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Solution Focused Brief Therapy


Title: Solution Focused Therapy Author: Elise Chupp Last modified by: Elise Chupp Created Date: 4/9/2010 2:01:42 AM Document presentation format: On-screen Show – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Solution Focused Brief Therapy

Solution Focused Brief Therapy
  • Ball State University

Khoolod, Angela, Melanie, Elise, Hyoseok, Lei,
Manisha, Tamding, Allison
Role Play How change occurs...
Role Play How change occurs...
  • Stage 1 Relationship - Initiate the Session

Role Play How change occurs...
  • Stage 2 Story and Strengths - Gather Data

Role Play How change occurs...
  • Stage 3 Goals

Role Play How change occurs...
  • Stage 4 5 Re-story and Action - Explore,
    Create, and Conclude

Role Play How change occurs...
  • Thank you Melanie and Khoolod!
  • Questions or Comments?

Saul Bellow
  • Socrates said that the unexamined life is not
    worth living. But the (over) examined life makes
    you wish you were dead. Given the alternative,
    Id rather be living.

(OHanlon, 2000)
  • Evolved from Systematic Paradigm.
  • Originally conceived as Brief Family Therapy in
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the late 1970s (de
    Shazer, 1982).
  • Shift from Problem Focused Brief Family Therapy
    to SFT occurred in 1982.
  • Founded by Steve de Shazer, Insoo Berg, Jim
    Derks, Elan Nunnally, Marilyn LaCourt, Eve
  • Nourished by students who later became
    colleagues- John Walter, Jane Peller, Alex
    Molnar, Kate Kowalski, Michele Weiner-Davis and
    academicians- Gale Miller and Wally Gingerich.

(Lipchik, 2002 and OHanlon, 2003)
Interactional Concepts
  • Human beings are unique in their genetic
    heritage and social development. Their capacity
    to change is determined by these factors and
    their interaction with others. Problems are
    present life situations expressed as emotional
    discomfort with self, and in relation to others.
    Change occurs through language when recognition
    of exceptions and existing and potential
    strengths create new actions.

(Lipchik, 2002)
  • Change is constant
  • Emphasizing on solutions, strengths and prospects
    facilitates change
  • Exceptions to problems exist
  • Clients are experts
  • Solutions emerge from
  • conversation
  • No right way to view
  • things

(Dermer, 1998)
  • Solutions are possible without an in-depth
    assessment of clients problems.
  • Emphasis is on future instead of the past,
    solutions rather than problems, and client
    strengths, not deficiencies.
  • Clients have the strengths and resources to
  • Problems are roadblocks resulting from the
    inability to recognize alternatives and not
    symptoms of underlying pathology.
  • Change is possible and the client is the one who
    generates what is possible and contributes the
    movement to this process.
  • A small change in any aspect of problem leads to
  • Focusing on future possibilities and solutions
    enhances change, as does co-operation.

(Cepeda, 2006)
  • Goal negotiation - at the onset of counseling
    client describes what he/she wants.
  • Goal setting sets a path toward change.
  • Effective goals should be specific, small,
    positive and meaningful.
  •  Goals need to be described as presence of
    something positive rather than the absence of
    something negative. 
  • Clients can describe how they will know when the
    problem is solved.
  • Therapist can ask- who will be doing
    what-to-whom-when-and-where after the problem is
  • Pulling from strengths and talents of clients
    significant others gives the client a view of
    solutions impact.

(Cepeda, 2006)
Interviewing Steps
  • M- Miracle Question
  • E- Exceptions
  • D- Difference
  • S- Scaling
  • T- Time-Out
  • A- Accolades
  • T- Task

(Giorlando, 1997)
  • Focusing on strengths and solution talk will
    increase the likelihood that therapy will be
  • Solution-building conversation identify,
    elaborate, and reinforce change behavior.
  • Individuals who come to therapy do have the
    capacity to act effectively, temporarily blocked
    by negative cognitions.
  • Clients are experts on their lives. Therapist
    role is to support and amplify this expertise.

  • There are exceptions to every problem that are
    often undervalued.
  • Presupposition language emphasizes the resumption
    that change will occur, creating an atmosphere of
    when, not if.
  • Therapists invite clients to view their problems
    from a different side. Client tend to present one
    side of the problem.
  • Patients have strengths, resources, and coping
    skills that drive change while generating
    optimism and hope.

  • Small change fosters bigger change.
  • Extensive information about a problem is rarely
    necessary to bring about change.
  • Client has to want to change.
  • As each individual is unique, so too
  • is every solution.
  • Solutions evolve through
  • conversation.

  • Emphasizing solutions, positives, and
    possibilities to facilitate change.
  • There is no one right way to view things,
    different views may be equally valid and fit the
    facts equally well.
  • Change in one domain influences connected
    domains. Modest changes may lead to substantial

Therapeutic Practices Techniques
  • Focusing on clients solutions is integral to
    solution-focused therapy. Counselors identify
    possible solutions by asking clients what they
    value and want to maintain.
  • During the initial therapy session, it is common
    for solution focused therapists to ask, What
    have you done since you called for the
    appointment that has made a difference in your

Therapeutic Practices Techniques
  • Another integral part of solution focused-therapy
    is a focus on goals.
  • Counselors might ask at a beginning of a session
    What is your goal for today? Or What would you
    like to get out of our time together today?

Therapeutic Practices Techniques
  • Counselors look for exceptions to the problem by
    asking the client to recount when the problem did
    not occur.
  • Counselors use the miracle question, which
    consist of asking the client how they would know
    that the problem was gone.

Therapeutic Practices Techniques
  • Counselors also use a technique called
    normalizing the narrative. This means the
    counselor focuses on the idea that we all have
    concerns and that it is possible to do something
    about them.
  • Solution-focused counselors search for clients
    strengths during their sessions. These strengths
    can be personal assets, community assets,
    cultural and/or spiritual strengths.

Therapeutic Practices Techniques
  • Counselors use scaling questions to help clients
    pay closer attention to what they are doing and
    how they can take steps that will lead to changes
    they desire.
  • The Formula First Session Task (FFST) is a form
    of homework a therapist might give clients to
    complete between their first and second session.

Therapeutic Practices Techniques
  • Counselors usually take a break of 5 to 10
    minutes toward the end of each session to compose
    a summary message for clients.
  • The structure of the summary message includes
    compliments, a bridge, and suggesting tasks to

Therapeutic Practices Techniques
  • Elements of SFBT interviewing
  • Language reflects problems and solutions are
    subject to perceptions and open to change
  • Problem free-talk focuses on competence and
  • Exceptions exception questions
  • Goals detailed, specific, realistic, observable
  • Hypothetical future the miracle question
  • Rating scales scaling questions
  • Tasks and compliments observing exceptions,
    doing more what works or something different when
    the problem arises
  • Lloyd Dallos (2008)

Therapeutic Practices Techniques
  • Application to group counseling
  • Share group members problem briefly, which helps
    the members see themselves less problematic.
  • Facilitates members to view other members as
    being resourceful.
  • Promote members to keep on a solution track (not
  • Develop well-formed goals (small, realistic,
    achievable) soon using therapeutic questions.
  • Ask when their problems were not present, and
    then, other members become an observer of each
    members competency.
  • Make members identify exceptions of their
    problems and recognize personal resiliency and

Therapeutic Practices Techniques
  • Application of SFT to various areas
  • School setting (Kim Franklin, 2009)
  • Organization setting (Bloor Pearson, 2004)
  • Psychiatric in-patient setting (Hagen Mitchell,
  • Integration of SFT with other therapies with
  • Person-centered therapy (Cepeda Davenport,
  • Art therapy (Matto, Corcoran, Fassler, 2003)
  • Play therapy (Taylor, 2009)

  • Effect sizes of SFT social work studies
    (Corcoran Pillai, 2009, p. 239)

Role of Therapist
  • According to Guterman (2006) therapists have
    expertise in the process of change, but clients
    are the experts on what they want changed.
  • Therapists
  • Adopt a not-knowing position.
  • Help point clients in the right direction.
  • Strive for collaborative relationships.

Questions a Therapist might ask
  • What do you want from coming here?
  • How would that make a difference for you?
  • What might be some signs to you that the changes
    you want are happening?

  • In general, studies provided preliminary support
    for the efficacy of solution-focused brief
  • Client provide their own interpretation of life
  • Time limited.
  • Goals are set by clients.

  • No set of formulas or recipes to follow.
  • Diverse clients may expect therapist as a expert
    instead of client-as-expert.
  • For disabled/child client.
  • For mandatory counseling client do not want to
  • What about discovering the potential problem?

Questions or Comments?
  • Bloor, R., Pearson, D. (2004). Brief
    solution-focused organizational re-design A
    model for international mental health
    consultancy. International Journal of Mental
    Health, 33, 44-53.
  • Cepeda, L.M., Davenport, D.S. (2006)
    Person-centered therapy and solution-focused
    brief therapy An integration of present and
    future awareness.  Psychotherapy Theory,
    Research, Practice, Training, 43(1), 1-12
  • Corcoran, J., Pillai, V. (2009). A review of
    the research on solution-focused therapy. British
    Journal of Social Work, 39, 234242.
  • Guterman, J. T. (2006). Mastering the art of
    solution-focused counseling. Alexandria, VA
    American Counseling Association
  • Corey, G. (2009). Theory and practice of
    counseling and psychotherapy (8th ed.).
    California Wadsworth.
  • Dermer, B., S., Hemesath, C., W., Russell, C.,
    S., (1998) A feminist critique of solution
    focused therapy. The American Journal of Play
    Therapy, 26, 239-373
  • Giorlando, M., E., Schilling, R., J., (1997).
    On Becoming a Solution-focused Physician The
    MED-STAT Acronym. Families Systems and Health
    15(4), 361-373
  • Greeberg, G., Ganshorn, K., Danilkewich, A.,
    (2001). Solution-Focused Therapy Counseling
    Model for Busy Family Physicians. Canadian Family
    Physician. 47, 2289-2295
  • Gregoire, J., Jungers, C. (2007).
    Solution-Focused brief family therapy. The
    Counselor's Companion What Every Beginning
    Counselor Needs to Know (1 ed., pp. 394-395).
    Mahwah, NJ Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Guterman, J. T. (2006). Mastering the art of
    solution-focused counseling. Alexandria, VA
    American Counseling Association
  • Hagen, B. F., Mitchell, D. L. (2001). Might
    within the madness Solution-focused therapy and
    thought-disordered clients. Archives of
    Psychiatric Nursing, 15, 86-93.
  • Ivey, A., Ivey, M., Zalaquett, C. (2009).
    Microskills and counseling theory Sequencing
    skills and interview stages. Intentional
    Interviewing Counseling (pp. 396-438).
    California Wadsworth.
  • Kim, J. S., Franklin, C.(2009) Solution-focused
    brief therapy in schools A review of the outcome
    literature. Children and Youth Services Review,
  • Lethem, J. (2002). Brief solution focused
    therapy. Child and adolescent mental health, 7,
    4, 189-192.
  • Lipchik, E. (2002). Beyond technique in
    solution-focused therapy Working with emotions
    and the therapeutic relationship. New York The
    Guilford Press.
  • Lloyd, H., Dallos, R. (2008). First session
    solution-focused brief therapy with families who
    have a child with severe intellectual
    disabilities mothers' experiences and views.
    Journal of Family Therapy, 30, 5-28.
  • Matto, H., Corcoran, J. Fassler, A.
    (2003).Integrating solution-focused and art
    therapies for substance abuse treatment
    guidelines for practice. The Arts in
    Psychotherapy, 30(5), 265-272.
  • O'Hanlon, B. (2000). Do one thing different Ten
    simple ways to change your life. New York Harper
    Collins publishers.
  • O'Hanlon, B., Weiner-Davis, M. (2003). In
    search of solutions A new direction in
    psychotherapy. New York W. W. Norton Company.