Solution Focused Therapy

Solution Focused Therapy

Solution Focused Therapy (SFT) is a practical approach to therapy. It has immediate effects in terms of changing behaviour. Because of its effectiveness it is also called Solution Focused Brief Therapy.

SFT states that whatever we look out for, we will discover more of. Thus, if we talk at length about our difficulties we will see more difficulties. If we talk at length about our solutions, we will see more solutions. The therapist helps the client to notice exceptions to their problem, which are already happening. By asking for details about these exceptions the therapist encourages a re-orientation towards noticing more solutions. The solutions are the client’s own solutions, not the therapist’s, and thus fit each individual client.

Solution Focused Therapy takes the view that, when change is needed, it is easier to DO something different, and let feelings follow. The SFT approach focusses on observable behaviour which makes progress easy to measure. Homework tasks are set and each session begins by reviewing progress.

My experience with Solution Focused Therapy

The philosophy underpinning SFT was described by Steve de Shazer (1940-2005) and one of its foremost practitioners was Insoo Kim Berg (1934-2007). I attended workshops by Steve and Insoo and other leading practitioners at the Brief Therapy Practicein London.
In order to encourage SFT practice in Yorkshire I was part of the Yorkshire Solution Focused Brief Therapy Group which supported SFT practitioners across the region. In 2005 we sponsored Insoo to fly over from the States and give a large 2-day workshop in Bradford.

Recommended reading

Clues; Investigating Solutions in Brief Therapy. Steve de Shazer. 1988.
Problem to solution; brief therapy with individuals and families. Evan George, Chris Iveson, and Harvey Ratner. 1990.
Insoo Kim Berg and Peter De Jong. Interviewing for Solutions. 2002.