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What is Solution Focused Brief Therapy?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Solution focused brief therapy, abbreviated as SFBT, is a type of goal oriented therapy in which a client will meet with a therapist for a relatively short period of time. The purpose of this therapy is for the client to identify what he or she wants her future to look like, and how she might go about achieving that. The therapy also seeks to focus on the positive things already occurring in the client's life; for example, the things he or she is already doing to achieve those goals, that he might not be aware of.

Rather than more extensive psychotherapy, which seeks to examine the root cause of feelings or behaviors in someone's life, solution focused brief therapy is more focused on the present, and how the future can be improved. The client is free to discuss his or her past, of course, but the therapist will often redirect the conversation to present day behaviors and emotions that can be modified based on goals for the future. In solution focused brief therapy, the client largely sets the direction of the therapy based on what he or she wants to achieve. If the client isn't entirely sure, this is something else that can be discussed and determined with the therapist.

Once the client determines his or her goals, the solution focused brief therapy will work to achieve those goals in a number of ways. One way involves identifying small steps and strategies that can be employed to achieve those goals; this may be in relation to personal self esteem, relationships, work, or any aspect of life that the clients wants to improve. In addition to coming up with new strategies, the client and therapist will work together to identify areas in which the client is already doing positive things. This will help to reinforce the behavior, and make it more likely to be continued in the future, and can also boost the client's perception of him or herself.

Specific methods used in solution focused brief therapy may vary, but it often involves the therapist asking the client a number of specific questions intended to get him or her to realize how to change, and how to reach certain goals. The therapy is based on positive actions rather than a great deal of theoretical discussion. Many people find it to be a very helpful way of increasing self awareness, changing negative behaviors, and becoming the person he or she wants to be.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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