'Disadvantages' of Solution Focused Therapy? (2022)

What are the disadvantages of Solution Focused Therapy?

Ups and downs, in and outs, strengths and weaknesses . . .pros and cons. It is hardly surprising that on solution focused courses participants are lead to ask about the disadvantages of using solution focused brief therapy.

As is often the case disadvantages tend to be the converse of and closely related to advantages.Some of the disadvantages of using solution focused brief therapy can be summarised as follows:

  • The worker has to listen to the client and has to take what the client says seriously. What the client says is what the client means. The worker cannot take the position that the client really means something else or that if the client were well shewouldbe saying something else. The potential disadvantages of this are clear and varied. For example the worker has to accept the client’s goals for the piece of work, even if the worker feels that the goals are not therightgoals. A client may for example describe her wish to improve her relationship with her partner. The worker in such an instance would need to put away her thought that the clientshouldwork on her experience of childhood sexual abuse. For the worker who has developed professionally in a culture dominated by the idea of underlying causation, this change might be hard to make and the worker will tend to be constantly assailed with a worry that her work is superficial and failing to get to the root of the problem.
  • Listening to the client also means that when the client says that the work is done – the work is done. The disadvantages of this, particularly to the worker in private practice, are clear and obvious. However beyond this, listening to the client can mean having to tackle and get to grips with the worker’s natural ambition for the client, her natural desire that the client make the most of her undoubted skills, strengths, resources and abilities. Accepting that the clientcoulddo more and yet is deciding, for the moment at least, that she is happy to accept life the way it is, requires huge self-discipline on the part of the worker.
  • The worker who uses solution focused brief therapy can never take the credit. If the work goes well it is always the client who has made the changes and who will be credited. For example the client who says to the worker “What’s helped me to make changes is coming here and talking with you” is likely to respond by saying “many people come here and do not make changes. What is it about you that means that you have made good use of our talking together?” Some therapy has at the heart of its self-description the image of the heroic worker struggling with the client’s pathology – getting down into the bear-pit and fighting for the client’s health. Other therapies have the idea of the clever therapist, outwitting the client’s resistance, tricking the client into giving up his symptoms. At the heart of solution focused brief therapy is the image of the heroicclient. The worker disappears. One of Chris Iveson’s clients (George et al 1999) commented that “when you ask the right questions you disappear”. The client at the end of the therapeutic process may remain puzzled about the part that the therapy has played in the client making changes. The skill of solution focused brief therapy is to work close to the client’s position, close to the client’s reality and yet sufficiently distant to make a difference. Such a skill tends to be invisible.
  • The solution focused worker cannot be clever. If the worker is being clever it is likely that the work is not solution focused. The early history of strategic family therapy was marked by clever, intricate, even at times somewhat abstruse interventions. The tasks that the workers developed seemed creative, extraordinary almost as if they had come from nowhere. This of course was in fact because the task had come out of the world of the worker‘s theory, out of the worker’s head. In solution focused brief therapy the best suggestions are born logically out of the talking that has gone on during the sessions and will have been co-created by the worker and the client. Yet again the client will have to be given much of the credit and the worker’s contribution may appear mundane to the outsider.
  • Using solution focused brief therapy will not even impress your colleagues. Case conferences can be an arena within which the professional ‘pecking order’ or hierarchy of esteem can be negotiated.The worker whose approach allows for the possibility of hypothesising can develop an impressive formulation which will, in all likelihood, relate the presenting problems to underlying issues of causation developing a strikingly consistent new ‘narrative’ of explanation from the often limited facts available. Examples of this are commonplace, the client’s case history being presented to the conference and one of the group responding with “I wonder if this client’s father wasn’t a sailor?” or “I wonder whether (the client) wasn’t separated from her parents in her early life?” or “I wonder whether (the client) hasn’t been abused?” Solution focused brief therapy of course allows no space for hypothesising and thus little scope for impressing colleagues, except with the rather more mundane matter of good outcomes.
  • Using solution focused brief therapy even prevents the worker from being helpful. Many of us came into this sort of work precisely because we were motivated by the desire to be helpful to others – it certainly was not for the social esteem or the financial rewards. In solution focused brief therapy the worker has to guard against this tendency trying to be useful rather than helpful. Helpfulness might lead the worker hearing the client describe a problem to suggest ‘what about trying to . . . ‘ or ‘have you ever thought of . . . ‘ In solution focused brief therapy the worker, in attempting to be useful, will limitherself to asking useful questions, questions which orient the client towards solutions. Indeed the worker will have to develop the discipline of leaving her ‘good ideas’ at the door of the consulting room, since if the worker begins to say to herself ‘I know what this client should do to resolve this problem, then it becomes almost impossible not to try to get the client to do what the worker thinks the obvious solution is. And this, of course, is the best recipe for building what can be thought of as resistance in the client worker relationship, trying to get clients to do things that they have not yet decided to do.
  • Solution focused brief therapy is inconvenient for the worker. What works for workers is regular scheduling – seeing clients weekly at the same time which means that the worker’s diary can be managed in a neat and orderly way with the worker having some ability to predict what might be happening on any one day. Since in solution focused brief therapy it will be the worker and the client together who will decide on the scheduling of the next appointment and since weekly appointments are unusual and since the gap between sessions is likely to get longer as the client changes and since regular appointment times are frowned upon for changing therapy into a question of habit rather than a purposeful activity it is clear that solution focused diaries tend to be chaotic. The worker has to be able to cope with this.
  • The worker also has to be able to deal with lots of new clients. Since the average number of sessions is likely to be around four, no client is likely to be seen for very long and the worker will have to get used to working with lots of new clients. Working with new clients is hard work, since there is never the time to slip into a routine.
  • What’s more the worker is not even likely to enjoy sitting with the client as the client recounts the benefits of the changes that she has made to her life. As soon as the client is confident enough of being able to made the changes she requires, before even achieving them therefore the therapy is likely to end. No time at all to bask in the satisfaction of a job well done.
  • And if the work does not go well the solution focused worker cannot even blame the client by suggesting that there is something wrong with the client. There is no way that the worker can argue that the client is lacking in insight or insufficiently psychologically minded, or unmotivated or in any way other deficient. The worker has to face up to the lack of change and acknowledge that however hard she has tried she has not managed to find a way of being useful to the client. So if the work does go well it is the client who is to be credited and if it does not then that is the responsibility of the worker.

Workers should think hard before espousing this approach. It is tough and demanding and just like a virus, once in the system it will never go away again. In fact for anyone reading this it might already be too late.

(Video) What are the disadvantages of the Solution Focused Approach?

With thanks to Jay Haley for his article’ Why a mental health clinic should not use family therapy’.

Evan George
July 2010

Blog

BRING ON THE RAIN

Leonard Cohen sang 'there is a crack in everything - that's how the light gets in'. Steve de Shazer was similarly struck by the utility of imperfection. Chris Iveson takes this as his starting point for an exploration of Solution Focused Practice.

Read more

(Video) Solution-focused therapy | What is SFBT?

Featured Video

(Video) What is Solution-Focused Therapy? (Solution-Focused Brief Therapy)

FAQs

What is a criticism of solution focused brief therapy SFBT )? ›

A commonly stated critique of Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a lack of attention to the client's emotional experience and the use of emotion as a mechanism for producing meaningful change.

Who would benefit from Solution-Focused Therapy? ›

SFBT may be helpful for children and teens with depression, anxiety and self-esteem issues. Some research shows SFBT has also helped kids improve their classroom behavior. “Solution-focused brief therapy actively works toward solutions. It helps patients identify what they do well.”

Does solution oriented therapy ignore people's pain? ›

Does solution-oriented therapy ignore people's pain (as some critics of the approach suggest) or does it facilitate clients' positive experiences, which in turn empower them to change what is painful in their lives? Solution-oriented therapy addresses individuals pain and teaches people to move on from that pain.

What are the three rules of Solution-Focused Therapy? ›

The principles of SFBT can be summarized as “listen, select, and build.” More specifically: The focus is on building solutions rather than solving concerns. The therapist assumes you already possess solution-building abilities and listens intently to try to identify cues in your discussion to support this.

Is Solution-Focused Therapy evidence-based? ›

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is an evidence-based approach to psychotherapy.

How is the client viewed in Solution-Focused Therapy? ›

Solution-focused therapy also considers the client the expert and not the therapist. The client is the expert because no one knows their own lives better than themselves. The therapist is basically there to guide the sessions but the client decides which direction to take.

What is the miracle question in Solution-Focused Therapy? ›

The miracle question is a popular intervention in Solution-Focused Therapy. It asks the client to imagine and discuss a possible world where problems are removed and issues addressed (Strong & Pyle, 2009). The question may take various forms, such as asking the client, “Assume your problem has been solved.

How effective is the solution focused approach? ›

The authors concluded that there was strong evidence that solution-focused brief therapy was an effective treatment for behavioural and psychological conditions, and it might be shorter and less costly than alternative treatments.

How long is solution focused therapy? ›

On average, solution-focused brief therapy takes about five sessions, each of which need be no more than 45 minutes long. It rarely extends beyond eight sessions and often only one session is sufficient.

What is the difference between CBT and solution focused therapy? ›

Thus, while CBT therapists focus on helping clients change their faulty thinking (Beck, 1979, 1995), SFBT therapists do not try to find or change faulty thinking; their goal is to help clients articulate the details of their desired future (Pichot & Dolan, 2003).

When would you use solution focused therapy? ›

Solution-Focused Therapy is currently used for most emotional and mental health problems that other forms of counseling are used to treat, such as:
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Self-esteem.
  • Personal stress and work-related stress.
  • Substance abuse/ addiction.
  • Relationship problems.
25 Jan 2021

What techniques are used in solution focused therapy? ›

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT Techniques)
  • State your desire for something in your life to be different.
  • Envision a miracle happening, and your life IS different.
  • Make sure the miracle is important to you.
  • Keep the miracle small.
  • Define the change with language that is positive, specific, and behavioral.
22 Oct 2019

Is solution focused therapy strength based? ›

Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a strengths-based approach to working with children and families. It emphasises positive attributes and behaviours and how these can be applied to overcome difficulties. SFBT focuses on “life without the problem” rather than a detailed analysis of the problem itself.

Who is solution focused therapy not good for? ›

Because solution focused therapy is goal oriented, some critics say it discourages speculation about why problems arise. For this reason, solution focused therapy may not be recommended for those with severe mental health concerns.

What are the five principles of solution based approach? ›

§ Change is inevitable, change is a continuous process; stability is an illusion; the question is not whether but when change will occur; also talking about successes in the past, present and future is helpful.

What are solution-focused questions? ›

These are questions that help clarify what the desired outcome of a situation is. Questions like “what does the desired situation look like?” , “would you like instead of the problem?” , “what does success look like?” The what's better question. Refocuses back on what the progress has been so far.

What are the key assumptions of solution-focused counseling? ›

Assumptions about service users

Every client is unique. Clients come to us with resources and strengths, both personal and in their social network. All clients have the ability to find their own solutions to the difficulties that they have. You cannot change clients; they can only change themselves.

Who is the founder of solution focused therapy? ›

Steve de Shazer who, along with Insoo Kim Berg, co-founded the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) approach, recently passed away. In this article we will offer a brief biographical sketch and then discuss the current state of the art of SFBT as it applies to practice, training, and research.

Is solution focused therapy pragmatic? ›

The solution focused approach to therapy is attractive due to its brevity, precision, and pragmatism. The main developers of this school of thought are Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer. Its emphasis is on the solution and the future instead of the problem causes that are present in the past.

What is an exception question in Solution Focused Therapy? ›

Exception questions focus on who, what, when and where. (the conditions that helped the exception to occur) - NOT WHY; exceptions should be related to client goals. • Are there times when you have been able to express your anger without hurting.

Is solution focused therapy humanistic? ›

Solution focused brief therapy takes on a humanistic approach and focuses on self development, growth and responsibility.

When was solution focused therapy developed? ›

SFBT was developed in the 1970s and 1980s by husband and wife Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg at the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Unlike many traditional forms of psychotherapy, SFBT is not based on any single theory.

What is the therapist role in solution-focused therapy? ›

The therapist 's role is to see a person as more than their problem, to look for resources rather than deficits, to help clients identify goals or 'preferred futures, ' to identify and amplify existing strengths and resources, and to identify and make use of 'exceptions to the rule.

What is a difficult client in therapy? ›

Therapy is much more difficult with coerced, reluctant, or challenging clients. These are typically clients who are not necessarily ready to make a change in their life, but have been forced to do so by the court system, the child welfare system, or their spouse or significant other.

What is the view of human nature in solution-focused therapy? ›

​ View of human nature: Humans have strengths and are competent, once the client recognizes it one is able to solve their problem. "There are exceptions to every problem, or times when the problem was absent.

What is the magic wand question in therapy? ›

There are different versions of the Magic Wand Question, but it essentially asks: “Suppose tonight, while you slept, all your problems were solved. When you awake tomorrow, what would be some of the things you would notice that would tell you life had suddenly gotten better?

Are there any problems with using the miracle question technique? ›

Our experience is that students learning to use the miracle question often have problems making the question interactional when asking the question to couples and families and have problems knowing how to expand the question to allow clients to create a vision of a life after the miracle.

What is Gestalt therapy? ›

Gestalt therapy is a form of psychotherapy that is centered on increasing a person's awareness, freedom, and self-direction. It's a form of therapy that focuses on the present moment rather than past experiences. Gestalt therapy is based on the idea that people are influenced by their present environment.

What is the difference between solution focused therapy and problem solving therapy? ›

The problem-focus would build on first order change elements: more working the same way. The solution-focus would build on second order change elements: finding a way to work differently.

What is solution-focused thinking? ›

Solution focused thinking or a solution focused approach holds that as problems do not happen all of the time, a positive way of working is to discover what is working well and then to do more of it.

What is a solution focussed approach? ›

What is solution-focused practice? Solution-focused practice concentrates on helping people move towards the future that they want and to learn what can be done differently by using their existing skills, strategies and ideas – rather than focusing on the problem.

Is solution focused brief therapy good for anxiety? ›

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is an effective treatment approach for youth managing anxiety.

What is meant by solution focused Counselling? ›

Solution-focused therapy (SFBT) also known as solution-focused brief therapy or brief therapy, is an approach to psychotherapy based on solution-building rather than problem-solving. While it acknowledges present problems and past causes, SFBT predominantly explores an individual's current resources and future hopes.

What is solution focused family therapy? ›

Solution focused family therapy, sometimes called solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), like the name suggests, is a psychotherapeutic approach to family therapy and mental health that focuses on building solutions rather than solving problems.

Is Solution Focused Therapy Cognitive? ›

Solution Focused Therapy vs.

SFT differs from CBT in several ways. While SFT puts minimal time into describing the presenting problem and instead focuses upon possible solutions, CBT requires a clear, detailed description of the problem(s).

How long does brief therapy last? ›

Brief therapies usually consist of more (as well as longer) sessions than brief interventions. The duration of brief therapies is reported to be anywhere from 1 session (Bloom, 1997) to 40 sessions (Sifneos, 1987), with the typical therapy lasting between 6 and 20 sessions.

What is solution focused hypnotherapy? ›

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a collaborative process and it's designed to reduce anxiety, calm the mind and support you. Using a powerful combination of psychotherapy and hypnosis, clients are able to make changes in a relatively short period of time.

What type of theory is solution focused therapy? ›

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a short-term goal-focused evidence-based therapeutic approach, which incorporates positive psychology principles and practices, and which helps clients change by constructing solutions rather than focusing on problems.

What is Solution therapy and what does it involve? ›

What is Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)? Solution Focused Therapy is squarely focused on a person's present and future circumstances and goals rather than past experiences. It is a goal-oriented therapy cognitive therapy where the symptoms or issues bringing a person to therapy are typically not targeted.

How can a solution-focused approach be useful for clients with mental health issues? ›

Turning the focus towards solutions rather than elaborating problems offers hope and optimism at times when clients feel overwhelmed, hopeless, or have become 'stuck'. There are times when the solution-focused approach is not appropriate, particularly for young people with complex problems.

What is the best Counselling technique? ›

Effective Techniques Used by Counselors
  • Reflecting thoughts. Begin by showing the client that they have been heard and understood.
  • Helping clients challenge themselves. ...
  • Challenges should not be put-downs. ...
  • Avoiding strong challenges. ...
  • Avoiding threats. ...
  • Leaving the client responsible. ...
  • Neither overdoing nor avoiding challenges.
17 Sept 2021

What are the disadvantages of a strengths-based approach? ›

Strengths-Based Coaching Can Actually Weaken You
  • 1) There's no scientific evidence that it works. ...
  • 2) It can give people a false sense of competence. ...
  • 3) It leads to resources being wasted on C and D players. ...
  • 4) Overused strengths become toxic. ...
  • 5) It doesn't address the real problem workplaces face.
4 Jan 2016

What are some weaknesses of a counselor? ›

The Disadvantages of Being a Counselor
  • Erratic Schedule. While most counselors offer their services on a regular hourly schedule, you may need to handle emergencies or other client-based issues after hours, on weekends or at night. ...
  • Emotionally Demanding. ...
  • Liabilities of Owning a Business. ...
  • Tax Issues. ...
  • Insurance Issues.
14 May 2021

What is a solution focused approach in social work? ›

Solution-focused practice concentrates on helping people move towards the future that they want and to learn what can be done differently by using their existing skills, strategies and ideas – rather than focusing on the problem. This approach treats the child or young person as the expert on their own life.

What is solution-focused brief approach? ›

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a short-term goal-focused evidence-based therapeutic approach, which incorporates positive psychology principles and practices, and which helps clients change by constructing solutions rather than focusing on problems.

What are the key concepts of solution focused therapy? ›

Key concepts of Solution-Focused Therapy are illustrated by techniques, including: basic assumptions; the miracle question; exception questions; scaling questions and; presupposing change. Several key concepts underlie Gestalt therapy, many of which are similar to that of person-centred and existential therapy.

What are the five principles of solution based approach? ›

§ Change is inevitable, change is a continuous process; stability is an illusion; the question is not whether but when change will occur; also talking about successes in the past, present and future is helpful.

What is solutions focused approach? ›

What is solution-focused practice? Solution-focused practice concentrates on helping people move towards the future that they want and to learn what can be done differently by using their existing skills, strategies and ideas – rather than focusing on the problem.

How long is Solution-Focused Therapy? ›

On average, solution-focused brief therapy takes about five sessions, each of which need be no more than 45 minutes long. It rarely extends beyond eight sessions and often only one session is sufficient.

Is Solution-Focused Therapy strength based? ›

Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a strengths-based approach to working with children and families. It emphasises positive attributes and behaviours and how these can be applied to overcome difficulties. SFBT focuses on “life without the problem” rather than a detailed analysis of the problem itself.

Who uses solution-focused brief therapy? ›

Solution-Focused Therapy is currently used for most emotional and mental health problems that other forms of counseling are used to treat, such as: Depression. Anxiety. Self-esteem.

What is the difference between CBT and solution focused therapy? ›

Thus, while CBT therapists focus on helping clients change their faulty thinking (Beck, 1979, 1995), SFBT therapists do not try to find or change faulty thinking; their goal is to help clients articulate the details of their desired future (Pichot & Dolan, 2003).

What are solution-focused questions? ›

These are questions that help clarify what the desired outcome of a situation is. Questions like “what does the desired situation look like?” , “would you like instead of the problem?” , “what does success look like?” The what's better question. Refocuses back on what the progress has been so far.

How does change occur in solution focused therapy? ›

Theory of Change

SFBT therapists focus on small steps to reach changes. The goals for change are focused on the interactions with others, situational terms, and should be meaningful to the client (Corey, 2013). Goal setting is a way of starting the solution work to the problem.

What are the stages of solution focused therapy? ›

Solution-focused approach

The goal: (1) vision from the present and the future, (2) what client is doing now for the goal, (3) the goal is related to the outcome, to client's wishes, (4) positive details of client's future, (5) specific steps, (6) action plan in detail.

Where did Solution Focused Therapy come from? ›

The origins of Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) date back to the early 1980s and the Brief Family Therapy Centre in Milwaukee, USA, where Steve de Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg and colleagues explored how best to facilitate change in people's lives.

Is solution focused therapy pragmatic? ›

The solution focused approach to therapy is attractive due to its brevity, precision, and pragmatism. The main developers of this school of thought are Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer. Its emphasis is on the solution and the future instead of the problem causes that are present in the past.

What are solution-focused interventions? ›

Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) is a strength-based approach to psychotherapy based on solution-building rather than problem-solving. Unlike other forms of psychotherapy that focus on present problems and past causes, SFBT concentrates on how your current circumstances and future hopes.

Is solution-focused therapy humanistic? ›

Solution focused brief therapy takes on a humanistic approach and focuses on self development, growth and responsibility.

What is coaching in solution-focused therapy? ›

Solution-focused coaching focuses on the solution, not the problem. Instead of focusing on problems, solution-focused coaches help their clients focus on achieving goals and improving their overall sense of fulfillment, confidence and wellbeing.

Videos

1. What is Solution Focused Therapy?
(e-Psychotherapy Podcasts)
2. Two Things You Can Do To Stop Ruminating
(Dr. Tracey Marks)
3. Moving from Problem Obsessed to Solution Focused
(Sarah McVanel)
4. Solution Focused Brief Therapy - 'As if' - a delicate balance
(Evan George and the Solution Focused approach)
5. Short Term 'V' Long Term Therapy | The Therapy Show
(Bob Cooke)
6. AI in Health: Applications, challenges, limitations, moonshots
(BIOTOPIA Naturkundemuseum Bayern)

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