Solution Focused Brief Therapy is a common type of psychotherapy that is used by many psychologists and therapists. It is based on the idea that an individual should focus on the solutions to their problem rather than the problem itself. Due to its goal-oriented approach to problem-solving, it is one of the most practical therapies that can be used with individuals as well as groups. Moreover, it can help you identify and achieve your goals in a short amount of time.
SFBT (solution-focused brief therapy) involves working with the client to identify their unique strengths as well as the resources they have to create a plan of action through which goals can be achieved. This also involves identifying the obstacles that may prevent them from achieving their desired outcome.
Used in a variety of settings, SFBT is highly effective in dealing with a range of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, stress, relationship problems and more. There are also alternative therapies that follow a similar model, such as solution-focused hypnotherapy. You may need a minimum of six and a maximum of twenty sessions to complete this short-term therapy.
The Origins of SFBT
Before we dive into what steps are involved in SFBT, let’s understand where this therapy originated. SFBT was founded by Steve de Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg, and their colleagues at the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They developed this approach to therapy based on their own experience working with their clients. They noticed that a lot of traditional therapy methods majorly focused on the problem or what the individual lacks. This inspired them to develop a therapeutic approach that was more solution-oriented and focused on people’s strengths.
Moreover, since traditional therapies often took a lot of time, they tried to develop SFBT as a short-term therapy in which clients could find solutions to their problems in a short period of time. SFBT thus encourages therapists to lead their sessions in a manner that encourages the client to focus on their present and the future, instead of their past.
SFBT has since evolved and has now become one of the most widely used approaches to therapy all around the world. It is currently used in a variety of settings like hospitals, schools, clinics and more.
Conducting SFBT in Therapy
SFBT is one of the most popularly used therapies that focus on the goals that an individual aims to achieve. If you want to incorporate SFBT in your sessions, there are some steps you will need to follow. Let’s explore them in detail.
1 Identifying Goals
In the beginning of therapy, you will need to work with the client to understand what they are dealing with and what they want to achieve. Your client may not always have clarity on the goals they want to achieve and may need your assistance. However, do remember to keep your goals realistic, measurable and achievable.
2 Identifying Strengths
In this step, you will work with your client to help them identify the unique strengths that they have. This also includes identifying any successes they’ve had and any achievements they’ve made in the past. Besides that, you will also highlight what resources are presently available to them. This is done to help your client realise that they already have the skills and abilities they need to achieve their goals.
3 Using Scaling Questions
SFBT involves the use of scaling questions that are used to help the client identify what positive changes they want to make in their life. You can use these questions to help your client identify their current rate of satisfaction and the level of satisfaction they wish to achieve with regard to their goals. Doing this helps your client understand the gap between their current standing and their goals. This then encourages them to determine what steps they can take to close this gap.
4 Using Miracle Questions
Along with scaling questions, you may also use miracle questions in therapy. Miracle questions are basically hypothetical questions that prompt the client to imagine what would change if a miracle occurred and their problem was solved overnight. This enables the client to identify the positive changes that they want to make as well as the steps to take to be able to achieve them.
5 Developing A Plan of Action
Once your client has clarity on the goals they want to achieve and the steps they need to take to achieve them, you work on developing a plan of action. In this step, you assist your client in creating a well-structured plan that outlines the specific steps that the client needs to take until they achieve their goal.
6 Reviewing Client Progress
In this step, you revisit your client’s goals and review the progress that they have made over time. This also includes identifying what isn’t working, what needs to change and what adjustments can be made. Besides that, you may also need to help the client stay motivated to achieve their goals.
7 Terminating Therapy
Once your client makes steady progress and achieves their desired goals, it is time to terminate the therapy. You can also terminate therapy once your client has made any significant progress or movement towards achieving their goals.
SFBT is a form of therapy that encourages the client to be the expert of their own life and identify the solutions to their own problems. The therapist’s role is to simply facilitate the process so that the client can stay motivated and on track.