What is a Solution Focused Approach?
Solution focused thinking originated from its founders Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg in Milwaukee. In Britain the best-known centre of excellence for consultancy and training is BRIEF in London. In 2003 we established the UK Association for Solution Focused Practice.
Underlying what we do in any kind of SF work is the positive and respectful attitude to those we are working with. We collaborate with them by assuming they want to do well, have or can develop a goal or goals, and have the capacity and personal resources to move towards them — even if in very small steps. We take it for granted that they are the experts in their own lives and learning; as SF practitioners our only expertise is in being curious, asking appropriate questions and assisting progress, while being clear about professional boundaries.
Solution focused practice in whatever form:
- Makes positive assumptions about individuals or groups
- Recognises strengths and resources
- By using respectful curiosity, elicits preferred futures or desired outcomes
- Uses a practical and sensitive four-step scale to encourage step-by-step movement and action planning in the preferred direction
- Encourages helpful and positive feedback.
Solution focused practice occurs in an increasingly wide range of individual and group contexts.
Initially SF was used for therapy. Now it's used across:
- Education (child and adult)
- Community work (eg probation, social work)
- Mental health work
- Organisational work
- And any discipline where the focus is on human interaction.