Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is the ultimate treatment technique for the goal-oriented client. Rather than exploring past problems and pathologies, SFBT allows the client to pose a question or problem and work with the therapist to explore solutions and answers. The idea behind this approach is that the client innately knows what is needed to resolve his or her problems. Here, the therapist is a facilitator, not a solver.

The foundation of SFBT is goal setting. After clarifying what the client wants, the therapist questions the client as to what they hope to achieve through therapy and how the client anticipates their life will change if their problems were solved. This Socratic inquiry helps the client frame a plan of action. Indeed, one of the pivotal moments in SFBT is the so-called miracle question: “If a miracle happened while you slept tonight, what would be different in your life tomorrow?” This question opens the client’s mind to creative thinking, goal-setting, and plan creation that can lead to life-changing solutions.

Through a combination of question-and-answer techniques, rating scales, and words of encouragement, the therapist helps the client recognize their best qualities with an eye toward achieving resiliency in future endeavors. All this positivity conditions the client to focus on what they can do, not on what they can’t, allowing exponential progress in all areas of life—far beyond even the question at hand.