It always surprises me when I hear about people who have been in therapy for months or even years. The fact that Solution-Focused Therapy is a ‘brief therapy’ is one of the things I love most about it.
I don’t deny that it’s great to have ongoing help. But there needs to be improvement in your symptoms. And that improvement has to be sustainable by giving you the tools you need to take you through future challenges. If that’s not the case, then I wonder why people persevere.
What exactly is ‘brief therapy’?
By brief therapy, I mean that it is a type of therapy that is time-limited and focused on the present. That already takes away a lot of time during therapy – there is no need to focus on the past.
Because I focus on what is going on in your life right now, I place more importance on your current strengths and resources.
It’s likely those things in your past were out of your control or when you were younger you didn’t have the knowledge or maturity you have now. So naturally things will appear a little different.
What has happened in the past has happened. It cannot be changed. But what can change is your current attitude and the impact that can have on your future.
What does that mean for Solution-Focused Therapy?
This means that during your sessions, I am quite direct and active in my questioning of you. Solution-focused questions require solution-focused answers, there’s just no other way around it. So I cannot let you dwell or ruminate on your problems.
This can be very challenging at first, maybe even a little jarring. But in reality, that is what your brain needs, a little jolt in a positive direction.
I don’t nod along and allow you to talk about whatever you want in each session. All sessions are quite structured in fact. But that is what my clients like about it – they know what’s coming in each session.
When I first qualified as a solution-focused therapist, I used to find it really difficult, even rude, to interrupt my clients if they wanted to talk about a significant negative event that had occurred that week or something from their past that they had been thinking about a lot recently.
But knowing how powerful solution-focused work was and seeing changes in clients that followed the process stringently, I knew I was not doing my client favours this way.
So, I quickly learned how to interject and bring them back onto the positive path, and now I’m an expert at it. I like to be firm but fair and the clients I work with appreciate this. Some even say they need someone in their life to be like that with them.
Having an endpoint, knowing that it won’t take months or years to see some changes, is very powerful and encouraging for my clients. If you’ve been experiencing anxiety and stress for a long time, you need some light at the end of the tunnel. You need some hope that you can feel better. Soon.
So, how brief is ‘brief’?
There’s a reason I’ve designed a 10-week programme. It gives you an idea of how long we will take.
However, it won’t be 10 weeks before you feel better. In fact, in Solution-Focused brief therapy, you should notice small changes in the first 2 or 3 sessions. Most clients describe it as a calmer, more relaxed attitude, they’re sleeping better and feeling a little happier, too.
10 weeks also give me enough time to really ensure you have plenty of tools to manage your own mental health once we’re done. I want you to feel empowered and not reliant on a therapist to face your challenges.
So, during the programme, you will gain an in-depth understanding of how the brain works. This way you can spot your own warning signs and symptoms and start doing something about it before it gets too overwhelming.
You will have books and a relaxation recording to work with, some interesting TED talks and video recommendations to further your understanding.
In weeks 4-6, we really pick up the momentum as well. Having some relief from your symptoms provides some real encouragement and satisfaction in the process.
Sessions continue and from about 6-8 weeks you will feel that you can cope on your own. Your stress bucket has emptied and you’re empowered to continue. Often at this point, a lot of my clients feel they have completed their therapy.
They’ve met their goals, so I am happy for them to ‘bank’ any sessions for a later date as a bit of a ‘top-up’ session or a progress check.
And so that’s why Solution-Focused Therapy is called ‘brief therapy’. It requires direct questioning and structure and you need to be ready for that. So if you are considering Solution-Focused brief therapy, make this is the right fit for you.
But just think about the date 10 weeks from now – that could be the date of the first day of the rest of your life – if you want it to be.