5 Pros and Cons of Solution Focused Therapy

This blog post will talk about pros and cons of Solution Focused Therapy, what it is, when and how it is used.

Pros and Cons of Solution Focused Therapy

Below are the Pros and Cons of Solution Focused Therapy

Pros of Solution Focused TherapyCons of Solution Focused Therapy
Solution focused therapy is quick and brief in nature with sessions lasting for about 6 to 10 weeks only. Whereas, other therapies are time consuming, expensive and usually last for months and years.Solution focused therapy is a short-term therapy and might not be suitable for clients who are introverted and require more time to open up and be comfortable in talking about their issues.
This therapy focuses on the client’s strengths and capabilities rather than focusing on their weaknesses and imperfections.Solution Focused Therapy pushes the client to deal with future related issues, when in fact they might not be ready to face them mentally.
SFT is future and goal oriented. It helps and encourages the client to move ahead in their life and not dwell onto the past anymore.This therapy focuses more on the present rather than exploring the past issues and traumas of the client. Sometimes, the past rooted trauma of the client can manifest in the present and make them behave in a certain way.
Some counselors use this therapy to save their time as it is quick and keeps the client’s concentration on their preferences and goals.Some clients decide to see a counselor so that their past traumas and issues can be heard, but because this therapy is solution focused, it can make the client feel not heard and acknowledged.
SFT also helps in improving interpersonal relationships and may lessen the signs of anxiety, depression and stress. Solution Focused Therapy cannot be used for the treatment of severe mental health issues such as Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.
In this therapy, the client chooses their goals. They are encouraged and praised by their counsellor even if they achieve a small desired goal, so that they don’t feel discouraged and lose hope.The client can end the sessions whenever they want and conclude if their goals have been achieved, despite what the counselor feels.
SFT, also works with positive psychology principles and hence, it makes the client hopeful and optimistic that will in result, help them to move forward in life.During the sessions, Solution focused therapy gives less importance to past traumas which can in fact, make the client understand why certain events happened and how it could be having an impact on them today.
The counsellor provides support through flattering remarks, which in return gives the client enthusiasm to keep working and moving forward to achieve their goals.The counselor has to trust and accept what the client says, even if their goals are not beneficial at all.

What is Solution Focused Therapy?

Solution Focused Therapy, also known as Solution Focused Brief Therapy is a type of Psychotherapy which focuses on finding a solution to the client’s problem. In a counselling session, the focus is usually on the problems and from where it came from, etc. 

In this therapy, the main focus is on the solution in spite of the problem. SFT, also aims at recognizing the client’s inner strengths to overcome that particular problem or issue in their life.

Solution Focused Therapy, pays attention to the problem in the present and aims at moving forward with an answer or explanation. It also brings awareness to the client’s mental and emotional strengths that the client might not be aware of. This helps the client to move ahead and use their inner resources to accomplish their goals.

In counselling, we believe that individuals have inner resources, skills and strengths that help them to achieve their targeted goals and overcome any difficult situation in their life. Similarly, solution focused therapy focuses on problem solving, generating solutions, moving towards goals and self-improvement of the client.

When is Solution Focused Therapy used?

Solution Focused Therapy is used for certain mental health and emotional problems such as:

  • Relationship issues
  • Family problems
  • Domestic abuse
  • Stress or work related stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Addiction
  • Self-esteem

It is not advisable to use this therapy for the treatment of major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Solution Focused Therapy can be very beneficial in cases, where a client is attempting to reach a specific goal and trying to overcome a certain issue in their life. 

This therapy has also been very beneficial with couples and family. According to some research, solution focused therapy has been useful in solving marital problems. However, more research could be done in the future to know more about the strengths and effectiveness in particular areas of this therapy (for which issues it’s most beneficial). Nonetheless, it’s a useful therapy for goal oriented people.

How Solution Focused Therapy works?

In solution focused therapy, to solve the client’s problems, the counselor and the client work cooperatively to set goals and then aim at finding solutions together. In the sessions, the counselor asks the client about their strengths, skills and inner resources.

The counselor/therapist asks the client to imagine how they would like their future to be, by respectfully asking them related questions. Solution focused therapists, helps their client to recognize the things they would like to change in their life and build a desired future accordingly.

The therapist also asks the client certain questions like “The miracle questions”, their strengths, internal, external resources and some exceptions to the problem.

The client might not be aware of their inner strength, therefore, this therapy aims at bringing awareness to the client that they already have the resources within them to achieve their goals and deal with their problems.

The counselor motivates and encourages the client to move their focus to a more positive and solution oriented perspective. The client might be unaware of their own abilities, dwelling on the problems and not knowing what to do next.

The sessions in this therapy last for about 50 to 90 minutes. They can also be as short as 15 to 20 minutes generally done once in a week. They last for about 6 to 10 weeks only.

There are many methods used in Solution Focused Therapy that can help the client find the solution to their problems and focus more on the future. These methods are:

  • The miracle question – The counselor asks the client to imagine that they went to sleep and when they woke up in the morning, all their problems had disappeared. This question helps to recognize and obtain insight of what and how this problem might be exerting an influence on the client.
  • Exception seeking – The counselor asks the client to recall a moment in their life when the problem was present but it did not bother them. This can, infact, help in solving the problem.
  • Asking the client to rate their issues on a scale from 1-10 and internal or external resources. This can help both the client and counselor to move in a direction and get clarity about the client’s emotions and understanding.
  • Compliments – The counselor encourages and acknowledges the client’s positive strengths and skills. This serves as a motivation for the client to work towards their goals. The counselor uses positive and encouraging statements like “Great to hear that”, “That’s amazing, how did you manage that?”, etc.
  • Internal and External Resources – The client’s internal resources include their strengths, weaknesses, their capability to handle threat and problem solving skills. Whereas, external resources include their relationships with their family, friends, colleagues, etc.

Conclusion

This blog post discussed solution focused therapy and its pros and cons. We also talked about how and when this therapy is used. Solution Focused Therapy empowers the client to achieve their goals, by highlighting their strengths and abilities. In this present fast life, people rarely have time to take long counselling sessions and hence, solution focused therapy can be extremely helpful if people want some solutions and work towards their future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Solution Focused Therapy

What are the disadvantages of Solution Focused therapy?

  • Solution focused therapy focuses more on the present rather than exploring the past issues and traumas of the client.
  • Solution focused therapy is a short-term therapy and might not be suitable for every client.
  • Some clients decide to see a counselor so that their past traumas and issues can be heard, but because this therapy is solution focused, it can make the client feel not heard and acknowledged.
  • This therapy is led by the client, which can be troublesome. If the client wants to talk about their past issues and obtain awareness on it, then it can be very challenging for the counselor to use this therapy, as Solution Focused Therapy demands the client to look forward in the future and find solutions.
  • The client can end the sessions whenever they want and conclude if their goals have been achieved, despite what the counselor feels.

What are the benefits of solution focused therapy?

  • Solution focused therapy focuses on the client’s strengths and capabilities rather than focusing on their weaknesses and imperfections.
  • Solution focused therapy is quick and brief in nature with sessions lasting for about 6 to 10 weeks only.
  • Some counselors use this therapy to save their time as it is quick and keeps the client’s concentration on their preferences and goals.
  • Solution Focused Therapy, also works with positive psychology principles and hence, it makes the client hopeful and optimistic that will in result, help them to move forward in life.
  • This therapy also helps in improving interpersonal relationships and may lessen the signs of anxiety, depression and stress.

Solution Focused Therapy is not good for which issues?

Solution focused therapy is not recommended for clients with severe mental health disorders like schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

Is Solution Focused Therapy effective?

According to a research conducted, it was found that solution focused therapy was effective in the treatment of psychological and behavioural issues. It was also considered less costly and shorter than other therapies. Solution focused therapy is also considered extremely helpful in family and couple counselling, along with individual counselling.

What are the key concepts of Solution Focused Therapy?

Following are some key concepts of this therapy:

  • Clients define their own goals
  • Change is persistent and definite
  • Therapy is short term
  • Clients have their own resources and strengths to resolve their problems
  • Focus is on the future, past is not important
  • Clients must willingly want to change
  • Importance is on what is variable and possible

References

Pros and Cons of Solution Focused Therapy: Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/solution-focused-therapy.html

Solution Focused Brief Therapy: Retrieved from https://welldoing.org/types/solution-focused-brief-therapy

Solution Focused Counseling and Integrative Counseling: Retrieved from https://egyankosh.ac.in/bitstream/123456789/21280/1/Unit-4.pdf