Solution-focused therapy: What is it and is it for me?

Committing to counselling is a big decision. It’s important to make sure that you’re getting the value for your time (and money!). Seeing a counsellor whose approach and strategies don’t work for you can be discouraging and stressful, and can leave you feeling drained and more hopeless than ever. But, with so many different types of counselling out there, it can be difficult to decide which approach you should try.

At Metanao, we strongly believe that all clients have the capacity to change, and that focusing on your desired outcome is better than analysing your problem. Solution-focused therapy, also known as solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), provides a simple and effective approach. Solution-focused therapy is about thinking differently.

In a solution-focused counselling session, we help clients to draw out and identify what would make their lives better. This involves asking specific and targeted questions to help you describe a better future.

A solution-focused counsellor assumes that everyone has the basic skills required to create their own solutions to their problems. The role of the counsellor is to guide you towards the solutions, not to develop the solution themselves.

Other types of counselling or psychotherapy focus on the problem - counsellors spend hours, or even years, trying to determine the cause or reason behind an issue. They ask you to examine and then reexamine your past and upbringing, your personality traits, lifestyle habits, likes and dislikes, to try to identify why a problem arose. Solution-focused therapy moves directly to seeking solutions.

Tools used by solution-focused counsellors

In trying to help you to determine the most effective solution to your problem, solution-focused counsellors use a number of tools and techniques. These include:

  • Establishing a direction by asking you “What are your best hopes from this meeting?”
  • Exploring a preferred future by asking you to imagine a future without the problem. The use of the “miracle question” creates hope by allowing you to begin imagining a better future - “if you were to wake up tomorrow and your problem was gone, when you first woke up, what would be the clearest hint that something was different?”
  • The use of “scaling questions” (0 to 10) that measure your imagined future with your current reality. If 10 is the best you have ever been and 0 the furthest away it can be possible be, “where are you today?” Describing what has already become better and how this was achieved transforms the miracle from something wonderfully imagined down to a series of steps, which becomes an achievable process of change.
  • Examining previous solutions - frequently, you will have actually solved this or a similar problem in the past, perhaps in a different context and the same solution can be effective again. This focuses you on your own strengths and resources, rather than on the problem, and helps you believe you can succeed.

Solution-focused therapy for couples and families

Solution-focused therapy can be particularly beneficial for couples and families. Trying to determine the cause of relationship problems, as in other therapy models, can be difficult, time consuming and stressful and can too easily lead to the ‘blame game’ and further trust break-down.

By focusing on creating a shared vision of your future together, solution-focused therapy allows to you find common ground and implement strategies for improvement from Day One. This is critical for couples, and particularly for parents who want to provide a stable and conflict-free environment for their children.

Book your solution-focused counselling appointment now!

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