What is Solution-Focused Brief Therapy?
(SFBT) is an evidence-based approach to psychotherapy, which has been studied since the early 1980s. In fact, it is one of the few approaches in psychotherapy that began as “evidence-based,” vs. being “theory-driven” as most other models were.
Its developers, Steve de Shazer and Insoo Berg and their team would observe sessions and noted what the therapist did that helped the client move in the direction of their goal, and then had the therapist to do more of that.
Over the next ten years, a clinical style emerged that could best be described as collegial, collaborative, and focused on solution descriptions — as opposed to more analytic or confrontative, and focused on problem description.
This approach, rather than the more common deductive one that led to most other therapies, became the standard practice of SFBT.
What does the research say about Solution-Focused Therapy?
SFBT has had a large number of empirical studies, in fact enough to have been examined in two recent meta-analyses and to be officially supported as evidenced-based by numerous federal and state agencies and institutions, such as SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs & Practices (NREPP).
The over-all conclusion of the most recent scholarly work on SFBT, is that Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is an effective approach to the treatment of psychological problems, with effect sizes similar to other evidenced-based approaches, such as CBT and IPT, but that these effects are found in fewer average sessions, and using an approach style that is more benign.
That is, the more collegial and collaborative approach of SFBT does not involve confrontation or interpretation, nor does it even require the acceptance of the underlying tenets, as do most other models of psychotherapy. Given its equivalent effectiveness, shorter duration, and more benign approach, SFBT is considered to be an excellent first-choice evidenced-based psychotherapy approach for most psychological, behavioral, and relational problems.
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