The official name for Solution Focused Therapy is Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). But what in the world does "brief" mean? Does it mean that Solution Focused therapists only strive to offer "quick fixes?" Does it mean that the number of visits is automatically limited? Does it mean that clients can't come back if they feel there is still work to be done? None of these answers are correct.
Some forms of therapy are indeed long term because they focus on one problem after another and strive to dig deeper and deeper into the root causes of situations. These approaches may in fact, at times, be helpful, but in these approaches it is sometimes difficult to tell when one has finally reached a resolution to the issue which brought the client the therapy in the first place.
Brief, in Solution Focused Brief Therapy, really doesn't describe a period of time; rather it refers to a perspective. Brief means "not one session more than is clinically necessary." In SFBT the goal is not to chase "therapeutic rabbits;" rather the goal is to help the client make satisfactory progress towards their preferred future. Sometimes this journey is completed in just a few sessions. Sometimes the course of therapy takes longer. But for each client the focus is on helping them achieve the best hopes they had in mind when they sat down with the therapist for the very first time. Compared to other forms of therapy SFBT is often brief; because we listen to the client, determine a destination and begin the journey with that end in mind.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.