What’s So Good About Solution Focused Therapy?

Why would anyone pick a Solution Focused therapist instead of one practicing any other approach?

Well, for starters, it’s different to other approaches. Most ‘traditional’ approaches are Problem Focused – they rely on understanding the problem and finding a way to solve it, whereas the Solution Focused approach relies on clarifying what is hoped for as a result of overcoming any problem apparently standing in the way, then takes a direct route to the realisation of those hopes. The problem is therefore effectively irrelevant in Solution Focused Therapy. The process involves bypassing rather than solving problems.

My best guess as to why any therapeutic conversation leads to the desired outcome, is that it’s at least partly because the therapist chooses to believe in the client’s capacity to achieve what they hope to, and this is demonstrated through the way they converse. This belief then bolsters confidence, and confidence is generally the key to people achieving things previously thought to be unachievable. I think pragmatism helps too, because it demonstrates that there are sound objective reasons for sticking with that choice to believe (we’re all suckers for evidence!).

Belief in the client and pragmatism are cornerstones of the Solution Focused approach. Questions are asked from this standpoint, and carefully chosen language facilitates creative thinking, rather than asking for information which might then be used to suggest anything (why would you suggest something to try to someone who you believe is more expert in overcoming their problems than you?!).

The idea that someone simply asking you questions about what you hope for becoming your reality would look like, and what evidence exists that shows that you can achieve it, can help you overcome any problem and achieve anything you want, can seem unintuitive. But only because it’s not what we’re all culturally accustomed to. It’s just different.

If you’ve tried another approach and it hasn’t worked as well as you’d hoped, the logical next step would be to try something different.

We know from research evidence* that Solution Focused therapy tends to reach the same outcomes in fewer sessions. That’s another good reason for choosing a Solution Focused therapist – less sessions equals a quicker route to getting on with the life you want, and so generally less money spent getting there too!

Scott Miller et. al. have shown us that the main factor in how effective a therapist is at what they do is their level of mastery in their chosen approach, more than the approach they choose (https://www.psychotherapy.net/article/successful-psychotherapists). There’s something unique about the SF approach that seems to grab people and make them want to do it as much as they can (it’s really good fun for a start!). When they’re not in a session, they’re thinking and talking about it, practicing it in their everyday lives everywhere they spot an opportunity, and it seems to unlock their creativity so that they tend to write about it, read about it, make videos about it, post social media content inspired by it, and connect with other practitioners to discuss how to master it further.

Practice makes perfect. Solution Focused therapists tend to practice a lot. If you see a Solution Focused therapist, there is therefore a good chance you’re seeing a really good therapist.

Finally, there’s another key difference with the Solution Focused therapy experience. It doesn’t require the client to ‘unpack’ their troubles, confront difficult truths, cry, feel uncomfortable or experience any emotional pain as part of the process. It can often be fun, uplifting, validating, and emboldening.

Knowing what I know about Solution Focused therapy, and having experienced what I have as a Solution Focused practitioner, I feel that it’s a real shame that more people don’t know about it, let alone try it when they’re seeking therapy. I hope that’ll change (actually, I’m convinced it will, in time)

*https://solutionfocusedbrieftherapy.com/ is the best place I know of to find out about research findings regarding Solution Focused Practice

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