Solution Focused Brief Therapy: Is it for me?

Dan Duncan's picture

solution-focused-therapy-briefSolution focused brief therapy (SFBT) targets the desired outcome of therapy as a solution rather than focusing on the symptoms or issues that cause the distress and brought the individual to therapy. This technique concentrates on the present and the future of the individual, and avoids focusing on past experiences.

The individual is encouraged to envision their future as they want it to be and then the counselor and patient collaborate to identify a series of steps to help achieve the goal. Reviewing and dissecting the individual's vision is the initial focus; determining what skills, resources, and abilities that person needs to develop and use to attain the desired outcome. Solution focused therapy was developed by Steve De Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg, and their team at the Brief Family Therapy Family Center in Milwaukee, USA. Their goal was to help patients create changes that were tangible for each person and not just insight to their issues.

How Does Solution Focused Brief Therapy Work?

SFBT maintains that change is inevitable and constant for everyone regardless of the issues they face. Step 1 examines the elements of the individual's life they wish to alter and also those elements they want to leave unchanged. This allows the person to identify and clarify specific change without barriers. The patient and therapist then devise a vision of a possible future after change. They collaborate to mold and define it in detail in order to allow the patient to hold that clear picture in his or her mind.

During the next step, the therapist guides the patient in finding specific moments in his or her life in which he or she felt similar to the desired future image. Correlating the two visions, or experiences, allows the individual to identify which actions they took in the past to achieve a similar outcome to the one they would like to achieve in the future. Barriers to progress often exist due to the results that followed the positive experience. However, the basis of this form of therapy is to maintain a constant focus on the future, and to only rely on the past experiences as a resource.

The therapist then helps the client accept the changes necessary, and focus on continuing the steps that will achieve the future goal identified earlier. By having this vision of the future and specific steps to achieving this future, the individual leaves therapy with both a goal and a strategy to reach that goal.

Many of the materials on Selfhelpdirect apply to this model of creating your own change. If you are looking for some materials that will focus on solutions, check out the ACE Log, and the Old System New System worksheet,


Anonymous's picture

No therapy works well at

No therapy works well at present. I sought help from a number of guys and ultimately found some troubles in my plan.

Dan Duncan's picture

Therapy does work

Therapy can work if it is done right and with a foundation in research. I would encourage you to look into a therapist first and interview them about their approach. I always give that information before beginning. Good luck and I hope that you have some better luck with therapists.
Dan Duncan LPC

Dan Duncan, LPC

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