Solution Focused Brief Therapy

Solution Focused Brief Therapy (often known as SFBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach that was developed primarily by a husband and wife team of therapists, Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg. These therapists saw change as a natural and inevitable part of each person’s everyday life, and sought to bring about realistic and helpful relief to clients as quickly as possible.

Solution Focused Therapy is a strikingly different approach than most other therapies in one specific philosophical area. Practitioners of this therapeutic approach help people change their feelings and behaviours by turning their attention away from the problem and directing their focus instead towards solutions. Instead of focusing on the problems, clients are asked to describe what a resolution to the problem that brings them to therapy would look like. The approach understands that problems do not happen all the time. Even a severe, chronic life problem has moments where it isn’t present or isn’t as bad. In Solution Focused Brief Therapy a focus is directed towards what the client is already doing well (i.e. ‘the solutions’), even if these moments aren’t very frequent or particularly intense.

Focusing on what the client is already doing well¬†(in othe words, the ‘solutions’) allows the therapist and client to work to increase these helpful and adaptive behaviours and helps clients feel better about themselves and their lives. Bringing these small successes to the client’s awareness helps build hope and a positive outlook on change. Additionally, because these small successes are already present within the individual client, change is quicker and easier than having to learn a brand new set of skills – thus the therapy tends to be briefer than more traditional psychotherapy approaches.

Solution Focused Brief Therapy is a goal-directed and future-focused therapeutic paradigm. It is a positive and hopeful approach to counselling – clients typically enjoy the process and see some changes as early as the first couple of sessions.