Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

The psychotherapeutic model I most often follow is Solution-Focused Brief Therapy.

It is called ‘solution-focused’ because it spends only as much time as needed to understand the problem, and as much time as possible helping the client discover solutions. It is a ‘strengths-based’ approach precisely because it looks at the strengths and resources a client has, and doesn’t get bogged down in problem-talk.

It is called a ‘brief therapy’ because, on average, the number of sessions required for the client to feel that they have achieved their counselling goals is less than through traditional means. But each client is unique so I can offer no guarantees on how many sessions your own particular goals might take to meet.

Here’s an example of a session with a client that shows how Solution-Focused therapy seeks to find positives and strengths upon which a client can draw.

CLIENT: Do you know it got so bad, that on Saturday I felt like running away and leaving them all, but I couldn’t do it.
THERAPIST: Things got so bad for you that you felt like leaving … but you didn’t … what made you hang in there?
CLIENT: Well, I thought of how alone my children would be if I left, of how much they need me.
THERAPIST: Sounds like you have a lot of love for them … that you really want to be there for them?
CLIENT: [a little tearful] Yes. 
THERAPIST: What does that say about you as a person … that you want to be there for your children … even despite the pain you feel yourself?
CLIENT: [pause] It means that I want to be the best mother I can be for them.
THERAPIST: I can really see that. 

These are the fundamental underpinnings of SFBT:

  • Clients have strengths and resources;
  • The relationship between therapist and client has therapeutic value;
  • Change happens all the time;
  • A small change will generate larger change;
  • Rapid change is possible;
  • The focus is on the present and the future;
  • Clear goals are essential;
  • The attempted solution may be part of the problem;
  • The focus is on people not problems;
  • ‘Resistance’ is a function of the therapeutic relationship;
  • Knowing the cause of a problem is not necessary to do effective therapy.

Contact me if you’d like to know more.


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