Solution-Focused Therapy was developed in in Milwaukee, Wisconsin the late 1970’s and is a successful tool for helping those in individual therapy, family therapy, or couples therapy. As the name indicates, Solution-Focused Therapy is goal-oriented, and focuses on achieving solutions to the problems that clients are experiencing.
Because the primary focus of this style of therapy is to help individuals find solutions to their challenges, the approach is useful in a variety of areas of life including personal and family relationships, as well as challenges occurring in the workplace or in school. Solution-Focused Therapy has been used with beneficial results with people from a wide variety of cultures, backgrounds, and age groups, and has successfully treated a range of issues.
When treating with Solution-Focused Therapy, the individual, couple or family seeking help is considered the “expert”, and the counselor assists in the determination of a solution and the necessary steps to achieve the final outcome. This form of therapy focuses on immediate solutions to problems, rather than the underlying cause of them, so it may be more effective in treating some issues than others.
Solution Focused Therapy Techniques
Solution-Focused Therapy is generally described as a goal-driven, practical therapeutic model, as it emphasizes clear, concise, and realistic goals. When using this form of therapy, the client(s) work with the therapist to describe what their ideal relationship outcome would be and then outline the necessary steps and requirements to be addressed in order to attain the final goal.
The following techniques are a sample of the strategies used by mental health counselors trained in Solutions-Focused Therapy. These techniques, and others, are designed to help clients determine their ideal outcomes and the steps they need to take to attain them:
Identifying previous solutions
To help clients uncover potential solutions, therapists will ask questions to help in identifying past issues and how they were resolved. Clients will feel more positive in their ability to arrive at a solution when then identify and acknowledge their past successes in resolving similar issues.
An exception is when the client expects a problem to arise, but it doesn’t. The therapist helps to identify and understand what this exception is and how it came about.
In Solution-Focused Therapy, the therapist often provides compliments to validate what the client is doing well and as a source of positive reinforcement and encouragement for their changes in behavior.
Do more of what works
Encouraging clients to experiment with different strategies to find one that works is emphasized in this therapeutic model. When a solution is found that works, the client is encouraged to do more of what that is to validate its effectiveness as a solution.
Acknowledge current coping strategies
The client is encouraged to acknowledge their inherent determination and resiliency by discussion and evaluating their previous and current coping strategies. Even if previous or current coping strategies are no longer deemed effective or desirable, the client can acknowledge how they arrived at that solution, how it was perceived as effective at that time, and how the next coping strategy can build upon the lessoned learned from it.
Research has shown that Solution-Focused Therapy is a helpful intervention for youth who are experiencing behavioral or school-related concerns that be a result of parental separation or divorce. The technique has also been shown to be an effective approach to family therapy and couples counseling for those looking for solutions to improve or save their marriage.
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) represents over 50,000 marriage and family therapists throughout the world and provides resources to those wanting to find a marriage or family therapist specializing in Solution-Focused Therapy in their area. By visiting their directory listing you can quickly find the names, backgrounds, and contact information for those professionals practicing in the Northern Colorado region.
Contact Laura Monty Law
If you and your spouse will be filing for divorce in Northern Colorado or reside in the Larimer County or Fort Collins region, and want to explore a variety of divorce options, do not hesitate to contact Laura Monty Law. We provide collaborative divorce representation, divorce mediation services, legal advising for uncontested divorces and contested divorces, and a full array of divorce and family law services to meet your family’s needs. We strongly believe in taking a compassionate approach to family law, and recognize that every situation is unique.