What is Solution Focused Therapy and Why Should I Try It?

4.5 min read|900 words|Categories: Treatment & Therapy|

While therapy surely has its benefits, traditional frameworks can feel like a drag. It’s often the case that sessions are problem-focused, dwelling on the hardest and most painful areas of life.

While this method surely has a place for some individuals, if your therapy tends to lean more towards negativity than positivity, it’s time to try solution focused therapy. 

What is solution focused therapy?

Solution focused therapy (SFT), often called solution focused brief therapy, is a clinical and goal-oriented framework that emphasizes the client’s ability to constructively face issues. This therapy emphasizes creating solutions and creating a positive outlook towards the future.

Rather than dwell on how the problem was created and why it lingers, SFT empowers people to take control of their own future. According to the Center for Solution Focused Practice, this framework of therapy uses three basic questions to bring about change. The questions are as follows:

  1. What do you hope is the outcome of this therapy?
  2. How would your life change if these hopes were realized?
  3. What needs to change so that these hopes are realized?

These three questions are central to solution focused therapy because they invite a person into introspection and stimulate action towards a better future. There are various ways to ask these guiding questions, and the goal of a mental health professional is to help clients uncover meaningful answers to them.

Does solution focused therapy work?

This practice is strengths-based and has shown to be effective in a number of areas. SFT has proven to decrease substance use and co-occurring psychosocial issues such as depression, trauma, and school and work-related behavior concerns according to Health & Social Work

The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry states that SFT is effective in the treatment of children with externalizing or internalizing behaviors, too.

The Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that SFT is an effective intervention for assisting those in medical settings, improving psychosocial measures like depression and adjustment to illness, as well as functional behavior.

How does solution focused therapy work?

SFT is a psychotherapeutic practice that is implemented by a trained and licensed mental health professional. Solution focused therapy treatment goals are similar to goals in other frameworks of therapy, but they tend to be more forward-looking and created in collaboration with the client.

Here are a few examples of solution focused therapy treatment goals:

  • By next week, I will have regularly scheduled exercise as part of a self-care routine.
  • Within the month, I will spend five minutes visualizing my future career every day and write down an action step I can take to get there.
  • Once a month for the next six months, I will write a budget so I can pursue the things that add value to my life.

Solution focused therapy treatment goals aim for positive change instead of dwelling in problematic behaviors. Traditional goals generally focus on decreasing negative behaviors, rather than encouraging positive ones.

Solution focused therapy techniques

Now that you have a basic understanding of what solution focused therapy is, you may be eager to incorporate this strengths-based practice into your treatment. Your therapist or counselor can surely implement SFT into your sessions, but here are ways you can try it out for yourself in the meantime.

  • Journal through the big questions

When you try out SFT for yourself, it’s important to hit the big questions. Ask yourself what your life would be like in an ideal world (often called “the miracle question”). This imaginative phase may seem irrelevant to your overall recovery, but it’s essential to brainstorm your future so you know what you’re working towards and what is holding you back.

Try journaling for five minutes a day, five days in a row. Does your perspective change over those days? The more you think about your future and the bright possibilities ahead, the easier it will be to create goals and stick to them.

  • Consider your achievements

While we’ve all stumbled at times, everyone has something to be proud of and reflecting on your positive attributes and achievements can offer a major confidence boost and motivation to make change.

If you’re prone to feelings of guilt, shame and hopelessness, traditional therapy can keep you ruminating on your past. SFT might be the framework you need to overcome those powerful feelings and focus on hope instead.

  • Break it down into smaller steps

Solution focused therapy can inspire you to think big-picture, but the reality is that change happens one day at a time. It’s important to remember when you’re trying out SFT that you’ll want to keep your goals achievable and realistic.

Consider what changes you can make within the next day, week or month. A smaller timeline can keep your perspective in check. Starting small is essential to staying consistent, and you can build up to bigger goals over time.

  • Don’t wait

Solution focused therapy techniques only work when you put in the work. Don’t postpone changing your life and let problems fester. When you start SFT, you’ll notice a change on the first day. So go ahead, dream big about where your life could take you and start taking steps to get there.

The future starts now with Pyramid Online Counseling. If you’re having trouble overcoming life’s struggles on your own, reach out for professional, secure counseling today.

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