The podcast episode accompanying this handout draws upon the Solution Focused Brief Therapy Framework (SFBT) to help identify the strengths and resources that people make use of – often unconsciously – to get them through difficult times. 

The origins of SFBT date back to the 1980s where a small group of therapists in the US began exploring how best to facilitate change in people’s lives. They observed that there were often exceptions to patterns of problem behaviour – times when the problem was less apparent or even non-existent. They found that by exploring these exceptions – ‘amplifying’ them – and spending time looking at what was going on during them, it could be possible to identify what their clients were doing well so that these aspects could be consciously tapped into.

SFBT does this through the use of focused and targeted questions and compliments. The theory behind it is straightforward and found in some basic principles that underlie the approach: 

  • If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it
  • If it works, do more of it
  • If it’s not working, do something different
  • Small steps can lead to big changes
  • The solution is not necessarily directly related to the problem
  • The client is not the problem. The problem is the problem
  • Everyone has the ability to find their own solutions to the difficulties they face as they are the experts in their own lives. SFBT can assist this process
  • Diagnosis is not destiny – the future is not fixed
  • Change is inevitable and constantly occurring. Simply because an event has happened in the past does not mean it will always occur again in the future
  • No problems happen all the time; there are always exceptions that can be utilised

There is something reassuring about the above principles. SFBT doesn’t discount the need to understand the problem – to understand the roots of it, and the role that certain life experiences played in shaping a person’s life. Some people are not ready to begin unpacking boxes that have been buried away for good reason. SFBT is often a useful precursor to that process as it helps build the self-esteem and resilience that is needed to begin looking at the more painful areas of a person’s life.

In the podcast, we use questions from the SFBT framework to help identify some of the inner strengths we’ve been tapping into to get us through all things Covid, often without knowing that we’ve been doing so. By bringing these things to the surface, we’re more likely to be abke to consciously harness them over the coming months.

Some questions for you to think about in general and for when you come to the seminars are:

  • What has gotten you through the last 7 months?
  • How have you been able to get through the last 7 months? 
  • How have you managed? 
  • What have you learnt about yourself from the last 7 months that you didn’t know before? Or…
  • What have you been reminded of about yourself from the last 7 months? 
  • What have you been pleased to notice? 
  • What difference has knowing X (from question above) made in your life? Or - What difference do you think knowing X will make in your life? 
  • Looking back, what tells you that you were always capable of doing this?
  • When else, in the past, have you drawn on similar qualities? 
  • What in your life are you taking joy in, no matter how small?