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Solution Focused Therapy

Finding answers and moving forward

Solution Focused Therapy is a way for individuals to understand what they have and how to use it to reach your goals. For many people, it is often more important to find solutions than it is to analyze the problem in great detail.

Imagine you have a puzzle in front of you. The picture on the puzzle shows you where you want to be in life. There are some pieces missing, but instead of focusing on them, you look at what you already have.

Solution-focused therapy is like this puzzle. The focus is on the pieces and parts you have and helps you fit them together to reach your goals.

It’s a special kind of talk therapy. Instead of talking a lot about problems, you and your counselor will talk about solutions. It’s about finding the answers and moving forward.

How is it different?

Many therapies dive deep into problems. The process might ask you to explore “why am I feeling this way?” or “what do you think caused this?”

Solution-Focused Therapy is based on ways to help you find solutions to your problems. Instead of talking about what is wrong, and has been wrong, you will focus on what’s right and how to make things better.

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Background on Solution Based Therapy

Solution Based Therapy started because two trained people wanted a better way to help others. A great way to think of it is, instead of talking about rainclouds, they wanted to find the rainbow. It was developed by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg. They believed talking about solutions was more helpful than only talking about problems. They founded the Brief Family Therapy Center (BFTC) and advanced the practical application of this type of therapy. They built on the research they conducted, along with studies conducted at the Mental Research Institute. Let’s review what it’s about and how it benefits someone.

Basics of Solution Based Therapy (SBT)

Look for Solutions: Don’t dwell on the problem and the past, look for ways to solve the problem

Future Focused: Think about what the future you want looks like, and how to get there.

Identify Your Strengths: We all have strengths, and they can be used to find the solutions

Things are Constantly Changing: Things don’t stay the same and change happens all the time. Even a small change can lead to a bigger change.

How Does It Work?

Let’s Start at the Beginning:

Start with Goal Setting: What do you want to accomplish with your counselor during the therapy. Maybe you want to feel happier. That becomes the goal to obtain as the outcome. Goals are important and they will guide the journey with your counselor.

Find some Past Success: Although it’s hard to remember at times, you know yourself best. You do have the answers, your counselor will help you find them. You will look into your past and find a time when things were going the way you wanted them to, for example. What was it you were doing at that time that gave you that outcome? What will it take to do that again?

Small Steps: Just finding the past success is not enough. Remember, big changes start small. By creating the small steps, you are able to feel the sense of accomplishment and use that as a building block to continue to achieve your goal. Focus on the positive.

That sounds kind of simple, doesn’t it? It doesn’t work out as easy as that. We, as humans, aren’t always ready to look ahead instead of looking behind us for “answers”. We seem to feel that part of the process must be necessary to achieve long term success. It’s not always the case.

I have been going to David for few months and I have had a really experience and I highly recommend him. I’ve gone to other therapists in the past it was a okay experience , but David is top notch! He is so nice and open doesn’t seem like he’s judging you. And I definitely have had good progress from him! I Highly recommend!

* Katie (client)

Questions to Ask Yourself:

“What will be different when the problem is solved?” You’ll be able to imagine or see a better future when you know what to look ahead to.

“When was a time when you didn’t have this problem?” Look back, and remember what the success looked like and felt like. Describe how you felt to your counselor. This will help to put the process into focus and give you the vision of how you want things to be.

“What’s one think you can do this week to get closer to your goal?” What is that small step you can take. How will you feel and see the results of that step? This helps you and your counselor plan a small step and success.

“The Miracle Question” – Imagine you to go bed tonight, and a miracle happens. When you wake up, your problem is gone! What would be different for you? How would you know your problem is solved? This question will help you dream. big!

“Where am I on a scale of 1 to 10?” – this tool, called “Scaling Questions”, will help you and your counselor identify where you are in the process. Let your counselor know, on a scale of one to ten, with one being the worst and ten being the best, where are you? What will it take to move up one number on the scale. This question helps you and your counselor see the progress.

Tools to Use in Solution-Based Therapy

Along with the questions, you can also look for the exceptions in your life now as you work through the process. You can discuss with your counselor how things felt when you realized the problem didn’t happen. What was the difference? Was there a small step you took that really made a difference for you?

Your counselor will work with you to reinforce the strengths and remind you of them. The objective is to build where you are, and cheer you on throughout the journey.

How Does a Session Look?

Talking About Goals: You and your counselor will talk about what you want to achieve and where you are in the map of your journey.

Discussing What Works: Next, is a review of when things went well. What did you do? Who helped you? What helped you achieve the goal?

Making a Plan: How is the plan going? What is the next small step that can be taken toward the big change?

Celebrating Success: Each time you make progress, it’s time to celebrate. Every step along the way is worth cheering for.

Benefits of Solution-Focus Therapy

For you, this can be a shorter path to the solution and change. You will learn to spend less time worrying and more time enjoying your life.

You’ll learn to look at today and tomorrow. This gives you positive movement forward.

As you focus on the solutions, you’ll feel more in control. Your confidence in your judgement and actions increases and you trust yourself more.

Talking about successes feels good. You and your counselor will review the positive actions. The therapy session is uplifting and hopeful.

You are learning skills for life. The tools you develop with your counselor are ones you can implement in the future. Whenever you feel a challenge, you’ll remember how to find solutions.

Remember, you are not alone. Everyone has challenges. With the right tools and support, we can overcome them. Solution-focused therapy is one of the tools you can use. It’s like a compass pointing you in the right direction.

Every person is unique. You may be the one who loves solution-focused therapy. Others might need a different approach. And, that’s okay. The most important part is to find the right way that works for you. Pathways Counseling Services counselors are trained in Solution-Focused Therapy. They will use their skills and knowledge to help you the best, healthy life for you. Call today for more information or to schedule a free fifteen-minute call with one of our counselors.

Our Solution Focused Therapy Counselors

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I make an appointment?

You may do this in three ways.
You can book online anytime
Call us at 480-613-8530
Complete this contact form.

Do you offer a free consultation?

Yes, we offer a free 15-minute telephone consultation. Please call us at 480-613-8530 to schedule a consultation or complete this contact form.

Do you accept any insurance?

Our practice is a fee-for-service practice which means we do not accept insurance. If you have an insurance provider with behavioral health coverage, they may offer out-of-network coverage. If you would like to use your out-of-network benefits, we will provide you with a superbill (receipt) that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.

What should I expect when I come for my sessions?

Prior to your first session, you will fill out some general information. We will you a link to complete the form(s) prior to your first session.
During the initial appointment, we will review some of your histories and we will have an opportunity to discuss the reasons you are interested in counseling and the goals you are looking to achieve from counseling.
Together during the first few sessions we will put together a treatment plan with you.

How soon should I see results from the counseling sessions?

Most patients come in for weekly appointments. As you are feeling better, you can cut back on the frequency of the sessions so you have more time to practice what you are learning.

Initial sessions are 75 minutes ongoing sessions may be 45-75 minutes or longer depending on need.

Patients who work with us report improvements in a few sessions. More difficult issues may take longer. People come to therapy for different reasons but universally people don’t initiate counseling unless they are in some type of emotional pain. Our attitude is to try to make every session count.

What kind of patients do you see?

We welcome couples, children, adolescents, teens, and individuals of diverse backgrounds, cultures, religious traditions, and lifestyles.

We will be able to work with you using a variety of tools and techniques and specialize in a variety of issues and concerns.

Is what I say confidential?

All client-therapist conversations are private and confidential. In those rare exceptions when the safety of a client or other is at risk disclosure of confidential client-therapist information takes place.