Solution-focused therapy pays attention to the here-and-now rather than the past, and focuses on what is possible if positive changes are made and hope is established. The emphasis is on encouraging clients to focus on goals and achievements, as well as on looking for resolutions to problems. In solution-focused therapy your therapist will help you focus on your future by asking you open-ended questions around how you see your future and how you would like it to be. Together with your therapist you will consider what your future would look like free of current emotional issues, concerns or problems, and how it will be possible to achieve this future. The client and therapist work together to explore achievements and goals, and the therapist will encourage the client to really consider all available options, even if these options at the start of therapy feel distant, unattainable or a fantasy. Solution-focused therapy is a short-term therapy and the number of sessions is often agreed at the start of therapy. At the start of each session the client’s progress will be assessed and discussed, and the client will leave each session with a clear plan for what to do going forward. Solution-focused therapy is adaptable to a wide range of psychological and emotional difficulties and can be used with people who have undergone alternative therapies in the past, people who feel unmotivated as well as people of all ages. One of the recognised benefits of Solution-focused therapy comes in the form of the client and therapist being unable to disagree on causes of problems as they are rarely discussed. Instead, therapist and client can together consider solutions.
So how does Solution-focused Therapy work?
With the focus being on what could happen now, and in the future if specific changes are made, limited attention is given to the original causes of problems or to events or people who might have contributed to a worsening of the problem. Focusing on the past is only done to the degree it is necessary to express empathy and develop an accurate understanding of the client’s concerns. The client will instead be encouraged to imagine their preferred future, and then together with the therapist the client will identify all potential changes and improvements that could occur. Part of the therapeutic process is bringing attention even to the smallest of changes or achievements, with the view that this will help to further encourage the client and develop hope and a positive attitude towards the future. It is believed that this process will also help to improve self-esteem and build confidence. The positive language and dialogue held in Solution-focused therapy is suggested to help stimulate a creative and self-healing process. Questions and compliments are the primary tools of Solution-focused therapy, and the therapist will deliberately avoid making interpretations or confront the client. Instead, detailed questions will be asked about any recent positive changes, how the client developed new and current strengths and positive traits, and how the client has managed to maintain or achieve their current level of progress. In Solution-focused therapy, it is believed that personal change is already constant, and that by identifying and attending to current and future positive directions for change, the client will be able to reach their desired future.