The Centre for Solution Focused Practice

FAQ

Does Solution Focused Brief Therapy address problems?

One way to think about solution focused brief therapy is to take the view that at the heart of the approach lies a conversational shift. The therapist, using all the skills at her command, attempts to move with the client out of a problem-dominated conversation into a solution-oriented conversation.

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How brief is brief?

One way to think about solution focused brief therapy is to take the view that at the heart of the approach lies a conversational shift. The therapist, using all the skills at her command, attempts to move with the client out of a problem-dominated conversation into a solution-oriented conversation.

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Impossible Hopes?

Many approaches to therapy or counseling make a distinction between ‘want’ and ‘need’. So if a client were to outline what he, or more probably she, wants from the therapy it would be legitimate on the part of the worker to raise the question ‘yes but is this what the client needs?’

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Tell me what to do

Steve de Shazer, the key originator of solution focused brief therapy, was much influenced in his therapeutic development by the work of the Brief Therapy Project at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California. Indeed John Weakland of that team was both a mentor and friend to Steve de Shazer right up until John Weakland’s death in 1995 and until Steve’s own death in 2005 he always referred to John as ‘my mentor’.

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What about the past? How does solution focus deal with that?

In Time’s Arrow Martin Amis reverses the direction of time. The book starts with the central protagonist dying into life and ends with him being born into non-existence. This structure offers Amis the opportunity to engage and to amuse his readers but in a much more fundamental way to challenge his readers’ core assumptions about the way that life is.

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One thing after another?

Steve de Shazer would often say that one way of thinking about good outcomes in therapy is to think of shifting with the client from ‘the same damn thing over and over’ to ‘one damn thing after another’. ‘One damn thing after another’ is, Steve de Shazer suggested, the way that life is for most of us.

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What if things get worse?

Most people’s lives do not work in terms of smooth transitions, seamlessly building from difficulty through resolution to self-fulfillment. Would that it were so (or perhaps not)! Most people’s lives are more up and down. Solution focused brief therapy is centred on noticing and working with the ups. Indeed most follow-up sessions start with the questions

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Disadvantages of solution focus?

Ups and downs, in and outs, strengths and weaknesses . . .pros and cons. It is hardly surprising that on solution focused courses participants are lead to ask about the disadvantages of using solution focused brief therapy.

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What are SF questions for

Teaching a course recently in Cardiff, I got into a discussion with Ania Dobek, a psychologist, about whether the word “information” is useful to describe what the solution focused practitioner is after.

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Blog

Are we the kill-joys of the therapeutic world?

What is the status of 'body language' in the SF approach. We know that the words we use are only a small part of the way that we communicate and that our understanding of those words in general conversation is mediated through our processing of 'body language'. So how do SF practitioners think about this?

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