Solution Focused = Future Focused

“Stay present.” “One day at a time.” “Be here now.” “Focus on today, tomorrow will take are of itself”  When these phrases are used to comfort, they may help shift someone’s mood for a moment or two. But more often than not, they don’t inform or instruct.up next color   Future focused methods use clients’ desired future (and often the past) to inform them about what to do next.

Here’s an example: “What’s the next step you’ll take to get the interview for the job you say you want?” If the response is “I have no idea,” your next question can be “Can you remember a recent time when you had no idea about what to do, and then somehow came up with something?” This encourages them to look at their past strengths to consider what to do right now.

Start slow.  Solution focused interventions do not come easy when clients are expressing their genuine suffering.  Use all your basic skills of reflecting, paraphrasing, empathizing and labeling feelings.  Then, give yourself the task of adding one future focused comment or question in each session.

This week, use one future focused intervention.  The easiest is “What do you plan on doing right after you leave this office?” Follow it up with “What are you looking forward to when (or after) you do that.” It may not be a deep therapeutic question, but it’s a way of steering your client toward what’s up next.

5 comments on “Solution Focused = Future Focused

  1. Hi Dr. Tony

    I’m very excited about this blog. I was in your SFBT training at WestCare last month and LOVED it. I’ve been able to use what I’ve learned and love how effective it is. Thank you so much for offering another avenue of knowledge and support for us in the field.

    Tamara Jones

    • Thanks so much, Tamara. I’m looking forward to writing more and continuing the dialogue. I’m glad to hear you are using the tools. If you need anything specific, feel free to email me.

    • Hi Tamara: I hope all is well with you. Two things: first, I can’t find your blog. I can get to gravatar but then there doesn’t seem to be a place to go from there. Second, I have low viewing stats for the solution focused blog. I wonder if you’d be willing to direct it to some colleagues you know who were in the training, or even some others whom you think might benefit from it. Thanks so much.

  2. Heidi says:

    Hello Dr. Tony! I too was at the WestCare training. I have been regularly implementing a couple of new tools that we were able to practice at the training, and the clients seem to enjoy and benefit from this. I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn from you. Hope all is well with you. -Heidi

    • Thanks for responding, Heidi. I’m glad to hear you are practicing some solution focused tools with clients. Makes me feel like I did my job! I agree that it’s very rewarding to see clients respond to these interventions. Keep practicing. I’m still learning how to listen with a solution focused ear. Thanks also for your compliment. I had such a good time at Westcare Las Vegas. Please visit the blog frequently and tell your friends. Another post is coming this week. Take care and please stay in touch. – Tony.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s