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Solution Focused Therapy


Solution focused brief therapy (SFBT) targets the desired outcome of therapy as a solution rather than focusing on the symptoms or issues that brought someone to therapy. This technique only gives attention to the present and the future desires of the client, rather than focusing on the past experiences. The therapist encourages the client to imagine their future as they want it to be and then the therapist and client collaborate on a series of steps to achieve that goal. This form of therapy involves reviewing and dissecting the client’s vision, and determining what skills, resources, and abilities the client will develop and use to attain his desired outcome. Solution focused therapy was developed by Steve De Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg, and their team at the Brief Family Therapy Family Center in Milwaukee, USA.

How Does Solution Focused Brief Therapy Work?

SFBT is a form of talk therapy that maintains that change is inevitable and constant. The therapist who conducts the SFBT will examine the elements of the client’s life that they wish to alter and also those elements that want to leave unchanged. Working together, the client and therapist devise a vision of what the possible future could look like. They work to mold and define it as detailed as they can in order to allow the client to hold that clear picture in his or her mind.


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The therapist then guides the client in finding specific moments in his or her life in which he or she felt similar to what he or she may experience in his potential future image. Correlating the two visions, or experiences, allows the client to identify which actions they took in the past to achieve a similar outcome to the one they would like to achieve in the future. Often the client is hindered from making forward progress due to the results that came following the happy experience. However, the basis of this form of therapy is to maintain a constant focus on the future, and to only rely on the past experiences as a resource.


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Last updated: 04-03-2014


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