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What is Solution-focused Therapy?. potted history

Solution-focused Therapy - A Potted History

Solution-focused therapy is a very effective therapy for helping people move forward from an issue. It is often mistaken for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy but it is different in that we  don't focus on the 'behaviour' aspect, we focus on making small changes so that the overall outcome is different. Solution-focused therapy is not Counselling, but it can sometimes start off or have elements that might feel as if it is. We still acknowledge the problem, but we look at what life would be like without the problem and we make small steps to change things, focusing on possibility. I like this approach and, personally, feel that it is more effective with people who have Autism and ADHD than CBT.

Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) was developed as a variant of Brief Therapy, an approach created by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg and colleagues at the Brief Family Therapy Centre in Milwaukee in 1978.

The solution focused approach was created in order to move away from the problem and look for times when the problem was happening less or not at all - it looked for the exception. In developing discussion around hopes for the future instead of trying to evaluate the problem behaviour, Solution Focused Therapy helps us to notice that even entrenched and chronic problems had times when they were less pronounced. The client, can therefore identify small changes that could take place in order to bring about change.

Solution focused therapy looks at changing the thought pattern - what would life be like if the problem was no longer there?
Solution focused therapy is tailored to move us out of a cycle of negativity.
Going over and over the problem isn't helping the problem.

Basic Philosophy and Assumptions of Solution-focused Practice


  • You are the experts and define your hopes
  • You have the resources and strengths to solve your problems
  • The future and possibilities are focused on
  • Emphasis is on what is possible and changeable
  • Therapy is brief, not long-term


What happens in a session?

In your sessions, we ackowledge that things in your life are perhaps not going as you would like them to. We look at the surrounding issues and we talk about what is going well. You pin-point small changes that you can make, so that you can move forward. Solution-focused therapy is about noticing what is going well rather than focusing on what isn't. It helps change the negative cycle and steer you towards a more positive end result and is especially effective for those who appear to be stuck in a rut and unable to move forward.

Please understand - just because it is solution focused it does not mean we don't talk about the problem - which is very similar to counselling in that respect - of course we can and we do, but we don't have to. If you are someone who does not want to talk about the problem but you do want to move forward, solution-focused thereapy is particularly effective. Not sure? Give it a try.

I've been to Counselling and it hasn't worked before, what makes you think that this is different?

It's different to Counselling because solution-focused therapy is about asking you to focus on where you would like to see yourself and how you might get there, rather than asking you to talk constantly about the problem. By looking in detail it helps you find the exceptions to times when you were not feeling so down or hopeless and uses those as a basis to moving forward. It doesn't matter if you struggle to do this - my job is to help you get there in your own time. If you are not local to West Berkshire, you can book a remote session using the booking system in the Location and Prices section.

Do you do Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

I use the Solution-focused approach as my preferred therapy but I am also trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy if you feel that this is something you would like to try.

What is the difference between Solution Focused Therapy and Cognitive Based Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy works through your thoughts, feelings and behaviours - looking at those that are unhelpful or unrealistic and how they affect you. We look at what how you can work through these thoughts and actions, and gradually replace unhelpful with more helpful. Solution focused therapy is a little like CBT (Cognitive Based Therapy) but often does not specifically focus on behaviour and what causes the behaviour. Instead, it asks you to look for times when the problem did not exist and what was happening differently - at how you could make small changes, and thus step into that preferred scenario.


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