling more refreshed. 

At the end of the conversation, Gemma was feeling more hopeful and able to notice that there were moments in her life when the numbness was replaced by the feelings she longed to reappear. 

I could relate to Gemma’s feelings of ‘numb’. I remember, that hollowed out sensation, just observing the world going on around me. I could witness others whilst I went through the motions with a nothingness that I carried. It felt as if I was always holding my breath. Her four-letter word carried me back to the vivid memory of the Lady Gaga concert I had attended with my nephew, in 2014. I was the lucky aunt and chaperone. I had that ‘out of body experience’ of being there but not being there. I witnessed not only the spectacle of the concert but also the joy, exuberance and delight of my nephew. I felt nothing.  

Fortunately, I have ‘re-found my way’ and life and times have moved on. The space I inhabit is now full of emotion and energy. 

Whilst I will not have been through the challenges that my client’s have faced or are currently living through, my work using Solution Focused conversations helps people feel heard, respected and empowered to move towards their desired outcomes.