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Solution-focused brief therapy – also known as solution-focused therapy – is an approach to psychotherapy based on solution-building rather than problem-solving. Although it acknowledges present problems and past causes, it predominantly explores an individual’s current resources and future hopes – helping them to look forward and use their own strengths to achieve their goals.
As its name suggests, solution-focused brief therapy is considered a time-limited approach, however the technique is often incorporated into other long-term therapy types and effects can be long-lasting. It was developed in America in the 1980s by husband and wife team Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg, along with their team at the Brief Family Center. Together they founded the therapy on seven basic philosophies and assumptions.
- Change is both constant and certain.
- Emphasis on what is changeable and possible.
- Clients must want to change.
- Clients are the experts and outline their own goals.
- Clients have resources and their own strengths to solve and overcome their problems.
- Therapy is short-term.
- Focus on the future – history is not essential.
These concepts are key building blocks in the formation of the solution-focused approach.