Solution Focused Therapy (SFT): In Search of Solutions Part 2
One of the biggest advocates of Solution Focused Therapy has been Bill O’Hanlon. Bill has written 30 or so books, has appeared on Oprah, and is a frequent speaker on all things Solution Focused. One of his best books In Search of Solutions. I highly recommend this book.
This will be an eight-part series on Solution Focused Therapy with excerpts from Bill’s book. You can read Solution Focused Therapy Part 1 here. This is part two…
In Search of Solutions
A New Direction in Psychotherapy
Chapter 2: Challenging Assumptions
Furnishing Premises for Solution-Oriented Therapy
Common Assumptions of Most Contemporary Therapies
- Symptoms Serve Functions(28)
- The Assumption that symptoms serve functions.
- This idea, we contend, serves no purpose.
- Clients Are Ambivalent About Change and Resistant to Therapy(28)
- Fundamental belief that clients do not really want to change.
- Supports an adversarial model at times
- Focus on Identifying and Correcting Pathology and Deficits (30)
- Therapists often look for pathology under every possible rock. If you look for it long enough, you will surely find it.
- Beyond Belief(31)
- Beliefs therapists hold often influence the data and outcomes in therapy.
From Pathology to Health: The Assumptions of Solution-Oriented Therapy
- Since what you expect influences what you get, solution-oriented therapists maintain those presuppositions that enhance client-therapist cooperation, empower clients, and make our work more effective and enjoyable. (34)
- Change is Constant
- Through verbal and nonverbal means clients will be given the impression that it would be surprising if the presenting complaint were to persist. (35)
- The Therapist’s Job is to Identify and Amplify Change
- As therapists we help to create a particular reality by the questions we ask and the topics we choose to focus upon, as well as those we choose to ignore. In the smorgasbord of information supplied to us by our clients, we think it important to focus on what seems to be working, however small, to label it as worthwhile, and to work toward amplifying it. (37)
- Seeks a small change and enlarges upon it. (38)
- It is Usually Unnecessary to Know a Great Deal about the Complaint in Order to Resolve It
- Therapists often get stuck because they have too much information rather than too little. (38)
- It is Not Necessary to Know the Cause or Function of a Complaint to Resolve It
- Do not accept the belief that symptoms (what we call “complaints”) serve functions. (40)
- Knowing “why” one overeats rarely helps to curb appetites or change eating habits. (41)
- “Would it be enough if the problem were to disappear and you never understood why you had it?” (41)
- A Small Change Is All That Is Necessary; A Change in One Part of the System Can Affect Change in Another Part of the System
- A change in one part of the family leads to changes in other parts of the family. Likewise, a small change in one part of an individual’s life often creates a ripple effect in other areas. (42)
- Change appears to yield more change. (43)
- Clients Define the Goal
- Solution-oriented therapists don’t believe that there is any single “correct” or “valid” way to live one’s life. (43)
- Only in rare circumstances do we make alternate suggestions to our clients’ goals. (44)
- The meanings people attribute to behavior limit the range of alternatives they will use to deal with a situation. (48)