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Some Useful Working Assumptions with Clients and Colleagues: Build More Effective Helping Relationships

Hélène Dellucci, Ferdinand Wolf


To minimise the risk of the professionals’ assumptions turning into beliefs, we describe in this article two sets of assumptions that we developed to help ensure that the professionals maintain a comfortable and effective relationship in despite of difficulties with clients and colleagues. First we lay out some of the conceptual and theoretical landscape underpinning our line of reasoning, including the concepts related to theories of social influence and the relevant solution-focused ideas and practices. We then briefly present the two foregoing sets of solution-focused basic assumptions developed for family therapists by Insoo Kim Berg and Thérèse Steiner (2003). The case of Antoine and his youth workers coming to see Hélène at her practice is presented. Using the theory of autopoïesis and research on mirror neurons we will then reflect on the case and the use of the working assumptions. We conclude that being able to choose useful working assumptions means that the work done in the helping relationship is more constructive and it allows people who have come into therapy to do their part—namely changing their day-to-day lives—in full. Not only can the professional therefore stay within his or her role, but the whole process is more effective and can take place under positive and safe conditions for everyone.


post-traumatic stress, PTSD, working assumptions, solution-focused, professional relationships

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.14335/ijsfp.v1i1.11

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