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Solution-focused brief therapy

  • Chris Iveson
Extract

Solution-focused brief therapy is an approach to psychotherapy based on solution-building rather than problem-solving. It explores current resources and future hopes rather than present problems and past causes and typically involves only three to five sessions. It has great value as a preliminary and often sufficient intervention and can be used safely as an adjunct to other treatments. Developed at the Brief Family Therapy Center, Milwaukee (de Shazer et al, 1986), it originated in an interest in the inconsistencies to be found in problem behaviour. From this came the central notion of ‘exceptions’: however serious, fixed or chronic the problem there are always exceptions and these exceptions contain the seeds of the client's own solution. The founders of the Milwaukee team, de Shazer (1988, 1994) and Berg (Berg, 1991; Berg & Miller, 1992), were also interested in determining the goals of therapy so that they and their clients would know when it was time to end! They found that the clearer a client was about his or her goals the more likely it was that they were achieved. Finding ways to elicit and describe future goals has since become a pillar of solution-focused brief therapy.

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References
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Berg, I. K. (1991) Family Preservation: A Brief Therapy Workbook. London: BT Press.
Berg, I. K. & Miller, S. (1992) Working with the Problem Drinker: A Solution Focused Approach. New York: Norton.
de Shazer, S. (1985) Keys to Solution in Brief Therapy. New York: Norton.
Berg, I. K. (1988) Clues: Investigating Solutions in Brief Therapy. New York: Norton.
Berg, I. K. (1994) Words were Originally Magic. New York: Norton.
Berg, I. K., Berg, I. K., Lipchik, E. et al (1986) Brief therapy: focused solution development. Family Process, 25, 207221.
George, E., Iveson, C. & Ratner, H. (1999) Problem to Solution: Brief Therapy with Individuals and Families. London: BT Press.
Hawkes, D., Marsh, T. & Wilgosh, R. (1998) Solution-Focused Therapy: A Handbook for Health Care Professionals. Oxford: Butterworth–Heinemann.
Hoyt, M. F. (1984) Single session solutions. In Constructive Therapies (ed. Hoyt, M. F.) New York: Guilford.
Jacob, F. (2001) Solution-Focused Recovery from Eating Distress. London: BT Press.
Lethem, J. (1994) Moved to Tears, Moved to Action: Brief Therapy with Women and Children. London: BT Press.
Lindforss, L. & Magnusson, D. (1997) Solution-focused therapy in prison. Contemporary Family Therapy, 19, 89104.
MacDonald, A. J. (1994) Brief therapy in adult psychiatry. Journal of Family Therapy, 16, 415426.
MacDonald, A. J. (1997) Brief therapy in adult psychiatry – further outcomes. Journal of Family Therapy, 19, 213222.
Miller, S., Hubble, M. & Duncan, B. (eds) (1996) Handbook of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Miller, W. R. & Rollnick, S. (1991) Motivational Interviewing: Preparing People to Change Addictive Behaviour. New York: Guilford Press.
O'Connell, B. (1998) Solution-Focused Therapy. London: Sage.
O'Hanlon, W. H. & Wilk, J. (1986) Shifting Contexts: The Generation of Effective Psychotherapy. New York: Guilford.
Rhodes, J. & Ajmal, Y. (1995) Solution-Focused Thinking in Schools. London: BT Press.
Selekman, M. (1993) Pathways to Change: Brief Therapy Solutions with Difficult Adolescents. New York: Guilford Press.
Selekman, M. (1997) Solution-Focused Therapy with Children. New York: Guilford Press.
Sharry, J. (2001) Solution Focused Groupwork. London: Sage.
Talmon, M. (1993) Single Session Solutions. New York: Addison-Werlely.
Weakland, J. H., Fisch, R., Watzlawick, P. et al (1974) Brief therapy: focused problem resolution. Family Process, 13, 141168.
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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 1355-5146
  • EISSN: 1472-1481
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
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Solution-focused brief therapy

  • Chris Iveson
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