Solution Focused Brief Therapy


All that is necessary is that the person involved in a troublesome situation does something different. (de Shazer, 1985, p. 7)

Solution Focused Therapy (SFT), as its name suggests, focuses on solutions and is goal-oriented, rather than problem focused as many other therapies are.  It is also known as Brief Solution Focused Therapy or Solution Focused Brief Therapy, and was developed by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg, who were influenced by the work of Milton Erickson. 

Basic philosophy & assumptions

  • Change is constant and inevitable

  • Clients are the experts and define goals

  • Clients have resources and strengths to solve problems

  • Future orientation – history is not essential

  • Emphasis is on what is possible and changeable

  • Short term

  • Clients want change

Solution Focused Therapy acknowledges distress, but focuses on success.  Therapy consists of discussions in which the client is encouraged to find their own solution.

SFBT therapists support clients to identify times in their life when things matched more closely with the future they prefer. Differences and similarities between the two occasions are examined. By bringing small successes to awareness, and supporting clients to repeat their successful choices and behaviors, when the problem is not there or less severe, therapist facilitate client movement towards goals and preferred futures they have identified.

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