In most psychotherapeutic approaches, the fundamental objectives that are usually addressed throughout the sessions are usually the problems or difficulties suffered by the patient.
In contrast, solution-focused therapy (SCT) focuses primarily on solutions to those problems that have led the patient to seek professional help. Therefore, the way the psychotherapist intervenes during the sessions consists of cooperative work with the patient.
Next We will see what solution-focused therapy consists of. and what are its main characteristics.
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What is solution-focused therapy (SCT)?
Solution focused therapy is a therapeutic model that focuses primarily on reusing, in a more appropriate way, the solutions that patients have carried out to try to solve their problem. All this taking into account that said problem or difficulty is not causing discomfort at all times, but there are moments in which it does not appear or, at least, it occurs with less intensity, these moments being what is known in TCS as the “exceptions”.
This therapy It starts from the point of view of systemic family therapies, since it arises from the General Systems Theory where the client, your family and the interaction in therapy are conceptualized as systems. However, CST can also be used to conduct individual therapy sessions.
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Features of Solution Focused Therapy
The theoretical premises, on which the TCS is based, are those set out in this section.
1. Positive vision of the human being
First of all, solution-focused therapy is a therapy model with a positive vision of the human being, which Its fundamental premise is the fact that all people possess some kind of positive skills..
This means that any of the people has a series of personal qualities that they must take advantage of in the therapeutic process. Hence the name of the therapy as “solution-focused.”
These qualities or competencies are potentially seen as the solution to their problem and, therefore, TCS focuses on facilitating the conditions that favor change, without focusing so much on the problem itself.
Also conceives each person as unique and unrepeatablebeing also responsible for their own lives and perceives them as beings oriented to continually establish goals that they seek to fulfill.
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2. Constructivism as a starting point
For this therapy Relational constructivism is understood as the way in which each person constructs their own reality. That is to say, each person has their own particular way of conceiving the events that occur around them and the same event is perceived in a different way by each person and, in turn, each of those people constructs their own account of what happened. .
3. Antidiagnostic therapy
It should be noted that solution-focused therapy is another of the anti-diagnostic therapies, with a view that psychology should not standardize what is considered correct and what is not. His premise, above the diagnosis, is the fact that there is a person who is suffering and that is what you have to focus on; conceiving that said suffering is caused by a problem and it is on solving that problem that therapy should focus.
4. Systemic therapy
It is a systemic model that does not consider that it is the family that promotes the development of the problem through confrontational interactions between its members, but rather has a point of view from which The family is seen as a source of resources for the patient, its members being a support for the patient who seeks help in their process of change..
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5. The key is in the way people perceive problems
This therapy has a peculiar name to refer to the reason why people have problems, using the expression “shit happens” translated as “shit happens.” Which basically means that difficulties cannot be avoided throughout lifeit is the way we face those difficulties that magnifies them.
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6. He doesn’t try to change people
The goal of solution-focused therapy, as with its predecessor MRI, is not to fix people’s problems or try to change them, but to seeks to help people achieve their goals, using their own personal resources successfully to achieve them.
7. The therapist assumes the role of facilitator and not expert
The therapist assumes the idea that it should be the patient who must decide what is good for himself and what the therapist is in charge of, through his techniques, is to help the patient achieve his goals. This does it assuming a point of view of not knowing what is good for the patient, so that he is the one who must choose what he wants to achieve and how he thinks he should work for it.
Therefore, the therapist and patient, from CST, collaborate together and conceive of the patient as the expert in their problems and the therapist as the expert in helping them solve these problems. One way to help the patient is to discuss with him when in her life he has been closest to achieving her goals and what means are available to him to progress toward them.
It is because of that The therapist must have a very empathetic attitude with the patient, to discover the patient’s qualities and strengths that can help them achieve their goals, as well as be able to connect with their values; In addition, this attitude favors a solid therapeutic alliance that facilitates trust on the part of the patient in their therapist.
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Techniques used during the therapeutic process
These are some of the techniques most used by psychologists who follow the solution-focused therapy model.
1. Search for exceptions
This technique is used to ask the patient about the occasions in which the symptom or problem that causes discomfort does not appear. Is a future projection technique to negotiate the patient’s goals.
2. Propositional questions
It is a technique that is developed in the form of a question to the patient, to reflect on whether there are exceptional moments or if you have noticed improvements regarding your problem. The search for exceptions or progress regarding the patient’s problem is because these moments could be the key to finding solutions to their problem.
This resource is used in this therapeutic model in order to highlight what the patient is doing well and what helps them do itso you can be proud of yourself and motivated to progress towards your goals.
4. Scalar questions
It is one of the most representative techniques of solution-focused therapy, and It consists of asking the patient to rate a series of situations on a scale of 1 to 10. (e.g., severity with which you currently perceive your problem, degree of improvement with respect to the previous session, degree of improvement you anticipate could develop for the next session, etc.).
The objective of this technique is not to achieve a certain number on the scale, but to talk to the patient during the session about the responses they have made.
There are a series of Questions recommended by Beyebach, an expert in solution-focused therapyregarding the technique of scalar questions:
- Ask about what is going correctly so that you don’t score even lower.
- Ask what changes should occur so that you could move up one point on that scale.
- Ask what that moment would consist of when you have reached the maximum score on the scale.
5. Miracle questions
It consists of proposing to the patient to imagine a situation in which suddenly their problem has completely disappeared.as if it were a miracle, and is then asked to describe said situation.
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Brief historical review of this psychotherapy
The beginnings of solution-focused therapy date back to the 1980s, by Insoo therapists Kim Berg and her husband Steve de Shazer.who used the systemic model of the Mental Research Institute (MRI) of Palo Alto (California) and, based on this model, decided to develop a new therapeutic approach, solution-focused therapy.
This approach began to develop at the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee (United States) and, over the years, spread to the rest of the country, as well as Latin America and Europe.
The MRI model, predecessor to solution-focused therapy, influences SCT in the way of seeing the origin of the problems for which the patient seeks therapeutic help and these are normally crises or life transitions that are considered problems, when That person perceives them in this way, starting to try to solve them without being successful and continuing to try despite not having previously been successful.