Frequently Asked Questions About Solution-Focused Counselling

"Where you stand determines what you see and what you do not see; it determines also the angle you see it from; a change in where you stand changes everything."      ~ Steve de Shazer

What is the Solution-Focused approach?

The solution-focused approach is a reorientation from a problem-focused to a solution focused model. It emphasizes the use of solution-focused questions to draw forth client strengths and resources to create a future when their problem is solved. The focus is on working with client strengths, looking for positive exceptions when the problem does not exist, and elaborating on preferred futures and goals. The focus is on where clients want to go, rather than were they have been. Your role is to adopt an ‘unknowing position’ viewing the client as the expert. From a stance of respectful curiosity, you will ask questions that aim to facilitate the client in generating their own solutions to the problems. It is a powerful, practical model that focuses on how to achieve change quickly.

Can this model work with all types of problems?

Yes! The solution-focused model has proven to be effective with a variety of problems including substance abuse, mental illness, sexual and physical abuse, school problems, crisis intervention, and family violence. It is particularly helpful to counsellors who have a time-limited contact with clients. It is useful in working with individuals, families, couples groups and organizations.

Do I have to be a "therapist" in order to use this model?

No! The methods embedded within the guiding principles of the solution-focused model are appropriate and effective for many professionals in a variety of helping roles: Including, but not limited to, childcare workers, nurses, school principals, teachers, dieticians, physicians, and life coaches. Professionals who employ the solution-focused techniques learn the strengths within the approach empower them as well as their clients.

Can the solution-focused approach be used in any setting?

Yes. Solution-focused brief therapy has been successfully practised in inpatient psychiatric settings, group homes, residential treatment, de-tox centres, substance abuse programs, home-based settings, child protection agencies, schools, and community based counselling programs.

Why should I learn this model?

Creating a collaborative relationship based on trust, acceptance, and empathy is a basic premise in solution-focused brief therapy. It is flexible, and can easily create the positive foundation and basis of your preferred client approach. It will help you to become more effective in your work; make the most of every interview with a client; move to solutions more quickly; and to negotiate achievable goals with clients.

Does solution-focused brief therapy really work?

Many outcome studies have documented the effectiveness of solution-focused brief therapy. For example, solution-focused brief therapy is reported within the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (SAMHSA NREPP). View Intervention

We continue to proudly offer training in this effective tool, as well as practice the powerful and successful methods in our own practice with clients.
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