What is Solution-Focused Therapy?
Solution-focused therapy aims to help clients achieve their goals in a positive, collaborative way. Subsequently, it emphasizes solutions and strengths over problems. This therapy is a goal-oriented, collaborative approach with proven effectiveness in helping clients resolve issues in a short timeframe.
Though not appropriate for all clients or issues, solution-focused therapy exemplifies the power of reframing difficulties in a positive light, setting attainable goals, and working together as a team to find solutions. When properly matched to motivated clients, solution-focused therapy can foster higher levels of self-efficacy, hope and motivation that set the stage for rapid, meaningful and lasting improvement.
How It Works
Rather than dwelling on the past, this therapy focuses on the present and future. Therapists:
- Identify exceptions – They ask clients to describe times when the problem did not occur
- Highlight strengths- Therapists help clients recognize their skills and abilities
- Set goals – Therapists work with clients to set small, concrete goals
- Create solutions- Clients generate ideas on how to achieve their goals
- Check progress – Therapists and clients regularly evaluate what is working
When Is It Appropriate?
Solution-focused therapy suits clients who:
- Are motivated for change
- Can visualize solutions
- Want a short-term approach
- Value independence and self-efficacy
Studies show that this therapy:
- Can yield significant improvement in 6 to 12 sessions for issues like depression and anxiety
- Cultivates higher levels of hope and self-efficacy in clients
- Leads to high client satisfaction due to its positive, strengths-based approach
Solution-focused therapy works best for:
- Relatively “well-adjusted” clients
- Issues with clear, focused goals
- Clients who respond well to being solution-oriented
- Problems that can be solved instead of managed
In summary, solution-focused therapy provides clients with the tools to find their own solutions. Consequently, it views clients as capable and places the onus on them to effect change in their lives. When properly matched to an individual’s needs, solution-focused therapy can empower clients to resolve issues rapidly and independently.