I love Solution Focused Therapy (SFT). So, naturally, I’m a huge advocate. But it also has its limitations. There are a lot of options when it comes to managing your anxiety, stress or depression. And some will work for you while others don’t. That’s why I always give potential clients all the information they need to make a balanced judgment on whether or not SFT is suitable for them. So, if you’re curious to learn more, here are the pros and cons of Solution Focused Therapy.
Let’s start with the cons for a change…
The Cons of Solution Focused Therapy (SFT)
1. SFT won’t go over your past issues
This can be an advantage – that’s why I’ve also included it in the pros. But it can also be a hindrance, especially if you are looking for answers from your past.
There is a place for looking back. In fact, a lot of people need answers for their or others’ past behaviours and feelings. But this is something you need to do before you can move forward, which is what SFT is focused on.
So, if you feel you need to look back, it might be better to start with counselling. And once you have done the work there, you may find that solution-focused work is a good ‘follow-on’ from that point.
2. SFT requires commitment from you
Another con for Solution Focused Therapy is that it requires you to take on board what is being talked about during sessions and apply that yourself during the week. This means that there is work you need to do on your own and you cannot rely on the sessions or your therapist to do that for you.
People often assume that SFT is a kind of magic wand that will ‘fix you’ as long as you keep turning up. Creating real change in the brain is an active process. Only you can do it.
3. You won’t talk about whatever you want
I’m not a ‘nodding along’ kind of therapist. You won’t be able to come to the session and talk about whatever has been going on that week (unless it’s positive). This can be extremely challenging if you’ve had a stressful or emotional week prior to the session.
In SFT, I will ask a question and I expect an answer. No worries, there are no wrong answers and I’m here to guide you and help you with those answers. But you will be discouraged from talking about whatever you want.
This is all part of the brain training I do to empty your stress bucket. In order for me to help you feel better, I must be direct and not allow your mind to wander away from the SFT process.
4. SFT can’t help with everything
To be fair, this applies to all therapy and coaching programmes. When it comes to SFT, it absolutely requires a good collaboration between you and your therapist. This ensures you get the most out of your sessions. (You can find out more about what successful clients do in another post.)
I tailor-make all sessions to you so that you can get the most out of them and adapt them as and if needed. But there are limits to what SFT can do.
There are also a few conditions that are red flags for Solution Focused Therapy and that I would not be able to assist with, e.g. psychosis, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder. In these cases, I would refer you to your GP or another mental health professional.
The Pros of Solution Focused Therapy (SFT)
1. SFT won’t go over your past issues
As mentioned above, this should be listed in both the Pros and Cons of Solution Focused Therapy. If you have spent a lot of time ruminating over your past, either to yourself or with friends and family, you may be exhausted by this. Also, if that really worked then you’d probably feel better and wouldn’t need therapy.
In SFT it is refreshing to think about what you want for your preferred future instead. Initially, that can be difficult due to the amount of time you may have been thinking negatively. But we begin with very small, easy steps.
Many people find this refreshing and almost breathe a sigh of relief when I tell them that we don’t need to unpick the past.
2. SFT works quickly
Luckily, we begin to see some changes quite quickly in SFT. Often these changes can be extremely significant. However, even small changes like feeling calmer and more in control make a huge difference when your stress bucket has been overflowing for a while.
This gives you the encouragement and motivation to continue with your sessions. It also helps us pick up a lot of momentum and I often find my clients ‘moving their own goal posts’ and increasing their challenges because they feel so capable and empowered.
3. You learn skills for life
The last thing I say to my clients is “I want you to go away and get on with your life. Because that problem you had is not a problem anymore.” My aim is to ensure you have skills for life, skills you can use to face life’s challenges going forward.
We do this by ensuring you understand how the brain works and you know what to do when your stress bucket begins to fill up again, catching it well before it overflows.
4. The sessions are fun and enjoyable
I’ve never understood how feeling drained and tired after a therapy session would indicate that something was working. The word ‘therapy’ itself is defined as feeling better, not worse.
I cannot tell you how much we laugh and joke in SFT sessions. This is because we focus on positives instead of negatives. I encourage you to attend all sessions, even if you’ve had an awful day or week prior to it because by the end of the session you will be feeling a lot better.
So, now that you know more about the Pros and Cons of Solution Focused Therapy, what do you think? Happy to have a chat if you want to find out more!