Teri Pichot, LCSW, MAC, LAC
Solution-Focused Trainer and Solution-Focused Therapist Littleton, CO
Hi. I’m Teri. Thanks for checking out our site. Let me introduce myself. I was originally trained as a drug and alcohol counselor back in the late ‘80s. I chose this profession because I had a passion for helping people, and I’ve always wanted to push myself to be the best at whatever I do. Learning to work with those who struggle with addiction seemed like the perfect fit to hone my skills due to the inherent challenges and complex problems that come with addiction. However, I soon became disillusioned with this field. I, like my colleagues, was trained to be the expert and to help clients solve problems. I was taught tools to break through denial, confront cognitive dissonance, help create functional family patterns, etc. What seemed simple in the classroom was exhausting in real life. Clients often did not share the professional view of the problem, and prescribed solutions most often were not an effective fit for the clients. Burnout and negative thinking toward clients was common in professional crowds, and all of this lead me to question if I could do this . . . if I even wanted to do this. I loved working with my clients, but quite frankly, working in settings in which professionals were highly skeptical of clients’ prognoses was challenging. I tried working with other populations such as domestic violence victims, adolescents, and families, as well as different settings such as residential and in-home treatment. Everywhere I went I found professionals who were frustrated and burned out. I did not want to become one of them.
In 1992 I attended a workshop on how to work with couples who were experiencing domestic violence. It was a controversial topic, yet this idea of listening to what clients are truly saying and becoming curious about what they think might work was deeply attractive to me. This workshop turned out to be all about Solution-Focused Brief Therapy. There . . . for the first time, I heard the trainer speak with such profound respect for and hope in clients. I knew instantly that this was a turning point in my career. I went up to this instructor and asked to become part of his group of therapists, who volunteered their time working with couples. After much convincing, I was allowed to join. It was in this group, I met Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer (the founders of this model) and ultimately learned the art of using Solution-Focused Brief Therapy. Watching them work was inspirational. Clients who were angry, resentful, mandated into treatment, etc., transformed within minutes into motivated clients who readily identified strategies for lasting change. I knew then, that it was possible to maintain one’s passion for helping others and to leave a work day energized and hopeful. I was blessed to work with Insoo, Steve, and many other mentors for the next decade, and it is because of them that I not only remain in the mental health field, but that I’m still passionate about my work.
In the mid ‘90s I accepted an opportunity to run an outpatient treatment program for those dealing with co-occurring disorders. During those 15 years, I learned firsthand the administrative struggles of complying with state, federal, and local regulations and mandates while ensuring that clients receive the best possible care with dwindling resources. I learned to cope with high caseloads, inexperienced staff, low reimbursement rates, high visibility, the push for evidenced-based practice . . . all the things that go with community mental health and substance misuse treatment. It is a problem-focused world that is high paced and very unforgiving. Despite this, I found a way to use Solution-Focused Brief Practice in every aspect from client care, supervision, policy development, quality assurance, outcome measurement, and strategic planning. I learned that SFBT was much more than a therapeutic model, but is a powerful way of thinking and working with people from all walks of life.
So, that brings my story to today and this training center. Now, 30 years later, I am even more passionate about clients and creating change than I was when I started. However, now, my focus is on helping professionals of all kinds learn a different way of thinking and working with clients. . . one that instills a deep sense of hope and respect for each and every individual. I want you and other professionals in all settings from the community mental health and substance rehab centers to those working in private practice, in schools, prisons, medical centers, and everywhere people are in need of change to discover this powerful evidenced-based, solution-focused language that allows you to keep your passion and remember why you chose this field. I hope that you will join us and become part of the solution-focused community.
See Teri Pichot's CV