How Can Solution-Focused Therapy Help You?

How Can Solution-Focused Therapy Help You?

Last update: 23 November, 2018

Solution-focused therapy allows you to find solutions to your problems rather than just dwelling on the problems themselves. Thus, it represents the study of solutions that have been successfully used to solve specific problems. This therapy aims to explore alternative solutions that you may not have considered in order to obtain good results.

We can define solution-focused therapy as the art of finding solutions to unsolvable problems through ordinary, routine, or more accessible logic. In many cases, therapists use resources that might go against all common sense. These resources offer previously inaccessible possibilities because they were hidden under rigid schemes.

Solution-focused therapy dictates that you don’t have to know much about the nature of the problems to solve them. Patients really want to change and have the right resources to do it.

The goals of solution-focused therapy

This therapy aims to find a new solution to a problem. It helps individuals use rational, logical, and analytical thinking in order to solve problems.

This is achieved by defining explicit therapy goals, studying previous attempts at solutions, looking for information about exceptions (moments in which the problem should arise but doesn’t), looking for alternative solutions, and applying new solutions.

“As therapists, we have a very clear duty. First, we get clarity within ourselves, and then we look for any sign of clarity in others and support and reinforce everything that is healthy in them.”

-Gregory Bateson-

Solution-focused therapy helps patients analyze the past while focusing on the present and future.

The premise of solution-focused therapy

All problems have a solution. This is the first premise of this approach. Many times we focus on applying the same solution to a problem. Remember the saying “Man is the only animal that trips twice over the same stone”.

Cognitively, going further and finding different solutions or finding things that work better has a high cost. Thus, we insist on applying the same strategies and obtain similar results.

On the other hand, if you ask a group of people for the solution to a particular problem, you’ll surely get as many solutions as people. This means that there’s always more than one way of doing things.

Sometimes, these solutions may seem unorthodox, informal, or may not even have a direct relationship with the problem. Therefore, people with a similar problem can come up with different solutions. Hence, the interest isn’t the problem, but rather the solution.

The important thing is to find what works

The emphasis lies in identifying what works in order to amplify these solution sequences. Thus, this therapy process focuses on solutions that have already been tried, as well as the exceptions (moments in which the problem is expected to arise but doesn’t).

Solution-focused therapy focuses on current problems, not past or future ones. You and your therapist analyze the problems you’re experiencing now. Analyzing the origin of these problems can inspire you to act.

Also, everyone has the necessary elements and skills to solve their problems. You don’t have to summon up anything you don’t already possess. Anything that you tried but didn’t end up solving the problem isn’t seen as a failure, but an opportunity to learn and improve.

“The focus of attention is not the problem, but its solution.”


Solution-focused therapy puts all the wheels in place to form an action plan.

You’re responsible for making a change

The patient is the one who has to apply these solutions. Therefore, it’s their responsibility to try and try again until they solve their problem. The psychologist won’t change the person’s reality, but will propose, intervene, and try to help them change their own situation.

In addition, the therapist helps patients analyze their situations in a context of determined interactions. Thus, a change in one person will mobilize the rest of the members of the system. Hence, one must contact the different people who are involved in the problem.

The therapeutic relationship involves respect and equality. The therapists adopt a posture of expectation. Respect arises in the sense of observing and analyzing the solutions to the problem and using common language in a relationship based on dialogue.

The therapist isn’t an expert who must offer a solution. The therapist is simply an accompanist. In this context, therapy acts as a communicative process. This means that it revolves around a dialogue in which the patient and therapist explore the solutions to the problem.

Solution-focused therapy has been applied in different areas. It proves effective, especially in those areas in which repetitive patterns of behavior pose a problem for the individual and resist traditional interventions.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.