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Solution-focused Therapy. “We must look for the opportunity in every difficulty, instead of being paralyzed at the thought of the difficulty in every opportunity.” Walter E. Cole. Assumption 1. Resistance is not a useful concept.

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solution focused therapy

Solution-focused Therapy

“We must look for the opportunity in every difficulty, instead of being paralyzed at the thought of the difficulty in every opportunity.”

Walter E. Cole

assumption 1
Assumption 1
  • Resistance is not a useful concept.
    • Resistance implies that the client does not want to change (De Shazer, 1984).
    • Carefully matching what we do therapeutically with the unique stage of readiness for change that the client is currently in helps to foster a cooperative relationship very rapidly (Prochaska, 1994).
    • Our clients want to cooperate with us; however, we have to be careful not to be resistant therapists!
resistance is not a useful concept
Resistance is not a useful concept.
  • “ I was returning from high school one day and a runaway horse with his bridle on sped past a group of us into a farmer’s yard, looking for a drink of water. I hoped on the horse’s back….Since he had a bridle on, I managed to take hold of the thick rein and said “Giddy up!”…headed for the highway. I knew the horse would turn in the right direction….I didn’t know what the right direction was. And the horse trotted and galloped along. Now and then he would forget he was on the highway and start into a field. So I would pull on him a bit and call his attention to the fact the highway was where he was supposed to be. And finally, about four miles from where I boarded him, he turned into a farm yard and the farmer said, “So that’s how that critter came back! Where did you find him”? I said “About four miles from here.” “How did you know you should come here?” I said, I didn’t know, the horse knew…all I did was keep his attention on the road.
  • Erickson (in Gordon & Meyers-Anderson, 1981, p. 166)
assumption 2
Assumption 2
  • Cooperation is inevitable.
    • Utilize whatever the client s bring to therapy –
    • their strengths & resources,
    • key client words,
    • belief system material,
    • their theories of change,
    • their stages of readiness to change, as well as
    • their metaphors and family themes.
cooperation is inevitable tools for fostering cooperation
Cooperation is inevitable:Tools for Fostering Cooperation
  • Positive relabeling (positive reframe)
  • Purposive self-disclosure,
  • The use of humor,
  • Normalization,
  • Demonstrating cultural and gender sensitivity,
  • Therapeutic compliments.
  • “What makes change possible is the therapist’s ability to be optimistic and to see what is funny or appealing in a grim situation.” Madanes, 1984
assumption 3
Assumption 3
  • Change is inevitable
    • Change is a continuous process and stability is an illusion (Mitchell, 1988),
    • The therapist’s belief in the client’s ability to change can be a significant determinant of treatment outcome (Leake & King, 1997),
    • There is a direct relationship between therapists “change talk” (“when,” “ill,” and “would” instead of “if.”) and positive treatment outcomes (Gingrich, 1998)
assumption 4
Assumption 4
  • Only a small change is necessary.
    • Once client are encouraged to value minimal changes, they are more likely to expect to make further changes.
    • “Act without doing; work without effort. Think of the small as large and the few as many. Confront the difficult while it is still easy; accomplish the great task by a series of small acts.” Lao-tzu
assumption 5
Assumption 5
  • Clients have the strengths and resources to change.
    • Perterson, C., & Seiligman, M.E.P (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A hoandbook and classification. New York: Oxford University Press.
assumption 6
Assumption 6
  • Problems are unsuccessful attempts to resolve difficulties.
    • Three common ways clients mishandle their difficulties (Watzlawick, 1974):
      • 1. Action is necessary but not taken,
      • 2. Action is taken when it should not be.
      • 3. Action is taken at the wrong logical level.
assumption 7
Assumption 7
  • You do not need to know a great deal about the problem in order to solve it.
    • Investigate in great detail what the client is doing differently during the times when the “problem” is NOT happening.
    • “In order to better assist your therapist with knowing what your strengths are, we would like you to notice what is happening in your life that you would like to continue happening. Please write your observations down and bring your list to your first appointment” (de Shazer, 1985).
assumption 8
Assumption 8
  • Clients define the goals for treatment.
    • If you do not know where you are going with your clients, you will end up somewhere else (O’Hanlon & Weiner-Davis, 1989).
clients define the goals for treatment
Clients define the goals for treatment.
  • Our job as a therapist is negotiate solvable problems and realistic treatment goals.
    • Goals are the start of something new, not the end of something.
    • Elicit a detailed description of how things will look when the presenting problem is solved (O’Hanlon & Weiner-Davis, 1989). This will contain the “who,” “what,” “when,” and “how” of goal attainment.
assumption 9
Assumption 9
  • Reality is observer-defined, and the therapist participates in co-creating the therapy system’s reality.
    • The beliefs a person has “about what sort of world it is , will determine how he sees it and acts within it, and his ways of perceiving and acting will determine his beliefs about its nature” (Bateson, 1972.)
    • Einstein believed that it is our theories that determine what we can observe.
    • What you will see is what you will get. Therapist “cannot have a theory”(Anderson & Goolishian, 1991b).
assumption 10
Assumption 10
  • There are many ways to look at a situation, none more “correct” than others.
    • For every event that occurs in the world, there are at least two or more explanations of that event (Bateson, 1980)
    • “Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.” Emile Chartier
    • Therapeutic flexibility is essential with difficult cases (Selekman, 2005)