Hope resides in the future, so that is where focus should be.


Unlike traditional forms of therapy that take time to analyze problems, pathology and past life events, solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) is a goal-directed, non-confrontational therapeutic approach that concentrates on finding solutions in the present time and exploring one’s hope for the future to find quicker resolution of one’s problems. This method takes the approach that you know what you need to do to improve your own life and, with the appropriate coaching and questioning, are capable of finding the best solutions. SFBT can stand alone as a therapeutic intervention, or it can be used along with other therapy styles and treatments. It is used to treat people of all ages and a variety of issues. SFBT often helps improve quality of life.

Goal-setting is at the foundation of SFBT; one of the first steps is to identify and clarify your goals. The therapist will begin by questioning what you hope to get out of working with the therapist and how, specifically, your life would change when steps were taken to resolve problems. By answering these types of questions, you can begin to identify solutions and come up with a plan for change. One of the key questions the therapist asks is called the miracle question: “If a miracle occurred while you were asleep tonight, what changes would you notice in your life tomorrow?” This opens up your mind to creative thinking and, again, to setting goals and developing a clear plan that will lead to life-changing solutions.

SFBT approaches assume that the solution to a problem is found in the “exceptions,” or those times when one is free of the problem or taking steps to manage the problem. Working from the theory that all individuals are at least somewhat motivated to find solutions, SFBT begins with what the individual is currently doing to initiate behavioral and lifestyle changes.

The therapist uses interventions such as specific questioning techniques, 0-10 scales, empathy, and compliments that help a person to recognize one’s own virtues, like courage and strength, that have recently gotten the person through hard times and are likely to work well in the future. Individuals learn to focus on what they can do, rather than what they can’t, which allows them to find solutions and make positive changes more quickly.

Problem talk creates problems. Solution talk creates solutions.

Steve de Shazer




Focus on problems, you’ll have more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you’ll have more opportunities. One cannot solve their problems with the same thinking they used when they created them.

SFBT believes the emphasis on therapy should be on what is changeable and possible and that clients already have the resources and strengths to solve their problems. Future-oriented, SFBT places the client in the position of expert and encourages they develop their own goals.


purepsych professionals are specialized in EMDR therapy and were trained in EMDR by certified trainers and facilitators of the EMDR Institute, Inc. purepsych professionals are excited and enthusiastic about bringing one of the most effective therapeutic treatments to clients of the practice, new and existing! We would love to learn about you and your aspirations for personal growth and emotional wellbeing. Call 973-486-6248 or email for a free consultation. 

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