What is Solution Focused Counselling?
Solution focused counselling focuses on solutions rather than the problems themselves. As such it highlights people’s strengths and competences instead of their perceived deficits, weaknesses and limitations.
This shift in paradigm is dramatically different from previous counselling techniques that concentrated on identifying problems and trying to explain their origins.
There are several assumptions that provide the framework of solution focused counselling.
- All people have strengths and inner resources to solve life’s challenges.
- “Change is one of life’s constants”. Not only is change possible it is always happening.
- The counsellor’s role in the therapy session is to help each client identify the change that is occurring and to help them increase that level of change.
- We do not need to know what caused a problem to be able to solve it.
- Change begins with small steps
- The client is the expert in their life.
- The person is not the problem, the problem is the problem
- If its not working, do something different
What are the benefits and potential risks of Solution Focused Counselling?
The primary benefit of solution focused counselling is that the client finds solutions to their problems. This can result in a reduction in the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression and interpersonal
relationships may improve. Another benefit of solution focused counselling is that the client and counsellor identify clear goals at the start. As a result of this the client and counsellor will both know what success looks like and therefore can easily identify when counselling is no longer required.
As with all forms of therapy, solution focused counselling can result in major life changes, such as a change in job, the beginning or ending of relationships etc. Major life changes such as these can be seen as a positive (a benefit) or as very difficult (a risk) by the client and/or the client’s friends, family, partner etc. However in the end it is the client’s decision what life changes they make.
O’Hanlon, W. and Weiner-Davis, M. In Search of Solutions: A New Direction in Psychotherapy. W. W. Norton
& Company, Inc.: New York 1989.
To find out more about Solution Focused Counselling click the link.