What is Solution Focused Therapy?

This article will show what Solution Focused Therapy is, how it works, and its main benefits of it. It will also explain who is most likely to benefit from Solution Focused Therapy, and what to take into consideration when starting Solution Focused Therapy.

What is Solution Focused Therapy? 

Solution Focused Therapy is a form of therapy that is often focused on dealing with a problem the client may be going through. It is different from other forms of therapy that will often take time until the therapist analyzes the patient, and goes through many of their life events, and pathologies.

Solution Focused Therapy is set on the belief that you know what you need to do to make your life better. And with the support of your therapist, that will raise some questions, you will be able to find the best solutions.

Solution Focused Therapy can be widely used, and it seems to be extremely beneficial to people that are dealing with addiction, and trauma. It can also be effective on children that are having behavioral problems.

This form of therapy also seems to be effective on people with relationship problems, and women dealing with burnout. It is often prescribed to people that are dealing with major psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia. 

And may help people externalize behavioral problems, such as not knowing how to deal with conflict, or even people dealing with depression, and anxiety.

How does Solution Focused Therapy work? 

Solution Focused Therapy was created around the 1980s by two American psychotherapists. This line of therapy was created to focus on helping patients that wanted to find a solution to their problems. The central belief of this line of therapy is that all patients are motivated, to some extent, to find the solution to their problems.

In a Solution Focused Therapy, the professional will often use many questioning techniques, some scales, show empathy, and encouragement to help the patient see themselves for the good person they are. 

In this line of therapy, the patient will learn mainly to focus on what they can do and control, rather than what is out of their reach. Having that in mind will make it easier for them to find the solution to their problems.

As you start a Solution Focused Therapy, you should know that the first thing that will happen is that you will need to set your goals. With the professional who is caring for you, you will set your goal for the treatment.

That is done through their questioning, as they try to understand what you want to change in your life, and what steps you can take for that. In the first session, they will likely ask you a miracle question that may go something like this:

“Suppose that while you are sleeping tonight a miracle happens. The miracle is that the problem which brought you here is solved. But because you are sleeping, you don’t know that the miracle has happened. 

So, when you wake up tomorrow morning, what might be the small change that will make you say to yourself, ‘Wow, something must have happened—the problem is gone!'”

This will often lead you to think of the possibilities you have when dealing with your problem. Aside from that, the therapist may often ask you questions about days that you felt happy, so you may begin to realize that the problem you are dealing with is an exception, which may empower you to look for the solution.

Another type of questions therapists may do during a Solution Focused Therapy are ones called Scaling Questions. Those will usually help you, and them, keep track of your improvement, and how you have been feeling. A good scaling question may be this: “On a scale of 1 to 10, being 10 the saddest, and 1 the tallest, how do you feel right now?”.

What is Solution Focused Therapy?

What are the main benefits of Solution Focused Therapy? 

One of the biggest benefits of the Solution Focused Therapy is how brief it is. When a person is suffering or dealing with a difficult problem, they may want to find the solution for it as fast as they can, so having a therapy process that will allow them to do that can be comforting. 

The process of Solution Focused Therapy will last around 5 to 8 sessions, which can also make it cost a lot less than other forms of therapy. Aside from that, this line of therapy will not dig into old wounds, but it will mostly focus on solving the problem that brought you there.

What to take under consideration when doing Solution Focused Therapy? 

If you are considering starting therapy, but feel your issues may be based on your childhood or situations that require the therapist to dig deeper, Solution Focused Therapy may not be the perfect fit for you. Instead, you should look for other lines of therapy such as psychoanalysis. 

But if you are dealing with a problem, and are looking for ways to strengthen your skills to deal with it, you can talk to your physician and see if they have any professional to refer you to.

If not, there are many of them, and you can often find good referrals in your town’s mental health services or agencies. And as you find someone, get in touch to begin your process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What is Solution-Focused Therapy?

What is the “Do One Thing Different” technique? 

This is a technique that will try to help the client to change their strategies in dealing with problems. First, you will ask the client to think about a problem situation and think about what you can change in this. 

They can change the pattern the way their body responds, their location, and the timing. Then they are asked to remember a time when things didn’t go well for them, and what part of the problem they will do differently.

Next, they are asked to say when someone has dealt with a problem and made it better. Or something that they have done to make the problem better. In this, you can tell them to do that the next time they find a problem. 

Recognizing what others do to make a problem better, will also help them think of a possibility of a different resolution in the future.

You should also highlight to them that feelings, even the negative ones, are a way for us to know what is happening. But even though you should understand your feelings, you shouldn’t let yourself be guided by them. 

They may want to determine what type of feeling usually gets them into trouble, is it informing them, and how it is suggesting they should act.

To help change how clients deal with problem situations, they should also learn about how to change focus, since keeping the focus in a problematic situation will just make it bigger. When you focus too much on something, it can get you into trouble, instead, try to think of other things that won’t get you into trouble.

Visualizing yourself in the future, and thinking of a day you won’t have that problem anymore, can help you look back on how you solved that problem, and get a better perspective on it. It can help you think of what you need to change for a better future.

The client is also encouraged to understand that there are things they can’t control, and by dealing with the problems, they should mainly focus on that. And if they have faith in a higher power, they can also talk about how that will help them deal with the problem. 

And finally, in this technique, you will encourage them to use their actions to make things different, and better. Tell people what you want out of their actions, voice your concerns, and always remember to thank people.

What is the treatment plan for Solution Focused Therapy? 

When a person is beginning a therapy process in the line of Solution Focused Therapy, the first thing that will happen is that the professional will try to understand why you are looking for therapy. What are you feeling that brought you there?

Later, if it is possible, intending to make a diagnosis, they may ask what type of medication you are taking, and what symptoms you are experiencing. They may need to know what type of support you have. If you have family, or loved ones close by. 

After that, they may trace the type of treatment they will do with you, and in that it is defined the frequency of the session. At that moment, the goals for treatment are set, and the therapist, through the process, will establish ways to evaluate your progress. 

Little by little, the therapy process will focus on strengthening the client, and understanding what are the barriers to their progress, until those can be torn down.

What is “The miracle Question” in Solution Based Therapy? 

A miracle question is a form of intervention in which the therapist will ask the client what would be different in their life, and the world if the matter they are struggling with was simply solved. 

Such a question can be done like this: “ If you wake up, and your problem is solved, what is different?”. By doing this you help the client envision things from a different perspective than just focusing on their problem.

What are some Solution Based Therapy techniques? 

There are other known techniques for Solution Based Therapy aside from the miracle question, and the do one thing different technique. There is also one called presupposing change, and even something simple as asking the appropriate and right questions can be considered a good Solution Based Therapy technique.

What are the limitations of Solution Based Therapy?

Since Solution Based Therapy will focus mostly on what the client identifies as the problem, you can lose track of the underlying cause of this situation they are in. 

And because it is mostly based on solving a problem, the clients can often consider that the process is over, as soon as the problem is solved, and may end the process before the therapist considers it appropriate. 

Aside from that, sometimes the clients may have the impression, if the therapy process succeeds, that they managed it all by themselves, disregarding the therapy process.


This article showed what Solution Focused Therapy is, how it works, and its main benefits. Aside from that, the article explained what you should take under consideration when starting Solution Focused Therapy.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.



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