Solution-focussed Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a future focussed, goal-directed approach to therapy developed initially by Insoo Kim Berg, Steve de Shazer and their colleagues in the early 1980’s.
SFBT focusses on the person’s present circumstances and future goals rather than past experiences and is helpful for short term therapy.
A key principle of SFBT is that each person already has the skills and resources to create change but they often need help identifying and developing those skills.
A solution focussed approach in couple therapy might focus on specific behaviours that each partner can do that will signify a resolution or a positive change.
An example could be asking each partner “What are 3 ways you could do more for your wife/ husband?” and have each person decide their own contributions.
In my session I might incorporate this approach among other strategies if I felt that a change could be best facilitated by focussing on what is working or on how to do something differently.
In SFBT, goals are developed, based on each person’s strengths and resources, and exceptions to the problem from past experience.
Another way this approach might be used is to interrupt a ‘more of the same’ problem talk which is maintaining or escalating the problem, helping couples find exceptions to the problem, helping them to work on a solution together or discuss hopes and goals.
If the couple can do more of what is working already and reinforce positive sentiment, it will help create a more loving relationship.
Ultimately, I know that you are the expert on your life and you are the best person to develop solutions with the help of a therapist. You may have already found solutions in other contexts that could be applied to this issue.
Other approaches in couple therapy may include a psychodynamic or emotionally focussed approach to enable a partner to express his or her feelings and explore the purpose and background to a behaviour. It also might be important to explore family of origin influences, attachment styles and unconscious choices, depending on the couple and presenting issue.