Solution Focused Therapy
When Results Matter
The Modality Manual / Solution Focused Therapy
Solution Focused Therapy: What is it and how can it help?
Feeling stuck or overwhelmed by a problem in your life? We’ve got the solution.
Solution Focused Therapy (SFT) is an evidence-based and goal-oriented therapy that empowers individuals to identify their own solutions to problems. It’s a valuable tool for improving mental health which involves working collaboratively with a therapist to set goals and develop a plan for achieving them.
The Principles and Techniques of Solution Focused Therapy
Let’s break down the core principles of this approach and its focus on solutions:
- Emphasis on personal strengths: with a solution-focused approach, you’ve already got everything you need – you just need a little guidance to see it. Your therapist helps you to identify your inner resources and will ask questions that encourage you to think about your strengths.
- Focus on your goals: The treatment planning for SFT is goal oriented. Your therapist will help you clarify goals, co-create solutions, and develop a plan of attack to achieve them.
- Use language that supports change: SFT uses solution-focussed language that encourages you to focus on:
- things you can change
- progress you have made
- positives in life
- Use scaling questions: your therapist will ask you to rate your progress on a scale of 1-10. This helps you and your therapist identify what is going well and how to build on this.
- Amplify change: SFT is all about celebrating the small wins.
The Process of Solution Focused Therapy: A Step-by-Step Guide
So you’ll know what to expect when you enter the therapy space:
- Intro: At the beginning of the session, SFBT practitioners will introduce how SFT works. They may ask some questions about yourself and your specific goals for therapy.
- Problem description: you will be asked to describe the problem that brought you to therapy, e.g., if you’re struggling with anxiety, your therapist might say “can you tell me more about the anxiety you’re experiencing? How does it affect your day-to-day life?”
- Goal setting: Here your therapist will work with you to identify specific, achievable goals for therapy. E.g., if your goal is to manage your anxiety better, you and your therapist may explore what would be different in your life if you could manage your anxiety; or what are some specific things you want to achieve.
- Solution building: your therapist will ask you questions to help you identify times when the problem wasn’t present or was less severe. E.g., if you mentioned feeling more relaxed when you spend time with your friends, you and your therapist may explore what is it specifically in this setting that makes you feel relaxed; and where does this show up in your body.
- Scaling questions: Your therapist may ask “on a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your progress toward your goal? What would it take to move that number up one point?”
- Homework (but the good kind): To manage your anxiety, your therapist may suggest practicing relaxation exercises or keeping a journal to track your progress.
- Follow-up: At the end of your session, your therapist will ask you for feedback on the session and answer any questions you may have. They will also schedule a follow-up appointment if needed.
Comparing Solution Focused Therapy to other types of therapy
SFT is really cool because it’s an effective approach that can be used alongside any other therapeutic modality. Let’s see how:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): CBT is a widely used form of therapy that focuses on changing unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. While SFT does not explicitly focus on thoughts or beliefs, it can be complimentary to CBT by helping you identify what is already working well and build on your strengths to achieve your goals.
- Psychodynamic therapy: Psychodynamic therapists focus on exploring unconscious processes that lead to psychological distress. While SFT is more focused on the present and future and does not delve deeply into the past or unconscious realm, it can be useful for individuals who want to start focussing on finding solutions and moving forward.
- Mindfulness-based therapies: This approach emphasises the importance of being present and cultivating self-awareness. Whilst SFT does not explicitly focus on mindfulness, it can be useful for those who want to learn how to be more present in their day-to-day lives.
- Person-centred therapy (PCT): PCT is all about the therapeutic relationship and creating a supportive and safe space. In contrast, SFT is more goal-oriented and solution focused, which tends to be more client led.
- Narrative therapy: This therapy explores and changes the stories that people tell themselves about their lives. While SFT does not focus on stories, it does emphasise the importance of what is going well and amplifies change, which can be complimentary in helping individuals develop new narratives and possibilities for the future.
Overall, each therapy has its own unique approach, but where the magic happens can be found in the overlap and complimentary elements between them.
How to find a qualified Solution Focused Therapist
Finding the right therapist can seem daunting at first, but we’ve got some tips on how to find the right fit for you:
- Check with your insurance provider: the first step in finding a qualified SFT therapist is to check with your health insurance to see if they cover SFT and if there are any therapists available in your area
- Ask for referrals: Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Ask friends, family or a trusted healthcare professional if they know any SFT therapists.
- Search online: Use therapy directories like our Matchmaker Quiz to find a therapist who gets you.
- Schedule a consultation: Once you’ve found a potential therapist, schedule a consult or initial therapy session to get a sense of their approach and whether you vibe them. Ask questions and chat about your goals of therapy.
PSA: Finding a therapist who is a good fit will determine how much you get out of your therapeutic experience. Take your time and trust the process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is The Indigo Project?
We are a progressive online counselling practice, providing telehealth services in Australia. Our passionate and experienced local team includes psychologists, psychotherapists & counsellors, coaches and therapists that are trained to deliver online therapy to you in a safe and convenient way.
Whether you are looking for short or long term support through a challenging time, or looking to discover your potential, we want you to feel comfortable on every step of the journey.
Read more about Our Story
Telehealth: About Therapy and Online Counselling
What can I expect from therapy? What is therapy like?
Every therapist is different and their therapeutic style and personalities are all unique. However, all of our Indigo practitioners will hold a compassionate and non-judgmental space for you, where you are free to be who you are. Your therapist is there to listen to you, guide you, and help you overcome life’s challenges.
Generally, you’ll spend the first session getting to know each other, talking about your history and what it is you’d like to work through. From your second session onwards, you’ll get to go deeper, peeling back the layers and all the while learning practical strategies to help you transform and grow.
At Indigo we encourage our clients to have at least 10-20 sessions, because we believe that therapy is a long-term journey of commitment, growth and investment in yourself. After seeing your therapist for a while, you may continue to book occasional check-in sessions as you feel more confident doing life with the knowledge and tools you have gained.
Who is online therapy for?
Everyone is welcome to attend online counselling or therapy with one of our practitioners at The Indigo Project.
Online counselling or therapy via Zoom is an accessible, safe and convenient option for those who are unable to attend face-to-face appointments, or simply prefer to meet online. Whether it be a busy schedule due to work and family, health-related reasons or distance, online counselling can help you.
What issues are suited for online therapy?
Our team of trained clinical psychologists, psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors attend to a range of common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, grief and loss, life transitions, relationship issues and more.
A number of practitioners also specialise in areas such as sexuality, gender and identity, addiction, sports and performance, personality disorders and therapy for children and adolescents.
Several therapists also provide services in marriage counselling and couples therapy.
Finding the best psychologist or counsellor for me - where do I start?
We highly encourage you to view our practitioners and use the filtering options to find a psychologist or counsellor who can help you with the issues you are seeking help for.
Meet our therapists and what they can help you with here.
If you need help, our Therapy Matchmakers team will be able to match you with a practitioner. Give us a call on (02) 9212 5469 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can support you on your journey.
What if I can’t see the therapist I had in mind?
Our therapists typically have capacity to see several new clients each month. However these openings can get filled up fast from those who have been on a waitlist. If there is someone that you particularly want to see but is currently unavailable, we can place you on a waitlist until there is an opening.
If you prefer to attend an online counselling session sooner, our Therapy Matchmakers can help you find an alternative practitioner based on your needs and what you are looking to achieve in therapy.
Meeting a therapist for the first time can feel like a first date. If you don’t connect with your therapist on your first or second session, we’ll pair you with a new practitioner and your next session will be on the house* as part of our Perfect Match Promise.
*Terms and conditions apply.
Can I make an appointment for my child or dependent?
If you are the parent or legal guardian of a minor, you will need to make an appointment online or via the phone.
We have many psychologists, psychotherapists & counsellors who have experience dealing with children and adolescents in therapy. See who can help here.
Someone I know needs counselling. Can I book an appointment for them?
Those who require online counselling or therapy will have to make an appointment directly with The Indigo Project via our online booking form or on the phone. We do not accept bookings on behalf of an individual or couple from a third party unless as part of an insurance plan, support scheme or similar arrangement.
We want marriage or couples counselling. Can we see a couples counsellor together?
Couples are welcome to attend online therapy sessions together with one of our couples therapists.
Do I need to do anything before my first session?
We recommend setting up for your online therapy session 5-10 minutes before it commences. Make sure your computer or phone microphone and video is working, and that you are comfortable and ready to sit through your session uninterrupted.
There’s zero pressure to prepare anything for your first session but if you find it helpful, you can jot down some points about specific things you’d like to work on or discuss with your therapist.
Are my therapy sessions confidential?
Everything you discuss with your therapist here at Indigo is absolutely confidential, and will not be shared unless you or someone else is at risk of serious harm.
How do I pay for my online therapy session?
For first time clients, payment is made via debit or credit card at the time of booking. For returning clients, there are a number of payment methods available such as authorised direct debit or online via the payments link on your invoice.
Who to contact if you are in crisis
The Indigo Project is not a crisis service.
- If you are in a crisis, if you are experiencing suicidal or homicidal thoughts, or somebody else is in danger, DO NOT use this service.
- Call 000 or use these contacts for immediate crisis support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
Lifeline 13 11 14 - A crisis support and suicide prevention service for all Australians.
Mental Health Line 1800 011 511 - The Mental Health Line offers professional help and advice for everyone. Operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 - Beyond Blue provide support to address issues related to depression, suicide, anxiety disorders and other related mental illnesses.
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 - A free service for people who are suicidal, caring for someone who is suicidal, bereaved by suicide or are health professionals supporting people affected by suicide.
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 - A counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.
Parentline 1300 1300 52 - Parent Line is a free telephone counselling and support service for parents and carers with children aged 0 to 18 who live in NSW.
What else does The Indigo Project do?
Our courses, workshops and events are designed to transform the way you think, feel and live.
Not ready to commit to therapy? Indigo founder Mary Hoang has created Get Your Sh*t Together, a self-directed digital course for those who want to develop greater self-awareness, tackle stress and anxiety, and learn practical skills to help heal, grow and thrive in life.
Mary has also written a book Darkness is Golden: A Guide to Personal Transformation and Dealing with Life's Messiness that combines her experience in the therapy room with unique audio experiences framed by her research in music psychology.
Although an online counselling practice, The Indigo Project believes in the power of community, and we often host events throughout the year. Keep an eye out for events such as Listen Up, a contemporary digital sound bath some describe as a “soundtracked therapy session”.
We are also available for corporate events, workshops and related projects. Please contact us at email@example.com if you’d like to know more.