Want to try therapy, but turned off by the idea that you have to endlessly talk about your past? Or worried it will take years and years to see results, and you aren't the patient type?

Then solution focused brief therapy might be for you.

What is solution focused brief therapy?

Solution focused brief therapy (SFBT) is pretty much what it says on the tin. Also called just ‘brief therapy’ or ‘solution focused therapy’, it’s a time-limited form of talk therapy that uses sessions to find solutions for what is troubling you, over endlessly going over all the problems you have now and in the past.

So instead of focusing on your issues that have landed you in therapy, you work on the present and future you want, and how you can make them happen.

Created by American husband and wife psychologists, Steve de Shzer and Kim Berg, SFBT rose from their fascination with finding a way for the couples and families they worked with to solve communication issues quickly. They realised this happened when it was the solution that was focused on, and not the problem.

How SFBT therapy uses the past

It’s not that you totally ignore your past in SFBT. The past has obviously made you who you are today. It’s just that it is used as a reference point, not the main topic.

For example, say you are certain you are a failure and can’t see how you could ever create a future where you actually have any kind of success.

Your therapist might help you cast your mind back to find all the times in your past where you actually were already successful. Together you could look at the inner resources you used to achieve your goals, and discuss how you could bring those same resources into your present day choices.

The ideas solution focused therapy is based on

  • Focus on the future, not on the past.
  • Recognise you already have the inner resources to solve your problems.
  • And that change is inevitable, including positive change. Problems aren’t forever.
  • Small steps lead to big change.
  • Focus on what you can change and what is possible.
  • You are the expert on you, so it’s up to you to define your goals.

“Miracle’ questions

SFBT is known for its focus on the power of questions, including what it calls ‘miracle questions’.

This is a way of questioning that helps you quickly create a vision of a near future you want, and also believe it could really happen.

Say that your issue was that you felt you’d never have a good relationship with your mother. A therapist could suggest:

Imagine tonight, when you were sleeping, a miracle occurred. When you get up tomorrow, what would you suddenly notice that would let you know that the relationship with your Mother had improved?

The therapist-client relationship in brief therapy

Solutions-focused therapy, like many of the newer types of therapy, sees the relationship you have with your therapist as a key tool of therapy. Just like person-centred therapy, SFBT encourages a therapist to share empathy, warmth, and genuine respect for the client and their resourcefulness.

What issues can SFBT help me with?

Solution focused brief therapy can be useful for:

Ready to give solution focused brief therapy a whirl? Book a SFBT therapist now and start creating your perfect future.

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