Solution focused therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach which focuses on what a client wants to achieve through therapy, rather than on the problem which made them seek help. This therapy does not focus on the past but, instead, focuses on the present and future. The approach also focuses on building solutions rather than solving problems, and this promotes positive change rather than dwelling on past problems. Clients are encouraged to focus positively on what they do well and to set goals and work out how to achieve them. The therapist’s role is to assist the client in producing and maintaining stories of coping and success rather than stories of failure.
Three basic questions underpin solution focused therapy:
- What are your best hopes from this therapy? – client and therapist negotiate goals for therapy.
- What would your day-to-day life look like if these hopes were realised? – the therapist elicits from the client a detailed description of how things would be if their goals were realised.
- What are you already doing, and what have you done in the past, that may contribute to these goals being realised? – the therapist assists the client to identify what is already working and the often hidden resources at the client’s disposal.