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Solution Focused Brief Therapy - SFBT

By Dr. Sunita Rai

SFBT was originally developed in the USA in the late seventies by Steve De Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg.The aim of solution focused brief therapy is to make interventions brief, efficient and easily understandable by clients. One great innovation: the focus of therapy shifts from “problem resolution” to “solution building”. Since SFBT believes that problems change and are not static, it is crucial to find the moment in time when the problem does not occur. Therefore, it is important to discover what it is that reduces and minimizes the problem and its impact on the client’s life and it is essential to improve and maximize the positive. SFBT needs:

  1. Therapeutic alliance and understanding about how to work towards certain goals.

  2. Listening is pre-requisite

  3. The basic human relationship

  4. Unconditional positive regard, genuineness and warmth

In SFBT, the therapist acts as a solution detective (Sharry et al 2001). With the therapist, the client identifies existing resources, strengths and skills and reinforces them rather than focusing on issues and weaknesses. From the first session the therapist listens to what is going well and not to what is going wrong. By adopting an attitude of curiosity about how the client has been able to cope, the therapist finds questions in order to help the client to see strengths and resources. SFBT point of view is that it is more useful to build a picture of the client’s goals and the preferred better future, rather than fighting with unwanted past or a future picture established by and created from the problems of the past. A healthy future perspective creates a positive expectation of change and the client can stop thinking that things will always remain the same. Client visualises the possibility of life without the problem andthis becomes great source of motivation. Goals must be clear, realistic and achievable.

SFBT uses nontraditional questioning. The types of questions include exception questions, miracle questions, scaling questions, and coping questions. They are extremely powerful and enable the client to find solutions, to focus on preferred future and to build hope and confidence about the strengths and resources he/she has.I personally like this therapy approach, because it focuses on what can be done and can be changed in order to improve the client’s life by creating a better future.


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