This post is also published on the official blog page of the Association for Solution Focused Hypnotherapists
I always endeavour to keep my knowledge up to date, to evolve my methods and to grow my skills as a therapist. My background as a nurse leads me to evidence-based practice, with the aim of improving client outcomes. Over the last year, I have been developing my skills with a key focus on the solution focused approach and have completed training in Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) with Brief. Brief is the world’s leading centre for Solution Focused practice in therapy and counselling.
As the name implies, Solution Focused Brief Therapy is an approach to therapy that is brief and effective. Research shows that it brings about lasting change in less than 5 sessions on average, and is effective in up to 83% of cases.
The therapy has two key elements:
- Strength- based
With this therapy we look to the future. No dwelling on the past. And we use the client’s own strengths to help them move forward quick;y.
Hope – A Key Part of My New Solution Focused Brief Therapy
Brief therapy uses the word ‘hope’ quite specifically. Their choice of the word ‘hope’ is based on a sense of possibility. Rather than ‘wishes’ or ‘wants’ or ‘desires’ which can be anything. We can only hope for that which is possible.
Therapists can help to foster hope in their clients. Many clients come to therapy with some of their hope diminished. Things are not going the way that they wish in their lives and their normal coping mechanisms have failed them. A major reason for coming to therapy is to increase one’s sense of hope and to expect change (Reiter, 2010.)
Water The Flowers Not The Weeds!
Nurture the hopeful signs and ignore the rest!
The essence of Solution Focused Brief Therapy is to have a hope-filled conversation and to explore in detail a client’s preferred future. A future where their hopes have been achieved. We work together to identify the possible resources and strengths they have to attain that future.
Identifying what the client wants from the therapy will always be at the forefront of the conversation.
‘”What are your best hopes from us working together?’”
This initial question invites the client to immediately focus on the outcome they desire, rather than trying to fix or understand the problem they arrived with.
People come to therapy because they want to achieve something. It makes perfect sense to focus the conversation on what is desired, instead of what’s wrong.
Beginning with the end in mind
Solution Focused Brief Therapy has evolved from Solution Focused Therapy. Solution Focused Brief Therapy creates a hope-filled conversation. In this conversation, we use language to describe things as they would be when the best hope was present. This subtly changes the nature of the client and therapist relationship. The client is now trusted. They are the expert and they know how best to help themselves. The therapist facilitates this process by co-constructing with the client the idea of ‘hopefulness’.
I have noticed how clients start to thinking differently. It can be a new experience to be asked to think about what they hope for, instead of their problems. Once they see what is happening, the co-constructive conversation really begins to flow. This makes the process very positive and amazing to be a part of.
I will continue to explore Solution Focused Brief Therapy in my future blogs and look forward to sharing this with you.