As the name suggests, it is about being brief and focusing on solutions, rather than on problems. We learned a long time ago that when there is a problem, many professionals spend a great deal of time thinking, talking, and analyzing the problems, while the suffering goes on. It occurred to a team of mental health professionals at the Brief Family Therapy Center that so much time and energy, as well as many resources, are spent on talking about problems, rather than thinking about what might help us to get to solutions that would bring on realistic, reasonable relief as quickly as possible.
We discovered that problems do not happen all the time. Even the most chronic problems have periods or times when the difficulties do not occur or are less intense. By studying these times when problems are less severe or even absent, we discovered that people do many positive things that they are not fully aware of. By bringing these small successes into their awareness and repeating the successful things they do when the problem is less severe, people improve their lives and become more confident about themselves.
And, of course, there is nothing like experiencing small successes to help a person become more hopeful about themselves and their life. When they are more hopeful, they become more interested in creating a better life for themselves and their families. They become more hopeful about their future and want to achieve more.
Because these solutions appear occasionally and are already within the person, repeating these successful behaviors is easier than learning a whole new set of solutions that may have worked for someone else. Thus, the brief part was born. Since it takes less effort, people can readily become more eager to repeat the successful behaviors and make further changes.
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy has taken almost 30 years to develop into what it is today. It is simple to learn, but difficult to practice because our old learning gets in the way. The model continues to evolve and change. It is increasingly taken out of the therapy or counseling room and applied in a wide variety of settings where people want to get along or work together.