Solutions Focused Therapy

Solutions Focused Therapy

Solutions-Focused Therapy uses many effective methods to help you achieve your goals in therapy. Some of these methods include the following:

The Miracle Question: This is a method of questioning that a coach, therapist, or counselor uses to aid the client to envision how the future will be different when the problem is no longer present. Also, this may help to establish goals.

A traditional version of the miracle question would go like this: "Suppose our meeting is over, you go home, do whatever you planned to do for the rest of the day. And then, sometime in the evening you get tired and go to sleep. In the middle of the night, when you are fast asleep, a miracle happens and all the problems that brought you here today are solved just like that. But since the miracle happened over night nobody is telling you that the miracle happened. When you wake up the next morning how are you going to start discovering that the miracle happened? ... What else are you going to notice? What else?"

There are many different versions of the miracle question, depending on the context and the client. In a specific situation, the counselor may ask, "If you woke up tomorrow, and a miracle happened so that you no longer easily lost your temper, what would you see differently? What would the first signs be that the miracle occurred?" The client (a child) may respond by saying, "I would not get upset when somebody calls me names." The counselor wants the client to develop positive goals, or what they will do, rather than what they will not do--to better ensure success. So, the counselor may ask the client, "What will you be doing instead when someone calls you names?

Scaling Questions: Scaling questions are used to identify useful differences for the client and may help to establish goals as well. Visual aides, such as a picture of a large thermometer, are often used with children. The client will be asked "what will it take for you to go from a 4 to a 5." The client will describe what behaviors would accomplish this -thus, determining what s/he will do next.

Exception Finding Questions: Proponents of SFBT insist that there is always an exception to when a problem occurred. The counselor seeks to encourage the client to descibe what was different or what the client did differently. The goal is for the client to repeat what has worked in the past, and help gain confidence in making improvements for the future.

Coping Questions: Coping questions are designed to elicitinformation about client resources that will have gone unnoticed by them. Even the most hopeless story has within it examples of coping that can be drawn out: "I can see that things have been really difficult for you, yet I am struck by the fact that, even so, you manage to get up each morning and do everything necessary to get the kids off to school. How do you do that?" Genuine curiosity and admiration can help to highlight strengths without appearing to contradict the clients view of reality. The initial summary "I can see that things have been really difficult for you" is for them true and validates their story. The second part "you manage to get up each morning etc.", is also a truism, but one that counters the problem focused narrative. Undeniably, they cope and coping questions start to gently and supportively challenge the problem-focused narrative.

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