Solution focused brief therapy
SFBT reflects the basic notions about change, interaction, and reaching the goal. The solution-focused therapist assumes people have the ability to define meaningful personal goals and that they have resources available required to solve their problems. Goals are unique for each client and are constructed by the client to create a better future. When there is a lack of clarity regarding client preferences, goals, and desired outcomes results in a rift between therapist and client.
What to expect?
Walter and Peller (1992) described four steps to characterize the process of SFBT: (1) What clients want is searched rather than searching for what they do not want. (2) Pathology is not looked after, and no attempt is made to reduce clients by providing them a diagnostic label. Instead, what clients are doing that is already working is looked after and the client is encouraged to continue in that direction. (3) If what clients are doing is not working, the client is encouraged to experiment with doing something different. (4) The therapy is kept brief by approaching each session as if it were the last and or the only session.
How does it work?
De Shazer (1991) purports clients can naturally build solutions to their problems without any assessment of the nature of their problems. With this framework, the structure of solution building differs greatly from classical approaches to problem solving as is evident in this brief description of the steps involved:
1. Clients are provided an opportunity to describe their problems. The therapist listens respectfully and actively as clients answer the therapist’s question, “How can I be useful to you?”
2. The therapist works with clients in creating well-formed goals as soon as possible. The question posed is, “What will be different in your life when your problems are solved?”
3. The therapist enquire clients about those times when their problems were not present or when these problems were less severe. Clients are helped in exploring these exceptions, with emphasis on what was their contribution to these events happen.
4. During termination of each solution-building conversation, the therapist offers clients summary feedback, provides encouragement, and suggests what the client might observe or do before the next session to further resolve their problem.
5. The therapist and clients together evaluate the progress being made in reaching satisfactory solutions by using ratings scale. Clients are asked what should be done before they see their problem as being solved.
When is it used?
Clients are much more encouraged to fully participate in the therapeutic process if they find themselves as determining the direction and purpose of the conversation. Much of the therapeutic process is is to involves clients’ thinking about their future and what they want to be changed in their lives. Solution-focused brief therapists adopt a not-knowing position putting the client in the position of being the experts of their own lives. Therapists do not assume that by virtue of their expertise they know the significance of the client’s actions and experiences better than the client.
Role of the therapist:
Solution-focused therapists focus on small, achievable, realistic, changes that can lead to additional positive outcomes. Because success will build upon itself, modest goals are into as the beginning of change. Solution-focused practitioners initiates with the language of their clients, using similar words, pacing, and tone. Therapists employs questions as following these that presuppose change, posit multiple answers, and remain future-oriented and goal-directed: “What did you notice that went better?” or “What did you do, and what has changed since last time?”