FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Solution-Focused Brief Therapy?
A: Solution-Focused Brief
Therapy is highly effective short term therapy
that, rather than focusing on problems, focuses
on clients’ goals, strengths and problem-solving
skills while reinforcing successful actions they
may already be doing to solve the problem.
Q: My problem has
been around a long time. Isn’t it going
to take a long time to fix?
A: Not really. Most problems
that have been around a long time continue because
we keep trying the same ineffective methods to
solve the problem By doing something different
we can quickly achieve significant long-term effects.
And these changes can be very small changes with
big results. As we already know, the definition
of insanity is doing the same thing over and over
and expecting different outcomes.
Q: I was in therapy
before and it didn’t help. What makes you
think you can help me?
A: I always ask clients
who have been in therapy before with unsatisfying
results what it was about counseling they didn’t
find helpful (because I don’t want to repeat
the same mistakes) and, more importantly, what,
if anything, they did find helpful (because if
it helped once, it will probably help again).
Too many therapists focus on problems. By focusing
on solutions and what works, chances are very
good we can solve the problem quickly and effectively.
Q: I have some goals
I’d like to accomplish in therapy. Will
we work on those?
A: Great! You’ve already
started solving the problem. If you like, we’ll
work on your goals together and then try some
things to accomplish them. If it works, we’ll
keep doing it. If not, we’ll try something
else (remember the definition of insanity). Remember,
you’re the expert on where you want to be,
my job is to help you get there.
Q: How long is brief
therapy and how will we know when we’re
A: Good question. There’s
no set time limit. Some problems resolve in one
session, others take longer. The best answer I’ve
come up with (and thousands of my clients confirm
this) is: 1.) What I’m doing is working.
2.) I’m reasonably confident if I keep doing
what I’m doing it will continue to work.
3.) I’m willing to keep doing it. My experience
has shown this to be a very realistic and accurate
Q: I’m tired
of talking about the problem. I know what it is.
How do I fix it?
A: I don’t blame you
one bit; I hate dwelling on problems too. While
it’s important to know what the problem
is, once we figure that out the important question
becomes how do we fix it (remember the second
question & answer?) If we focus on the problem,
we stay stuck in the problem. I’d rather
be stuck in the solution, wouldn’t you?
Q: My other therapist
said I need to get in touch with my feelings to
resolve past issues. I’d rather leave the
past in the past. Do we have to go there?
A: Certainly not! Understanding
the past and how it may have contributed to the
problem doesn’t tell us what we need to
do to solve the problem. Insight can be interesting
but it usually doesn’t lead to change. We
can change the way we do things and get better
outcomes without ever understanding the source
of the problem. And isn’t that what therapy
is about—to live happier, more fulfilling
Q: Isn’t Solution-Focused
Brief Therapy just an HMO conspiracy to avoid
paying for counseling?
A: Sounds like it, doesn’t
it? Not surprisingly, HMOs like short- term therapy
for obvious reasons, but the reality is that by
focusing on solutions rather than problems, Solution-Focused
Therapy works quickly and effectively. My goal
is not to keep clients in therapy but to get them
out of therapy and back to enjoying life without
unnecessary time and expense.
Q: Do you accept
A: Yes, I’m contracted
with most insurance plans as well as several Employee
Assistance Programs (see list above-right). Your
plan should be able to tell you if I’m on
their provider network. Or feel free to call me
at 520-325-2035 and I will check into it immediately.