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Solution focused therapy

Author : Mirte Verkuijlen

Last update: 19 november 2021
With solution-focused therapy, you don’t just look at a problem, you go straight for the solution. From there, you figure out the best way to get to this solution. Read on to learn more about solution-focused therapy.

An overview of this article

  1. What is solution-focused therapy?
  2. When should you use solution-focused therapy?
  3. How does solution-focused therapy work?
  4. Is solution-focused therapy covered on my health insurance?
  5. Where can I find a good therapist and how can they help me?

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What is solution-focused therapy?

The name says it all really: Solution-focused therapy focuses on finding possible solutions to your problem. With this type of therapy, you don’t over-analyze your problems, instead you get straight to the point: What’s the best solution for you? In this form of therapy, you are considered to be the expert on your own problems. Together with a psychologist, you’ll work through your own challenges.

Solution-focused therapy is a condensed, time-bound, and goal-oriented form of therapy. The goal is to get you started on dealing with your own problem in your own way, and with the help of those around you.

When should you use solution-focused therapy?

This type of therapy will benefit you if you sometimes struggle to solve your own problems, or if you find your problems difficult to manage. Solution-focused therapy isn’t suitable for every type of problem, but you can use it for things such as:

  • Burnout
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Family therapy
  • Couples therapy

During a consultation, a psychologist will give you appropriate advice and explain if solution-focused therapy is a good option for you. Solution-focused therapy is often combined with more problem-oriented therapies, including behavioral therapy and EMDR.

How does a solution-focused method of treatment work?

Solution-focused therapy all starts with the miracle question:

“If some kind of miracle solved all of your problems, what would be different for you?” 

A therapist will formulate the question in such a way that you’ll start thinking outside the box. As a result, your problem-solving abilities improve and you gather practical information about how you can make positive changes for yourself.

Next, the psychologist will ask you some scaling questions. This allows them to learn more about you and to verify if the treatment is proving effective. Here are some commonly used scaling questions [1]:

  • If the goal you want to achieve is a 10 and 0 is the opposite, where are you on that scale right now?
  • How did you arrive at that number?
  • What would a higher number look like?
  • So, what do you need to do differently?
  • And how can you gain an extra point?
  • Who or what could help you with this?

These questions all focus on making progress. By finding your own answers to these questions, you make it clear what your goal is and what you need to work on.

Identifying coping strategies

‘Coping’ is the way in which you deal with a problem. How have you handled problems in the past? What has helped you in the past? And can you use this person, things, or activities again to solve your current issue? Your psychologist will go over coping strategies with you and together you can come up with ideas for things you can currently do on your own.

Basic principles of the solution-focused method

The following principles are important in solution-focused therapy:

  • You do what works
  • A complete problem-analysis is not necessary to get to the solution
  • You determine your own goal(s)
  • People are competent. You have permission to be hopeful and confident that your goals are attainable and that you can reach a solution on your own
  • The focus is on the future
  • Change is inevitable. You can’t go back to how it was, and even if you do nothing, time will still pass. A solution-focused approach makes the likelihood of a positive outcome much greater [1]
  • You take a step-by-step approach
  • Your progress is tracked to keep your confidence and motivation high

Is solution-focused therapy covered on my health insurance?

It depends on your health insurance company and the problem in question as to whether or not solution-focused therapy will be covered by your insurance and how much it will cost. iPractice has agreements with all major health insurance providers.

Where can I find a good therapist and how can they help me?

Do you have any questions about solution-focused therapy? Or would you like to speak to a psychologist? At iPractice finding a solution to your problem is always the focus. iPractice is there for you whenever you need us, wherever you are. Then call us on 0851 308 900. Together, we can see if solution-focused therapy is a suitable solution for you. We’ll make sure you receive appropriate support and expert treatment.

Author : Mirte Verkuijlen

Psychologist

“Instead of focusing on the problem, we focus on what is going well. That way we make use of your strengths and resources.“

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