Solution focused counseling is a goal focused technique. Change comes from a therapist’s observation of a client’s response to a specific set of questions.
All therapy is a form of specialized conversations. With solution focused counseling a counselor helps direct the conversation towards developing and achieving the client’s vision of solutions.
With this technique, a counselor will ask a client if they have used skills in the past to help decrease the distress from a similar problem. They may ask a question similar to “has there been a time that you have been able to find relief for a similar problem?” Often clients have the skills but need help in reaching within to find them. In several situations, the client and the therapists don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
A counselor may draw upon a previous exception. In the case of an exception, it is an action that took place before the completion of a problem. A counselor may ask a client “What took place in previous situations to prevent the problem from being as distressing as it currently is?”
Solution focused counselors help their clients stay in the present and look to the future. They want their clients to focus on what is working other than spending too much time on the orientation of the problem. Solution focused counseling also lend encouragement to their client to continue using what is working and support the good work they are doing.
One of the key pieces of solution focused counseling is the “miracle question”. This question directs small changes a client could make if a miracle happened overnight and the problem was solved the following day. It directs them to what they would do differently that following morning and throughout the day that would make it match what a day following a miracle would look like. These small steps become the building block of an entirely different kind of day as clients may begin to implement some of the behavioral changes they just envisioned.