Ultimate Guide to Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

Meta: Discover the most effective solution-focused brief therapy models with this comprehensive guide to Solution Focused Brief Therapy. Get clear tips & strategies to make the most of solution focused therapy, now!


Brief Solution-Focused Therapy is a powerful form of psychotherapy designed to make a big difference fast.

Instead of trying to understand and analyze issues from the past, it lets you and your therapist work together to find positive solutions.

The goal of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is to ask direct questions about current situations, celebrate small victories, and identify desired outcomes instead of dwelling on the past.

This way, you can make profound changes in their lives by taking actionable steps.

You’ll learn about the core components, steps to get started, advanced tips, and accessible resources for Solution-focused Brief Therapy in this guide.

What is Solution-Focused Brief Therapy?

SFBT helps people shift their focus from their problems onto solutions. It is based on the idea that positive change comes from focusing on what’s already working.

In this kind of therapy, the focus is more on the future, rather than the past, and you are encouraged to use your strengths as resources and set realistic, achievable goals with tangible rewards.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy works by quickly engaging you in building a positive solution frame, identifying resources that may help, and recognizing and fostering your capacity to guide their own lives.

A therapeutic model like this has been found to be effective for a lot of different things, including mental illness, relationship issues, addiction recovery, work-related topics, and other behaviors.

Instead of heavy discussions about what isn’t working, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy supports small changes through concrete actions.

Instead of bringing up uncomfortable topics, the process emphasizes personal capabilities and problem-solving skills.

Some basic core concepts within this approach often involve mental health professional doing the following with you: 

  1. Asking questions about times when things have worked out well for you.
  2. Constructing possible scenarios in your mind of future success taking place.
  3. Understanding your view on self-responsibility throughout the process.
  4. Setting specific goals with you rather than making broad conclusions or plans.
  5. Tracking your progress along the way by rewarding your small achievements.

This therapy model emphasizes language: you and your therapist come up with succinct statements to keep things moving towards a positive inner dialogue. Examples include rephrasing pessimistic views or figuring out patterns that aren’t obvious at first but need to be explored later.

You can get to realizations without rehashing hard past experiences or sifting through heavy emotions – great for people with limited time or resources or having trouble processing trauma.

Why is Solution-Focused Brief Therapy Important?

With Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), people can create lasting change in their lives by focusing on solutions instead of problems. It helps with psychological symptoms, but also fosters your interpersonal growth.

Success Stories: Examples of SFBT’s Effectiveness in Real-World Situations

One woman struggling with severe depression found new hope through reframing her outlook on

By recognizing and changing her negative self-talk, one woman struggling with severe depression found new hope and was able to take proactive steps towards healing.

This short-term intervention uses reflective motivation and positive reinforcement to address issues like eating disorders and youth violence.

Education and healthcare providers around the world use SFBT as an evidence-based intervention model.

What Are the Key Benefits of Brief Therapy Models?

  1. Goal-oriented: Working on specific objectives and staying focused on the present, instead of dwelling on the past.
  2. Results driven: Showing tangible progress and improvement that is achievable in a short timeframe.
  3. Empowerment: Allowing individuals to take charge of their own therapy through self-reflection and understanding of the best paths to reach their goals.
  4. Actionable tools: Offering practical resources for day-to-day life, such as communication exercises and problem solving techniques to help individuals create positive changes in their lives.

In Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), people can focus on how they’ll succeed over how they’ve failed in the past, which helps them achieve their mental health goals.

SFBT also focuses on what has already been accomplished toward the desired outcome and encourages people to build on those achievements while keeping track of their progress, even if it seems minimal at first.

Traditional psychotherapy can be difficult because of potential blame from past experiences or situations outside of one’s control. This form of therapy helps people take responsibility for both successes and failures.

With SFBT’s empowerment-based model, you become a proactive agent in your life, which leads to being emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically healthy.

How to Get Started With Solution Focused Therapy

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a short-term intervention that focuses on solutions, not problems, to help individuals reach their goals. Here are some simple steps to get started:

  1. Identify the desired outcome: The first step in any successful SFBT therapy session is for both the patient and practitioner to define what they want out of the session. This is often referred to as “copying down the miracle question” – or writing down what success looks like for them in detail.
  2. Determine resources: After identifying the main goal, it is important to list available resources and skills that can be used to achieve this goal – including personal knowledge and networks of support.
  3. Explore exceptions: Once resources have been identified, look for times when these resources were used successfully in the past, even if just briefly. Examining unique situations gives insight into different ways of achieving success going forward.
  4. Generate and explore possibilities: Possibilities are open-ended questions and ideas that could lead toward progress towards their desired outcome if implemented effectively. Exploring together carefully can lead toward finding a wide range of solution-focused approaches to existing challenges.
  5. Outline achievable processes: To ensure progress continues over time, generate an actionable plan by breaking down achievable steps on a timeline towards accomplishing the desired outcome(s). My Therapy Buddy’s FREE tool can be used here as a valuable resource to getting started with SFBT as self-therapy.

A number of people with chronic mental illness have found relief from their symptoms with SFBT techniques. Without feeling overwhelmed by sadness and stress, they’ve been able to take control of their lives and get out of bed on time and manage relationships with family members.

Get started with SFBT techniques with My Therapy Buddy’s FREE tool. Using this tool alongside professional therapy can provide additional support when needed for long term sustainable results – offering hope for a better tomorrow!

Common Mistakes to Avoid With Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

When you’re struggling with your mental health, it can be difficult to properly implement and follow the wide variety of solution-focused approaches. This can lead to making some common mistakes.

Some of the common mistakes that people make when attempting to use SFBT include:

  1. Not setting concrete goals – When you’re going through SFBT therapy, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of what you’re trying to accomplish. You need measurable, achievable goals to keep yourself motivated.
  2. Not putting forth enough effort – The SFBT process works when you take active steps toward its goals. In other words, it’s best to apply all the skills learned in therapy in a real-world context, and not fall back on old coping mechanisms like substance abuse.
  3. Overlooking individualized approaches – Every person needs an individualized mental health treatment plan, including choosing the type of solution therapy model that’s right for them.
  4. Not seeking support from loved ones – Having supportive friends or family who understand and are willing to provide emotional support is also key.

SFBT can help people struggling with mental health overcome these potential pitfalls and make positive changes in their lives and build meaningful relationships with those around them.

Beth Mardell, one of many social workers, uses SFBT to help her clients find meaningful employment. This is after being out of work because of illness or other hardships in their lives.

With clearly defined goals, regular interaction and feedback, and collaboration with her clients, Beth has been able to form strong ties with her patients and help them achieve success.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Comparison

Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are both evidence-based therapies designed to help individuals bring about positive change in their lives.

While there are several similarities between the two types of therapy, there are also some crucial differences that should be considered when choosing a type of therapy.

Here’s a look at how SFBT and CBT compare:


  • Both SFBT and CBT aim to help people achieve happiness, satisfaction, and confidence by breaking destructive behavior cycles.
  • SFBT’s primary goal is to solve problems quickly while supporting you in an optimistic and collaborative environment.
  • CBT focuses on identifying how thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes impact behavior, helping replace negative patterns with more adaptive ones.


  • SFBT emphasizes what can be done right now, rather than analyzing the past or worrying about future issues.
  • CBT encourages you to consider situations from different perspectives, better controlling emotions and reactions when faced with difficulty.
  • CBT requires you to confront their thoughts head-on, unlike SFBT’s distraction techniques.

Time Frame:

  • CBT usually requires 6 to 12 months of long-term treatment.
  • SFBT treatment sessions are shorter, typically 1-3 therapy sessions designed to address specific goals.

Outcome Evaluation:

  • CBT relies heavily on subjective measures such as self-reports and patient surveys.
  • SFBT evaluates your progress through objective markers, such as changes noticed in current behavior or outlook by those around them.

Advanced Tips and Strategies for Solution Focused Therapy

  1. Acknowledge Progress: When dealing with mental health issues, it is important to acknowledge every step of progress a person has taken in their journey towards improved wellbeing. By celebrating each small milestone, a person struggling with their mental health can find inner strength and motivation to keep going.
  2. Improve Self-Talk: When it comes to mental health, self-talk can have a huge impact on how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. It is vital for people facing these challenges to replace negative thoughts with more supportive and uplifting statements that lead to better overall well-being.
  3. Establish Positive Habits: Making small lifestyle changes can make all the difference when trying to manage poor mental health. Establishing positive habits such as regular exercise, healthy eating or mindfulness can help people struggling with poor mental health see improvements over time in both their physical and mental state of being.
  4. Prioritise Coping & Relaxation Techniques: Life’s demands can often be overwhelming even if optimal conditions are attained during one’s recovery process from poor mental health condition, Slow down and be gentle – relaxation activities such as breathing exercises or yoga might help cope better when needed most Coping techniques not only helps managing ongoing stress but also alleviates destructive cognitive patterns associated with depression, anxiety etc.
  5. Build Resilience: Building resilience means learning how to handle daily setbacks positively rather than letting them overwhelm us; this includes resetting our expectations of success and learning to accept mistakes and embrace life “in the moment” rather than ruminating about what could have been done differently in hindsight tasks related to solution focused brief therapy may help build resilience like goal setting, problem solving etc

Remember, managing mental health is an ongoing process that requires a combination of different strategies. 

By celebrating small milestones and making positive lifestyle changes, individuals can gain inner strength and motivation to keep going. It is also essential to prioritize coping and relaxation techniques and to build resilience to handle setbacks positively.

With these advanced tips, we hope it can become easier to work towards a better mental state of being. 🙂

In Sum

Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a goal-directed approach to therapy that is designed to help you find solutions to their problems in a short period of time. The key points of SFBT are as follows:

  1. Developing structured goals and aspirations: One of the primary goals of SFBT is to help you develop clear and specific goals that they want to achieve. These goals should be realistic, achievable, and focused on the future rather than dwelling on past events or situations that are out of their control. The therapist helps you identify what they want to achieve and how they can work towards achieving it.
  2. Focus on changing behavior: SFBT emphasizes changing behavior instead of focusing on past events or situations. The focus is on what you can do in the present to achieve their goals, rather than trying to understand why they may have ended up in their current situation. The therapist works with you identify behaviors that are keeping them stuck and encourages them to try new behaviors that can help them achieve their goals.
  3. Focusing on developing achievable, realistic outcomes: SFBT uses solution-focused questioning techniques to help you identify achievable and realistic outcomes. These questions are designed to help you identify what they want to achieve and what steps they can take to get there. The therapist encourages you to think about how they can use their own resources to bring about positive change.
  4. Thinking about how positive change can be achieved with the help of your own resources: SFBT assumes that you have the resources they need to achieve their goals. The therapist helps you identify these resources and encourages them to use them to bring about positive change. The focus is on building on the your strengths and resources, rather than relying on outside sources to bring about change.
  5. Bringing about short-term, achievable gains: SFBT aims to bring about short-term, achievable gains by spending less time discussing symptoms and more time engaging in goal-focused conversations. The therapist helps you identify small steps they can take towards achieving their goals and encourages them to celebrate their successes along the way. Therapy approaches like this helps to build momentum and confidence, which can lead to long-term positive change.

SFBT is a self-empowering approach to mental health that allows individuals to actively participate in their healing process.

By focusing on personal action and agreed-upon outcomes, SFBT provides independence from scheduled clinical sessions while still achieving positive results. It can be used as a preventative measure or as part of an ongoing journey towards improving psychological health.

My Therapy Buddy’s FREE SFBT tool is a great starting point for self-therapy.

Investing in holistic mental well-being saves time and money and gives individuals the tools to create powerful change within themselves.

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