Solution Based Problem Solving

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Creators Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg noticed that most therapy sessions were spent discussing symptoms, issues, and problems (Good Therapy, 2016).

De Shazer and Berg saw an opportunity for quicker relief from negative symptoms in a new form of therapy that emphasized quick, specific problem-solving rather than an ongoing discussion of the problem itself.

These patterns dictate an individual’s usual way of experiencing a problem and his or her usual way of coping with problems (Focus on Solutions, 2013).

The solution-focused model holds that focusing only on problems is not an effective way of solving them.

Indeed, SFBT works on the assumption that every individual has at least some level of motivation to address their problem or problems and to find solutions that improve their quality of life (Psychology Today, n.d.).

This motivation on the part of the client is an essential piece of the model that drives SFBT.You are hoping to convey to the other meeting attendees the impact of the problem, and the importance of buying a new widget-producing machine.You give a comprehensive overview of the problem and how it is impacting production.Imagine this scenario: You work at a company that produces widgets.You’re at an important business meeting, and you’re there to discuss some problems your company is having with its production.The word “brief” in solution-focused brief therapy is key.The goal of SFBT is to find and implement a solution to the problem or problems as soon as possible to minimize time spent in therapy and, more importantly, time spent struggling or suffering (Antin, 2016).At the meeting, you explain what’s causing the problems: The widget-producing machine your company uses is getting old and slowing down.The machine is made up of hundreds of small parts that work in concert, and it would be much more expensive to replace each of these old, worn-down parts than to buy a new widget-producing machine.The problems it can address are wide-ranging, from the normal stressors of life to high-impact life events.The only realm in which SFBT is generally not recommended is that of the more extreme mental health issues, such as schizophrenia or major depressive disorder (Antin, 2016).


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