SFBT is an energetic, innovative, proven therapeutic intervention that significantly appeals to clients because it approaches problems from the perspective of The Solution and not exclusively revamping the painful past. It is positive and goal oriented importantly led by the client who determines the objectives, the timeframe and the outcome.
Contrary to popular belief Brief Therapy is not new. The term Solution Focused Brief Therapy is attributed to the American Steve De Shazer, which he and his colleagues started to use in the early 1970’s. However, the renowned Milton Erickson and other great therapists such as Albert Ellis often saw clients for just a handful of sessions. Ellis actually was famous for very brief sessions sometimes only 15 to 20 minutes in length! The initial concepts of Brief Therapy were being discussed, researched and applied as early as the 1930’s. Wally Gingerich, a social worker and researcher, may have defined it best when he said:
“Solution Focused Brief Therapy is a short-term goal-focused therapeutic approach which helps clients change by constructing solutions rather than dwelling on problems. Elements of the desired solution often are already present in the client’s life, and become the basis for ongoing change. The therapist intervenes only to the extent necessary, with treatment usually lasting for less than six sessions.” (source)
There are a number of significant and essential assumptions about SFBT that makes it such an effective and successful therapeutic method. Often times the client is so enmeshed in their problem that they don’t see or recognise their strengths and resources. SFBT can very simply and quickly elucidate these resources, resulting in empowerment for the client and a clearer sense of direction. Clarity is vital, clients can have their perspective distorted or blurred by being overly emotional and stressed by their dilemma. Getting the client to identify salient, realistic, achievable, specific and measurable goals and objectives is essential and a driving force behind the client taking responsibility and affirmative action. Once they are solution-focused their energy is positive and confident and the desired changes compound and multiply.
The use of language is critical and decisive in SFBT. SFBT therapists are trained to use progressive enlightened language with a constructive and assured orientation. This helps the client to normalise their issue and put it in the correct perspective. Various other relevant techniques in this therapy such as Scaling (“on a scale of 1 to 10 if 1 is the worst you have felt and 10 the identified best place to be, where are you now on that scale?”) helps the client recognise their resources, hidden strengths and to recall how they used these skills in other problematic areas in their life in the past.
Trainerpathways are holding an introduction to SFBT on Friday 24th February in London. Find out more and sign up here.