Solution-Focused Counseling in Psychology

Topic: Applied Psychology
Words: 1209 Pages: 4


Solution-focused counseling is among the therapies applied to folks with mental health issues. Also called solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), this psychotherapy entails improving the patients’ current and future experiences rather than the past (Joubert and Guse, 2021). Hence, the psychologists hardly solve the symptoms and signs, which brought the patient to them. Instead, the caregiver helps the customer develop a thick skin against the current setbacks. SFBT is ideal for addressing anxiety, relationship problems, self-esteem, depression, work-related stress, and substance abuse disorder (Murray, 2021). The essay evaluates this strategy in detail, including its development, implementation, and efficacy.

Development and Theoretical Underpinnings

SFBT’s emergence began when mental health practitioners recognized the essence of an alternative strategy to therapy. Initially, helping patients with mental health issues consumed much time, funds, and energy, making it unsustainable (Good Therapy, 2018). For instance, Murray (2021) notes that the long and many counseling sessions encouraged absenteeism as some clients could miss appointments. Hence, a team led by Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer created SFBT in the early ‘90s to address the concern (Walker et al., 2021). This model is intended to provide realistic, quick solutions and allow durable relief; instead of keeping patients and caregivers in therapy for an extended time (Kim et al., 2019). Hence, therapists have learned SFBT globally and applied it in different settings, including workplaces, schools, and marriages.

Critically, SFBT’s developers relied on the following theoretical principles and assumptions. First, the scholars acknowledged that change is inevitable and constant, and customers want transformation, which encouraged them to adopt a new model (Counselling Directory, 2021). In other words, SFBT’s creators realized that the previous therapy was outdated to serve customers’ interests, thus developing a better one. Moreover, researchers thought that clients have the expertise, resources, and strengths to set goals and pursue them (Counselling Directory, 2021). For instance, therapists who use SFBT ask customers to suggest solutions to their issues. In short, this approach gives patients more power in overcoming their mental health issues than the previous ones. Next, the model creators recognized that therapy is short-term, not a lifetime activity (Counselling Directory, 2021). This assumption prompted the scholars to create SFBT, which takes a relatively shorter span. Lastly, the developers appreciated that people should focus on possible things and the future (Counselling Directory, 2021). In short, these assumptions helped devastated individuals concentrate on bettering their lives by setting realistic goals.

Components and Implementation

Implementing SFBT requires the client and the practitioner to collaborate in setting goals and determining solutions. Therefore, the caregiver asks strategic questions to get sufficient information about the customers’ situation and strengths to overcome the problem (Good Therapy, 2018). For example, if a divorced spouse feels depressed, the practitioner will ask them to apply the resilience they used to cope with previous separations and failures. The caregiver also utilizes complementary language to help the client realize and capitalize on their strengths and resources to address the prevailing challenge. Averagely, the counseling sessions last for 15-90 minutes, once every week, and could take between six and twelve weeks (Good Therapy, 2018). In general, SFBT is a one-off therapy, requiring the customer to capitalize on the chance available.

SFBT’s execution relies on several techniques that are also its primary components. First, this strategy uses miracle questions, asking the customer to imagine they slept and woke up problem-free (Gong and Hsu, 2017). Afterward, the caregiver will request the client to explain why they think their issues vanished. This strategy helps practitioners understand the concern and its impact on the patients and encourage them to find solutions. Additionally, a caregiver can use coping questions to comprehend how the customers have handled the challenge and discover their internal resources and strengths (Gong and Hsu, 2017). For example, the practitioner could inquire how employees have been coexisting with an abusive boss to determine their resilience. Compliments are also valuable tactics that enable the counselor to appreciate the patient’s efforts and challenges in addressing the problem (Murray, 2021). Specifically, this technique boosts the clients’ endurance and commitment to solving their concerns. Lastly, psychologists apply “problem exceptions” by asking the customers to clarify situations when they barely experience their challenges (Counselling Directory, 2021). This technique provides caregivers with a hint for solving the issue at hand. In short, SFBT offers psychotherapists various implementation approaches, thus increasing the success rate.


SFBT is not perfect, as its efficacy varies with the setting, the population, and the addictive disorders. Nonetheless, the first advantage is that this approach is quick, lasting for about 6-10 weeks on average (Murray, 2021). Hence, SFBT is reliable for busy clients with tight schedules as it saves them time. For example, corporate managers can utilize this option to address workplace-related issues with employees. SFBT also enables practitioners to help patients realize their problems and find solutions (Good Therapy, 2018). Thus, this model is recommendable for people who require assistance to discover and address their challenges. Moreover, SFBT is future-oriented as the counselor motivates clients to forget their history and concentrate on beautifying their future (Murray, 2021). Hence, this tactic is ideal for people with severe dark pasts haunting them constantly. For example, folks who lost their marriages because of infidelity will stop regretting and transform to keep their future spouses. Lastly, SFBT is a nonjudgmental technique allowing the customer to set goals for their issues, as the caregiver motivates them (Good Therapy, 2018). As a result, the approach is ideal for patients who want support, not criticism. For instance, serial robbers who wish to transform will should prefer SFBT because the counselor can barely stigmatize them. Overall, this option is effective and dependable for handling numerous disorders including, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, self-esteem, substance abuse, and personal stress.

However, SFBT has the following critical flaws that undermine its efficacy. First, this technique is so brief that it undermines patients with severe challenges and addictions (Murray, 2021). For instance, SFBT could fail to assist individuals who fought cocaine addiction for decades, as this transition takes a long time. In other words, some complicated issues require an extended span to address them adequately. Additionally, SFBT has little regard for the past, which prevents clients from learning from their mistakes (Good Therapy, 2018). As a result, this technique is ineffective for patients who wish to stop recurrent misbehaviors. For example, people with substance abuse disorder can hardly learn how to avoid factors that led them to drug abuse. Moreover, SFBT is solution-focused, meaning it barely acknowledges the pain patients endured before seeking assistance (Murray, 2021). In short, this model is unideal for troubled folks seeking empathy.


In summary, SFBT began in the early ‘90s to save time patients wasted in therapy sessions. The model embraces theoretical assumptions like change is unavoidable, customers need transformation, clients can set their goals, and people should focus on the future and possible things. Next, SFBT’s implementation requires practitioner-patient collaboration in establishing goals and pursuing them. The execution tools include miracle and coping questions, compliments, and “problem exceptions.” Analytically, SFBT is reliable and ideal for maximizing time, overcoming the dark past, and recognizing and solving issues. However, the technique is unideal for people needing empathy, solving severe problems, and helping folks who wish to learn from their past.


Counselling Directory (2021). Solution-focused therapy. Counselling Directory. Web.

Gong, H., & Hsu, W. (2017). The effectiveness of solution-focused group therapy in ethnic Chinese school settings: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 67(3), 383-409. Web.

Good Therapy (2018). Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). Good Therapy. Web.

Joubert, J., & Guse, T. (2021). A Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) intervention model to facilitate hope and subjective well-being among trauma survivors. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 1(1), 1-8. Web.

Kim, J., Jordan, S. S., Franklin, C., & Froerer, A. (2019). Is solution-focused brief therapy evidence-based? An update 10 years later. Families in Society, 100(2), 127-138. Web.

Murray, H. (2021). Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). Simply Psychology. Web.

Walker, C. R., Froerer, A. S., & Gourlay‐Fernandez, N. (2021). The value of using emotions in solution focused brief therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 0(0), 1-14. Web.

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