Solution Focused Therapy, the fast track to change

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Solution Focused Therapy Techniques


Solution Focused Therapy was developed in a therapy setting and widely used for therapy since the 1980’s.

In the last decade it has become popular for coaching, so we now have solution focused coaching .

It is unlike many traditional therapies in that it focuses purely on the desired situation or goal.

People and especially therapists have been trained to look for the problem and to analyze it to bring about a change or the desired goal.

Solution Focused Therapy Techniques


Solution Focused therapy will not allow much discussion of the problem and only looks at what will be happening when the desired situation is already happening (the goal) and what will the client be doing to bring about these changes.  Once the client can see or visualize clearly the desired situation, the therapist then asks the client,”what small step will you take this week to achieve this goal.  The client always knows what is needed to achieve the goal, but maybe not in a conscious way.  The solution focused therapist helps to draw out this information from a position of being a half step behind the client.  The client always has the “knowing” but needs the therapist to focus him on  the desired state or condition and break it down into small doable goals.  The client then commits to a goal (tiny step) that he will accomplish by the next session.

This works to get results, or the desired change because we tend to create more of what we focus on. As explained in the law of attraction writings, our state of mind and focus draw to us that which we are dwelling upon. This causes viscious cycles of downward spirals which keep people feeling stuck and helpless, focusing on and analyzing their problems.

This focus on problems is particularly harmful with couples because couples typically come into therapy focusing on what’s wrong with the other person.  In fact, the main motivation for couples coming into therapy is probably to try to get the other person to change.  Focusing on changing the partner causes power struggles and the partner often will dig in his heels and become even more intent on not changing, because after all he is” right”.

One of the principles of Solution Focused therapy is that change is always happening. In solution focused therapy we direct the client to look at when things are better and exceptions to the problem.  Clients are usually surprised when asked to focus on what’s working, that there are actually times when the problem is not present.  By looking at the problem free times the client can start to become aware of what he/she is doing differently.  Once they are looking for these behaviors in themselves, the very act of looking for those times causes the mind to focus on and strengthen the positive aspects.

Want to Make a Positive Change Now?

Try this strategy out for yourself.

  1. Think of a problem that you want to eliminate
  2. Focus on the success you want instead.  Ask yourself, “What do I want instead of the problem?  How will I know I have this and what will be different? What will I be doing different when I have achieved this success?”
  3. Look for what is a situation where success has already happened in the past.  What caused this success ?  What were you doing differently?  How were you able to do that?”
  4. What is one thing you did to cause this success in the past that you could carry forward and do again now? Commit to taking one small step this week and see what happens.