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The Significance of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

Solution-focused brief therapy is a technique that allows patients to focus on their current circumstances.

How Does Solution-Focused Brief Therapy Work?

In contrast to conventional therapies, solution-focused brief therapy concentrates on your current circumstances and long-term objectives.  In this goal-oriented approach, the symptoms or issues that prompted you to seek treatment are frequently not the focus.1

A qualified therapist will work with you to develop a future vision and offer assistance while they pinpoint the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to achieve that objective.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

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SBT Approach to Healing

Therapists that use solution-based therapy will utilize a variety of methods to assist you in identifying your objectives and the areas in which you excel. Taking a solution-focused approach allows you to focus on specific, manageable measures you can take to resolve the issue.

A typical method used in SFBT is to assist clients in identifying exceptions to their problematic behavioral patterns. This aids the person in understanding how to change things in a good way instead of focusing on the symptoms or emotions that give you pain. This therapy aims to find answers to the difficulties you're experiencing. When this happens, symptoms will disappear entirely or become much less severe.

What is Solution-Focused Brief Therapy Used For?

Solution-focused therapy techniques are utilized to treat a significant portion of the population who might be suffering from various mental health conditions. It has the potential to be helpful in the treatment of:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Work-related and personal pressures
  • Anxiety
  • Addiction to or misuse of alcohol and drugs.
  • Problems in intimate relationships
  • Extreme stress

SBT as a Conjunctive Treatment

Solution-focused therapy tools are most successful when combined with a client's efforts to achieve a particular goal or address a specific problem.

When used in conjunction with better psychiatric treatment, SFBT may assist in relieving stress and raising awareness of a person's inner resources and abilities. However, this therapeutic technique is not the ideal solution for treating severe mental diseases such as schizophrenia and psychosis, as those require a patient to receive therapy, and often medication, for an extended period of time. SFBT therapists might be able to help with some issues, but it should not be the sole type of therapy used. 

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy Techniques 

The solution-focused technique employs a variety of tactics to help the person seeking assistance discover viable answers and determine how to put the solutions uncovered into action. In general, these techniques are a collection of questions geared at the person and the particular circumstances they are in and want to get out. Solution-focused therapy key concepts will be detailed below.

Miracle Questions

SFBT encourages you to stop focusing on why you can't accomplish something and instead imagine what your life would be like if a “miracle” happened, meaning your perspective would shift and the root cause of your difficulties would no longer be in the spotlight.

The key is to find the right question. When you ask the "miracle” question, an answer appears. You are expected to elaborate on a solution, which can contribute to the need to start acting differently when facing challenging situations. It is then hoped that you will begin to take small steps toward a new lifestyle.2

Exception Questions

Many individuals can recall moments in their lives when things were quite different from how they are now, thanks to the use of exception questions. A psychotherapist can assist you in finding a solution by exploring how these anomalies happened and identifying the resources and competencies you need to use to solve your issue.

Exceptional questions that a therapist using a short-term solution-focused therapy could ask include asking you about some of your fondest memories, or what made specific days so special to you. They could also dig deeper and ask about times in your life you felt that you did not have the issue you’re currently seeking help for. Throughout this process, it is customary for therapists to praise patients and encourage them to look forward and use their strengths and resources to achieve a new objective.

Scaling Questions

Following miracle and exception questions, a series of scaling questions are often presented to have you thinking about the challenges of your problem. It generally requires scoring the problem on a scale of 1-100%, or one to ten, with 1% being the worst possible scenario and 100% being the best possible scenario.

To make a patient feel as though their therapy objectives have been met, a psychotherapist using solution-focused skills must first address their problem in their attitude with how they choose to face their issues. They may then define specific goals and identify desirable outcomes from this point forward. Scaling queries may also help track progress.

The Guiding Principles of SFBT

The history of solution-focused therapy is long and has changed somewhat since its inception. The approach is rooted in Berg and de Shazer's problem solving style, which focuses on the "exceptions" to problems and reinforces people's conviction that most issues can be addressed when they do not directly influence their everyday lives.

The following points are SFBT's guiding principles:3

  • Rather than focusing on the negative aspects of a situation, concentrate on the positive aspects.
  • The patient already has knowledge and abilities, as shown by past or current success.
  • Imagine the future; don't ruminate too much on the past.
  • Duplicate the positive and productive thoughts and behavior that now exists in your life.
  • Find the positive aspects of your life and focus on highlighting those aspects. SFBT hinges on the idea that life as a whole is not as bad as we often think.
  • Celebrate even the little shifts in your behaviors, even if they initially seem insignificant.

Effectiveness of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

Since its inception, SFBT has not only grown to be one of the most respected styles of brief therapy, but it has also had a significant impact on disciplines as varied as business, public welfare, academia, and criminal justice, including children's services and the rehabilitation of domestic and family violence offenders. An important characteristic of the SFBT paradigm is its focus on brief, realistic target negotiations.4

SFBT has been shown in studies to:5

  • Reduce the intensity of substance abuse and the symptoms of trauma.
  • Reduce relationship problems and marital exhaustion.
  • Help students with special educational needs who struggle with behavioral issues in the classroom.
  • Reduce externally visible behavioral issues, such as conduct disorder, and improve your ability to handle conflict.
  • Alleviate depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem

The Benefits of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

The following are some of the positive results that may be attained via the use of solution-focused therapy:

  • As a result of its brief duration, this treatment is both time and money efficient.
  • It is founded on empathetic understanding and an open mind.
  • The client, as opposed to the therapist, is in charge of the process.
  • It is focused on the future.

Find Out More About Solution-Focused Brief Therapy at Boardwalk Recovery

Techniques from solution-focused therapy can be incorporated into a variety of different counseling and therapeutic modalities. If you choose Boardwalk Recovery, you'll be working with qualified mental health experts who have received training in SFBT. You may have peace of mind knowing that you will be working with a therapist who has the right educational background, experience, and a constructive attitude and with whom you will feel comfortable expressing your personal difficulties when you choose to consult with us.
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