Solution focussed practice

Solution focused practice is based on solution focused brief therapy, often referred to as simply 'solution focused therapy' or 'brief therapy'. It is a way of working that focuses on what clients want to achieve rather than on the problem(s) that made them seek help. Rather than focussing on the past, solution focussed practice focuses on the present and future.


When using solution focussed techniques, the practitioner uses respectful curiosity to invite the client to think about their preferred future. The practitioner and the client then work together to think about how it may be possible to attain that future. To support this, questions are asked about the client’s story, strengths and resources, and about exceptions to the problem.


Solution focused therapists believe that change is constant. By helping people identify the things that they wish to have changed in their life and also to consider those things that are currently happening that they wish to continue to have happen, practitioners help clients to construct a concrete vision of a preferred future for themselves.


The solution focussed practitioner then helps the client to identify times in their current life that are closer to this future, and examines what is different on these occasions. By bringing these small successes to their awareness, and helping them to repeat these successful things they do when the problem is not there or less severe, the practitioner helps the client move towards the preferred future that they have identified for themselves.


In other words, solution focused work can be seen as a way of working that focuses exclusively or predominantly on two things:

  1. Supporting people to explore their preferred futures.
  2. Exploring when, where, with whom and how pieces of that preferred future are already happening.


You can download a worksheet outlining 20 solution focussed techniques below:

Solution focussed techniques.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 32.7 KB


The video, below, looks at solution focussed coaching in the workplace but gives a good description of how to move someone from focussing on the problem to finding their own solution.