The Evolution of a Psychologist in Solution-Focused Brief Therapy


SolutionsLast week I was at the annual Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association (SFBTA) conference in Albany. As usual, it was an incredible few days. Terri Pichot, a psychotherapist from Colorado and a board member of the association, talked about three levels of integration of solution-focused ideas that can take place as people learn about SFBT. Here’s my understanding of what she said:

The toolbox approach: Terri talked about how, when people are first learning solution-focused ideas, they believe they are a set of techniques to use and incorporate into their toolbox. The miracle and scaling questions are pulled out of this toolbox along with several other tools depending on the “problem”. Many people add to this toolbox from many therapy orientations throughout their professional lives and believe that this is a valuable way to work with their clients.

Solution-focused brief therapists: As some people continue their learning and thinking about solution focused brief therapy (SFBT), the assumptions or philosophies behind the approach can take on more importance and ideas about ‘technique’ can disappear. Therapists slow down, are more intentional about the questions they ask, and collaborate with their customers to do what works. SFBT becomes the way to approach counselling, coaching, or management.

The solution-focused way of life: This is like solution-focused nirvana. Terri describes someone who approaches every relationship—professional and personal—in a solution-focused way as living a solution focused life. Many can work at achieving this level for many years without fully getting there.

Comments are welcomed!! What do you think? Do you agree with this idea of levels of solution focused integration? Has there been an evolution in your conceptualization of solution focused ideas in this way, or has it looked different? What’s been helpful to you in growing your SFBT skills? What are some ways you can continue to grow your understanding of the assumptions and the approach?

I would love to hear from you!! Please leave a comment below…