Solution focused therapy (SFT) is a relatively new therapeutic approach that has garnered increasing attention in the mental health field. Developed in the 1980s by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg, SFT is based on the belief that people are constantly seeking solutions to their problems. This therapist-client interaction focuses on helping clients find these solutions rather than dwelling on the past. The result is often a more positive outlook and a greater sense of self-efficacy.
Solution-focused short-term therapy (SFST) is a variation of SFT that is specifically designed for brief interventions. SFST can be used to treat a variety of issues, including depression, anxiety, stress, and adjustment difficulties.
Solution-focused short-term therapy is an approach to psychotherapy that concentrates on the issues that help clients focus on solutions rather than problems. It explores practical behavioral changes based on what the client accomplishes and learns.
The therapist assists in solving current difficulties, guiding people toward life choices, and helping them avoid those critical mistakes that can lead to more serious psychological or social problems.
This ‘solution-focused’ endeavor offers people a way of managing their lives successfully while remaining true to themselves in terms of personal values–values they are actually living out in terms of everyday actions, by making occasional exceptions from time to time when it seems appropriate to do so.
What is different about Solution Focused Therapy?
Solution Focused Therapy is different from other forms of therapy in that it is brief and solution-oriented. It is a goal-directed approach that focuses on the future, rather than on the past.
It is based on the belief that people are capable of change and that most problems can be solved if they have enough resources and support. This type of therapy helps clients to identify their goals and to find solutions to their problems.
What is Solution Focused Therapy ?
Solution focused therapy is called short-term therapy in its first form and solution-centered or probabilistic therapy in its second form. In solution focused therapy there is no such thing as absolute truth, solution focused therapies are extremely optimistic. In this theory, it is thought that people form their own realities, and if there is a problem, it can be solved by rearranging it in a constructive way.
Customer consulting in solution focused therapy or problem is also called a complaint. The therapist focuses on the strengths of clients, believing that they have sufficient resources to solve their problems. Thus, the current potential of the client will be maximized. Solution focused therapy opposes traditional psychotherapy methods. We can summarize these differences as follows.
- While other approaches emphasize the difficulty of change, it is believed here that change can occur continuously.
- It is believed that there is no need to have a serious underlying cause of symptoms in solution-focused therapy.
- It is not necessary to understand the cause of the symptom and to give the client awareness and insight.
- It is unbelievable that in solution focused therapy clients are ambivalent and resistant to change.
- It is believed to be quite effective in superficial and short interventions in solution focused therapy.
- In traditional therapies, deficiency and pathology are determined and tried to be corrected, while in solution focused therapy, the pathology is not looked at.
The Basic Assumptions of Solution Focused Therapy
- Clients have strengths and resources to resolve their complaints. The therapist’s task is to help the client access these resources and use them for solutions.
- Change is continuous and always possible. If the client knows this, he will act as if change is inevitable.
- The therapist should define what change is and strive for more change.
- It is not necessary to know much about the complaint to resolve the complaint. Knowing the cause or function of the complaint does not change the result.
- A small change chain method will also affect the change in other parts. Therefore, all that is required is for a small change to occur.
- Unless an illegal and clearly unrealistic goal is in question, the clients determine the goal.
- A quick change is always possible.
- There is no single correct path for events. Different points of view may also be valid.
- Focusing on possible and changeable things rather than impossible and difficult things will ensure success.
Solution-oriented therapy usually does not care about what motivates people. The clients are observed what they want to achieve, and they are helped to find a solution using their strengths as well as their available resources.
The purpose of the solution-oriented meeting is to make the client talk about the problem in a way that will lead to change. No negative value is attributed to complaints, no labeling is made, only dealt with in terms of specific behavior appropriate to change. Solution focused therapy has brought no theory to personality development and dysfunction. This method of therapy is more of a counseling theory. It is necessary to know how the change will not occur for the change to happen. If you want to stay stuck, do the following.
- Don’t listen to anyone.
- Listen to everyone.
- Always analyze, but don’t make any changes.
- Always blame others for your problems and behavior.
- Always blame yourself for every negativity.
- Keep doing things that don’t work.
- Keep thinking the same thoughts even if what you’re focusing on doesn’t work.
- Remove people who will help you, maintain relationships with people who do not help.
- The most important thing is to always be right.
Since the psychopathology state is never entered in solution-focused therapy, as soon as the counseling process begins, interviews are made to produce solutions. Although the therapist has professional knowledge about how to maintain and change problems, the client’s personal problems are unique to him and the client has the ability to change it. The therapist focuses on what the client needs to be different without making any assumptions.
Therefore, solution-focused therapy begins with finding out what the client wants. The therapist and counselor should establish specific, achievable and concrete goals. No reasonable goal should be dismissed as trivial. Very small changes can lead to big changes. The following three goals are aimed in the therapy process.
- Changing what is done in a situation perceived as a problem.
- Changing the perspective on the situation.
- To activate existing resources, strengths and solutions regarding the situation perceived as problematic.
What will replace undesirable behaviors must be determined. One of the biggest problems is not knowing what to fill the gap. Solution-oriented therapy focuses on the present, not the past. The first session is very important. Together, the problem will be determined and a goal will be established. The counselor’s “whatever I do is the same” statement can be used as an advantage. The basic principle is to keep doing what works and letting go of what doesn’t work.
Therapeutic Techniques Used in Solution Focused Therapy
- Asking questions: Hypothetical questions are asked to give the client several options.
- Normalizing the problem: The client should be made to feel that he is not crazy or that his situation is not at the extreme point.
- Compliments: There is no one who doesn’t like compliments. The good things clients do must be appreciated.
- Miracle question: “Suppose that at night, while you were sleeping, a miracle happened and the problem was solved. How would you know that was happening? What would it be different? ” The “miracle question” is one of the unique techniques of solution-oriented therapy.
- Rating questions: It is evaluated with the question of where he sees himself today, on a scale from 0 to 10, between 0 indicating the worst case of the problem and 10 indicating that the problem has been completely solved.
- Cut-off task: Clients are asked to stop for a while during the day, to predict whether the problem will occur the next day or whether an exceptional situation will occur.
- Prospective questions: Consultants who cannot think of exceptional situations are asked to design a situation in which there will be no problem in a future situation.
- Finding what the problem is: Asking detailed and specific questions to reveal the complete sequence of events in the problem chain.
- Externalization: The problem is excluded from the client by giving a name.
- Task given in the first session: Until the next session, he is asked to observe the things he wants to continue in the relationship (such as family, marriage, friendship).
- Breaking the patterns: The complaint pattern is tried to be manipulated by changing the factors such as body behavior, location, duration, and timing associated with the pattern.
- The task of surprise: The client is directed to do something that will surprise the family member or partner.
- Write, read and burn: Useful for obsessive or depressive thoughts.
- Structured fighting: The therapist creates a fight scenario by giving instructions to the couples.
- Do not do something different: It is applied to prevent “Whatever I do is the same” syndrome.
- Solution-focused hypnosis: With hypnosis, skills that help solve the problem are suggested.
In summary, solution focused therapy is a constructivist approach developed as a well-established alternative model to traditional counseling models. Rather than spending time dealing with the client’s problem and examining it to the finest point, the focus is on the times when there is no complaint or on exceptions. The solution is emphasized as the essence of psychotherapy.