Counseling Therapy Theories Solution Focused Brief Therapy Essay

Length: 6 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Psychology Type: Essay Paper: #97649973 Related Topics: Problem Solution, Personal Counseling Theory, Counseling Theory, Counseling
Excerpt from Essay :

Counseling Therapy Theories

Solution focused brief therapy (SFBT)

The solution focused brief therapy (SFBT) is a type of therapy that is used much in counseling and a lot of time referred to as talking therapy that is based on the social constructionist philosophy. This therapy focuses on the aim or goal of the customer rather than the problem that drove him to seek help. It does not focus on the past events but primarily pays attention to the future.

The SFBT at times referred to as solution-focused or solution-building therapy was initiated and developed by Steve Shazer (1940-2005) in collaboration with Insoo Kim Berg (1934-2007) and their colleagues from the late 1970's in Wisconsin. This therapy is future focused, focuses on the goals and the solutions rather than on the problem (Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy, 2011).

Here, it is the duty of the counselor to invite the client to try to imagine their preferred condition and future. This will enable the therapist to pick out the growth that the client may signal towards, be they small or large steps said by the client and build upon them to help move the client towards a positive thinking and perspective. The therapist will keep asking the clients about the strengths that they have, the resources at their disposal as well as the peculiar exceptions to the problem that can act to the advantage of the client.

Under this theory, the therapists believe that change has to be achieved. When these therapists aid the clients to see and point out the changes that they wish to have in their lives as well as giving attention to the current events in their lives that they wish to have continued for a long time, the counselors essentially aid these people to build a vision that is solid about and for them (Stephen M.L., 2011).

Once the therapist has been able to help the client identify the current happenings in their lives that they wish to see for a long time, the therapist will help them then see how their present can lead to the future that they would like to have.

The therapist will then help these clients move closer to their preferred future by bringing the small successes to their awareness and encouraging them to repeat more frequently these successful things in better times when the problem is not very visible as The Royal College of Psychiatrists, (2011) notes.

From the above, it can be noted that SFBT is a counseling approach that focuses on two issues mainly. Giving support to the clients to explore their preferred future, and discovering where, how, when and with whom these details as well as small parts of the wider preferred future is already happening.

Under this therapy, there is rampant use of questions that will help the client to imagine their future and how different it will be once the current challenges are over and at the same time these types of questions help the counselor to establish goals and objectives for the client, the questions are commonly referred to as 'the miracle question'. It needs a lot of skill to put across and there is need to give the client time to think through and give all the alternative answers..

In a short the SFBT has fundamental beliefs outlined as;

Change is always possible and is continuously happening in our environment. Individuals have the resources and the strength to resolve the challenges that come across their path. The counselor's work is to help the client identify the happening changes and help them fortify them. Majority of the challenges do not require massive gathering of information from the historical perspective to solve.

To solve a problem one does not need to know the cause. The little changes easily overlooked contribute to the bigger change finally. Clients are by wide and far the best people to deal with their challenges. Problem solutions can happen fast and quick and that there are always diverse means and perspectives to look at a situation (Cynthia Good Mojab, 2006).

Narrative therapy

This is a therapy model that was brought into popularity by Michael White and Epston David. As the name suggests, this therapy method focuses on the


& Combs, G. (1996).

The narrative helps the client to expose the life details hence giving them a chance to consider the relationships that exist between them and the problem, here the person is not considered the problem but the problem is an absolute and separate entity from the person. The externalization process also allows the person to show the strengths and the weaknesses that they have and as a result they construct the preferred identities (Narrative Therapy Centre, 2011).

The narrative technique widely holds it that the identity of an individual is shaped by the narratives whether these may be particular and unique to the individual or a culturally general narrative.

While telling their narratives, the narrative that has a high saturation of problems gains prominence at the expense of the preferred narrative as well as the alternative narratives, both of which are marginalized (Hermann A.P. & Louis S.A., 2011). Most of the time, the narratives that do marginalize the others are the culturally accepted and ones imbibed into the society like the narratives on Eurocentricity, patriarchy, capitalism, and psychiatry.

Fundamental differences between the two theories

In the application and use of the two theories discussed above, there are some fundamental differences that are evident. These are the variations that make the counselor choose one over the other depending on the situation that the counselor is handling or even the personality of the person;

The Narrative Therapy operates on the belief that the stories or the narratives are the fundamentals that shape the identity of the person and that the person assesses his life and finds the dominant story that forms the biggest problem or challenge that they are facing. On the other hand, the SFBT model does not rely on the past narratives as the fundamental for the individual's current and future life but on the handling of the present situation and future occurrences and how they will be handled to be the determinants of the future.

The Narrative Therapy believes in construction of documents and evidence from the past in a collaboration between the counselor and the client, while on the other hand, the SFBT believes in deconstruction of the past and not using it as a point of reference and indeed the counselor does very little of the determination of the clients' future but allows the client to visualize the future on their own.

The Narrative Therapy encourages the externalization of the problem so that the client can asses its effects in his life, the client understands how it operates in his life, he can relate his earliest history, assess the past problem and take a specific position about the presence of that problem and finally choose the way he relates to it.

On the other hand, the SFBT concentrates on helping the client see the present potential and the strengths that the client has ha din the past and then help the client relate to the successes that can come to the person in the future as a result of concentrate on the small successes that were in his life in the past, i.e. It helps the client to externalize the past successes and the present potentials so…

Sources Used in Documents:


Alan Car, (1998). Michael White's Narrative Theory, Contemporary Family Therapy. Human Sciences Press Inc.

Cynthia Good Mojab, (2006). Solution-Focused Brief Therapy. Retrieved September 6, 2011


Freedman, J. & Combs, G. (1996). Shifting paradigms: From systems to stories. In Freedman, J. & Combs, G., Narrative therapy: The social construction of preferred realities, chapter 1. New York: Norton.

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