Solution Focused Coaching and Therapy

Imagine drawing a circle and colouring it in with yellow. If I asked you what was inside the circle you would likely answer ‘yellow.’ If a black dot then appeared in the circle and I asked you to tell me what was in it, you might now answer ‘a black dot.’ But what has happened to the yellow? Has it disappeared? This can be the same in our life, our attention can be directed to one thing and that’s all we focus on. Often when we have a problem in our life, that’s all we see, and everything can be dominated by that.

Swapping the problem with the solution

Solution focused coaching and therapy is an evidence-based approach which helps create change by focusing on solutions rather than the problem and its causes. It originated over 30 years ago in Milwaukee, USA when family therapists realised that they did not have to know the details or causes of a problem to help clients arrive at a solution. They found that focusing on what clients wanted to be different lifted them out of problem talk and into a new way of seeing. 

When our thoughts are dominated by a problem and we try hard to understand how things went wrong, we can often feel overwhelmed and powerless. Our identity can be tied up with this problem and this is all we see (like the dot in the yellow circle). When we only see this version of ourselves it can hard to find a way to move forward and we can end up spinning our wheels. 

“Problem talk creates problems. Solution talk creates solutions.” Steve de Shazer, Co-Founder of SFBT
Focusing on outcomes – what do you want instead?

When we start focusing on what we do want rather than on what we don’t want, our attention is drawn to the horizon rather than down in the dirt track. We can get back on the road, move in a forward direction and make positive changes. 

When we are stepping into a taxi, it is because we want to get somewhere. We hope to move from position A to position B. In my coaching and therapy sessions I will ask you what you are hoping to get from our talking – your outcome. Then, we start talking about the things you will notice when your hopes and outcomes are realised and where some of those things might already be happening in your life. 

“My focus moved away from fears and failures to hopes and potential. Rather than dwelling on negative past experiences Jo helped me remember the positive experiences that proved that what I hoped for was possible.” 

You are your own expert

The solution focused approach views you as the expert in your life. As a therapist and coach, I am trained to do solution focused work, but I am not an expert on you. Through our conversation I invite you to recognise a version of yourself that can help you achieve your best hopes and outcomes.  This is a brief approach because you decide when you are ready to end coaching or therapy and continue your journey on your own, drawing on your own expertise as you do so.

“Jo doesn’t give you solutions but helps you find your own and because these solutions come from you, they make complete sense and are totally workable.” 

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