By Trafalgar’s Editorial Team
This Article is Written By Amber Stephenson, MSW, RSW, CSAT
Solution Focused Therapy (SFT)
Solution focused therapy is a type of brief intervention style used in psychotherapy, especially psychotherapy treatment that may be short-term.
This may include psychotherapy that is limited to a certain amount of sessions, or sessions that are one-time interventions, or not regularly scheduled sessions.
Solution focused therapy, as named, focuses on finding solutions rather than processing or dwelling on “problems”.
This type of therapy helps instill hope and often results in experiences of more positive emotion, whether that is hope, a sense of accomplishment, or a sense of regaining control over ones life.
In solution-focused therapy, goals related to “problems in living” are identified, and the clinician and client work together to explore potential solutions and how to create room for the solutions to be put in place.
In this way, solution focused therapy is very goal oriented; beyond identifying a primary goal, this type of intervention also focuses on building motivation and creating specific plans for meeting such goals.
One premise of solution focused therapy is that people already know what changes they need, or how to create these changes, but that working with a therapist allows these concepts to become more clear, and can help with creating a plan for change.
This is frequently done by imagining life without the problem – what would be different? What else would have to change?
By imagining the life we want for ourselves, we can often see the difference between our current life with ‘the problem’ and our ideal future, without ‘the problem’. This can provide great insight into what would need to be changed to create the life we want.
Often times, if relevant, this exploration includes looking back at times in which the problem was not present, or not as ominous, and extrapolating “what was working” or what was different at that time, then making attempts to incorporate this knowledge into the present to reduce the impact of presence of “the problem”.
This is based on the idea that people have the resources within themselves to manage ‘problems’ and that in looking at their coping strategies or past attempts at managing, they likely have insight into what they need and how to implement what they need.
Solution focused therapy is different from other approaches in that the focus is largely on the present and future, and that it does not involve specific tools or skills for practice.
For this reason, solution focused therapy is largely used for challenges that are presenting concerns in the present and much less on why these challenges arise or historical patterns of challenges.