About Solution-Focused Practice

Solution-Focused Practice (SFP) is central to many of the activities of Working Conversations, including solution-focused training and one-on-one solution-focused therapy. SFP is markedly different from the majority of talking therapies, with a built-in focus on exploring the construction of what a client wants to achieve (their “preferred future”) rather than on going in-depth into the history of a problem. It is also a collaborative approach, with a therapist/practitioner following a client’s lead in determining where they want to go and how they want to get there.

Fundamentally, SFP is not about “fixing” or “curing” people, but simply about helping them to move forwards in the direction they want.

Since its original development in the 1980s, SFP has proved highly effective not only in traditional therapy/counselling but also for those across the helping professions (e.g. social workers, medical professionals, teachers) and for coaches, business consultants, mediators, and mentors. Solution-focused practice is suitable for use by anyone whose job involves talking to others in order to help them, either in its entirety or through incorporating certain solution-focused elements/principles into other practices.

The Evidence Base

There is growing evidence that the use of solution-focused practice is typically at least as effective as traditional approaches, often achieving good outcomes in a shorter timescale. This evidence is drawn from a range of different settings, including –

  • Adults with depression and anxiety
  • Children and families, in social work and mental health settings
  • People with substance abuse issues
  • Adults and children with learning disabilities
  • Individuals with chronic pain or ill health
  • Professional coaching and mentoring groups
  • Counselling groups

For specific examples of evaluations of SFP, see here.