Solution-focused short-term marriage and family therapy: philosophy, representatives, purpose, techniques used, role of the therapist, therapy process, unique aspects


Solution Focused Short Term Marriage and Family Therapy: Philosophy, Representatives, Purpose, Techniques Used, The Role of The Therapist, The Therapy Process, Original Sides

“Solution Focused Short-Term Marriage and Family Therapy

The latest theoretical development in the field of “marriage” and “family” “therapy” is the emergence of solution-oriented short-term “marriage” and “family” “therapy”. Solution-focused family therapy is particularly inspired by the strategic “family therapy” theory. Despite coming from this tradition, it also differs from strategic theory in that it seeks solutions rather than focusing on problems. Contrary to the strategic family therapy model, solution-focused family therapists oppose the idea that families insist on questions or that problems need to be functional. The solution-oriented model assumes people’s and families’ desire for change.


Most representatives of solution-focused therapy are people who have worked with the “Center for Short-Term Family Therapy” (Breif Family Therapy Center) in Milwaukee. Steve deShazer along with his wife Insoo Kim Berg are a key figure in the development of this model. They have trained people in this model in many parts of the world. and they have proven the usefulness of this model in many different problems and situations. De Shazer died in 2005 and Berg in 2007. Despite this, many of his collaborators and students continued to write, teach, and work in this model. Michele Weiner-Davis and Eve Lipchik are among the prominent representatives who continue their therapy today. Bill O’Hanlon is not from this centre, but was indirectly influenced by the centre’s work and later published with Weiner-Davis.


solution-oriented short-term marriage and family therapy It is based on social constructionism philosophy. According to this theory, knowledge is temporal and spatial. Likewise, according to this approach, language is an important factor influencing people’s worldview. Therapeutic work with families should consider people’s social, historical and cultural context. Again, according to the philosophical understanding that is the source of this point of view, reality (truth) is not objective and is a reflection of observation and experience. In other words, according to the social constructivist paradigm, meaning is constructed through certain cultural dialogues and contexts. Because of this approach, he opposes the generally accepted idea that knowledge is objective and reflects absolute truth. Besides these considerations, solution-focused family therapy also shares points with the strategic approach of the Institute for Spiritual Research (MRI) and the systemic approaches of the Milan School. One of them is that dysfunctional families get stuck dealing with their problems over time. These families actually choose inadequate ways to solve their problems and rely on these useless patterns. solution-oriented short-term The goal of marriage and family therapy is to break these repetitive, useless patterns of behavior. They try to do this by encouraging them to see their problematic situations with a more positive eye and to actively do things differently in these situations. Berg and Miller and de Shazer highlighted three rules that underpin this approach:

1. If something is not broken, don’t fix it!
2. When you see something working, do more of it
3- If something isn’t working, don’t do it again, do something different.

Identifying what is a problem and what is not is one of the most critical components in a solution-oriented approach.
• It focuses on situations that are exceptions to general behavior and perception patterns.
• The goal in helping families is to unlock perspectives, be creative, and find new/original and creative solutions that can be applied to a number of situations.
• It is believed that families have the resources and strengths to solve the situations they complain about.
• What needs to be done in solution-focused therapy is to find opportunities for families to use these abilities they already have.
• Focus on solutions, not problems.
family’s motivationsJust like strategic and systemic approaches, solution-focused family therapy keeps therapy short-term, 5-10 sessions, in order to keep expectations and expectations high.
• Solution-focused family therapy as a theory does not address the background of family problems. Such a practice is considered to be unhelpful.
• One of the main considerations of this approach is that it is unnecessary to know the causality of existing problems.
• Finally, another consideration of solution-focused family therapy is that only a small amount of change is sufficient.


One of the important concepts of solution-focused short-term marriage and family therapy is that the family is an expert on its own situation. This concept is also found in the other social structural model of family therapy. Simply put, each family has authority in its own story and is an expert on those stories for the therapist. Throughout the family’s founding story, the family can talk about their unique issues and how to understand and express struggles. In this respect, the family is the lead author of its own story. He grasps the solution-focused family therapist’s attitude as the listener of the story and helps the narrator to enrich the questions with more detail. Therapist Besides being an expert in asking questions, he does not accept preconceived information about the normal family process. of the family” expert” The idea of ​​being is not uncomplicated. First of all , learning how family therapy works can be seen as another encouraging attitude when people read 1 book on family therapy . If families are specialists, why do they need family therapy? It may not be easy to listen to the family’s story to find answers to the problems and to find answers to the questions after this story. It’s not that easy. The concept of family as a specialist accepts everyone living and breathing in the same place as a family member. Each family member and the whole family has a perspective that shares the problems/issues within the uniqueness of this family. Second, considering the family as experts may suggest that they are under pressure to solve their own problems. Family members “If we are specialists, why should we consider you a family therapist?” they may say. Solution-focused family therapists need to be able to express that the concept of “expert family” is the starting point of cooperation in ensuring that each member of the family is understood and heard in the family therapy process. Therapyprocess will help you find the best solutions for the family.


In solution-focused therapy, solutions are found by collaborating with the client. Latent, but one of the basic techniques is to create a problem with the family. In order for the therapeutic process to produce desirable results, an agreement is reached with the family from the beginning and the name of the problem to be solved is given. The counselor and family may describe the problem to be resolved as, for example, a failure to discipline their children appropriately. Another key element is asking families to come up with a hypothetical solution to their situation. This can be achieved by asking the “miracle question” to the family. Miraculous questions are a prominent intervention in solution-focused therapy. ” Therapist” He asks the client to think about the problem he brought to therapy. And he asks your family to express how your life would change if there was a miracle. He continues the interaction by asking this question to family members. The answers of the family members define the interaction between them. he asks. This question encourages the family to think fully about what will happen and what will change when a miracle happens.

CONSULTANT: Now close your eyes and get tired. Imagine a miracle happened. This miracle is the problem you brought here to solve. What happens after the miracle when you open your eyes? In miraculous questions, successive questions are important. When asking questions, the future tense is used with the present tense. This indicates that the consultant has to use the language that he or she assumes has or will change. For example, “what will be different when this miracle happens?” “what will you do now?” “When I wake up tomorrow, how will you feel?” as. By the way, “if” is not used in prediction language. When he uses miraculous questions, it is tried to make the family think about completing the miracle. Successive questions guide family members to clearly visualize the individual’s goal realization. Another unique technique of solution-oriented approach is to draw attention to exceptions. In other words, it is the search for the negative and positive “space” (that is, when what they intended has already happened). “Essentially, exceptions do not exist in clients’ real worlds; they need to be collaboratively invented, structured while the therapist and client deal with what happens when the problem is not there.” Rating is one of the important techniques used by solution-oriented family therapists, following the model of DeShazer and Berg. In the rating, a range of 1 (low) and 10 (high) is used to determine the path taken by the client towards their goals. “On a scale of 1 to 10, how far do you think you have come to achieve your goal?” he may ask. If the client says “six”, then the therapist asks, “What should I do to make it six-seven?” By answering this question, the client/family realizes what realistic, measurable steps need to be taken towards achieving their goals. Another intervention is to give the family a Compliment. For solution-focused counselors, especially deShazer, a commendation is a written message that points to a family’s strengths. Compliment is a positive statement that family members can agree on. your willing effort to change things: and I’m really impressed that you all discussed the next step in this way.” Compliments are almost always planned as an encouragement when family is being asked to do something or when giving homework. Another form of intervention is Deconstruction. has a problem (complaint), but the solution to this problem depends on someone else. Consider taking a role and responsibility in solving the problem appetizer In order to enable the client to transition from the problem to the solution, doubts are created about the differences in the solution path in order to raise awareness in the individual.
CONSULTANT: You are constantly fighting with your husband. You say it was your husband who started and exacerbated every single fight. What is your role in these fierce fights? Do you take responsibility for ending these fights? Do you have any suggestions for your spouse to end the fights?
CLIENT: I’m not the one who started the fight. The problem is with my wife.
COUNSELOR : Have you thought of any solution to end the fight? Another different technique involves giving a cue to the family, or it could be an intervention that showcases the family’s general behavior. The purpose of this technique is to warn the family that some behavior will continue. In general, solution-focused therapy interventions try to help the client/family see their situation from a different perspective. Thus, it helps clients to feel more hope. Families find themselves stronger with their participation in solution-focused therapy.


Solution-focused short-term marriage and family therapy focuses on encouraging client-families to seek solutions and put their inner resources to work. This approach not only encourages families, but also sets up exceptions for change, and makes calls to families accordingly. The concept of pathology is not in question in the treatment process of this approach. Solution-oriented counselors find families inclined to cooperate. Solution-focused counselors may praise such behavior, even if a member’s behavior may seem negative to the family. Solution-focused counseling adopts Milton Erickson’s approach of finding change inevitable and perceives it as a possibility that will eventually occur. This counseling approach is future-oriented and helps client-families shift their focus and frame their situation in a more positive way. By emphasizing change to the family, finding situations where the family behaves differently than they usually do, asking optimistic questions, and reinforcing even small initiatives, Solution-oriented short-term marriage and family help families overcome challenges and make the changes they need.


One of the important features of the solution-focused counseling approach is that counselors with this orientation help families describe their situation clearly, clearly and with probabilities. “Identified problem must be accessible. Sometimes success is measured by fixing problems. Often times, if they have changed their perception of their family situation or discovered troubled times, the counseling process that helps them do so is meaningful. Regardless of what problem the family brings to counseling, this approach looks at situations from a broader perspective. Again, the past is looked at only and only if it is closely related to the present. Another emphasis of the solution-oriented approach is that it does not focus on the clinical understanding of the family situation by the counselor or the family himself. Instead, the focus is on change. Therefore, it is the counselor’s duty to help the family focus on ways to solve the situation that it expresses as a problem. They should look for exceptions to family behavior. Counselors enable this change to occur by examining the family’s point of view [worldview] with the family, asking questions, and giving them skeleton keys. As mentioned earlier, skeleton keys are activities that have been widely proven to be effective and play a key role in family change. The third feature of the solution-focused approach is that it empowers families and relies on helping families use their own resources. In this understanding, mindfulness exercises such as “do something different”, known as formula tasks, or directives such as “find times when symptoms [problems] are not present” allow families to help themselves. Families are encouraged to “think (imagine) a future without problems” to envision (solutions) what they would be doing in such a situation. Finally, attainable goals, i.e. small changes in behavior, are considered important. These changes are seen as the basis for larger systemic changes. Counselors encourage and reinforce any change in the family. The underlying idea is that once change begins, it will continue. “Solution-focused short-term counseling is of the opinion that change is inevitable and that behaviors desire change”.

Psychological Counselor Şenol Baygül

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