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What is solution-focus brief therapy?
The basic ideas
for solution-focus brief therapy
began over 30 years ago. Steve de Shazer became
interested in what
people do that help them find solutions to the problems that brought
his office. This was a very different way of thinking about
still is). Most therapy is practiced from a theory.
So the client
is viewed through the lens of the therapist's theoretical orientation.
de Shazer was doing was very different; he was learning what works from
who were figuring things out. De Shazer learned to ask useful
and these questions helped the client think in more positive and useful
about their predicaments. As he developed these useful
the clients, he applied them to other clients keeping the ones that
Later with his wife, Insoo Kim Berg, and other therapists at
Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, they continued to
research and develop
the solution-focused approach. Finally in 1982, they called
were doing, solution-focus brief therapy. I think a useful
grasping what solution focus is about is to imagine that someone says
therapist that they have a problem 98% of their waking hours.
traditional therapist who might practice from a problem focused
want to know a lot about the 98%. The solution-focused
therapist would be
interested in the 2%. TOP
What is the difference between brief
and short-term therapy?
focus of short-term therapy is usually on
the number of sessions. For example, the therapist might tell
that they have 20 sessions together and anything that is to be
will have to be completed within the 20 sessions. Brief
therapy, as we
define it, is as many sessions as necessary to develop a satisfactory
to the problem that motivated you to seek help and not one session more
than that. In my experience as a brief therapist, I usually
find that brief
therapy is actually shorter than short-term therapy. The 1995 Consumer
Reports study obtained self-report data from 2,900 therapy clients.
This was the biggest follow-up study of psychotherapy ever undertaken.
The study found that psychotherapy works, but that there was no link
between problem type and which therapy was helpful; that clients who
make active choices about their therapy do better. Restrictions on the client’s choice of therapist or on the length of treatment reduced the effectiveness of therapy. TOP
But my problems are very complicated;
I need a lot of sessions?
would be true if we focused on the
problems rather than what you want to be different and more satisfying
life. I suppose it's like taking a trip. By having
direction (goal), there's a much better chance you're going to get
useful and get there more briefly than without a plan. In
Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change , a well
respected book that
covers over 60 years of psychotherapy research, states that in
studies of brief and time unlimited therapy there are virtually no
in terms of both long-term and short-term results.
What should I expect when I meet with you?
we first meet, I will ask you to think
about what you want to be different and better in our working together. This will be the question that will begin our journey
Pretty much the rest of the time will be spent putting the
that difference. Once we've discussed how you want things to be different and better, I'll take a break, think about our conversation, review my notes, and then return to share those
with you. I might (and probably will) have a suggestion of
you to do, or think about after you've returned home. TOP
How often will we meet?
we will continue to meet, how often,
and when we should schedule our next appointment will be your decision
to make. There's no evidence to show that there's any advantage in
My experience tells me that most of what happens that moves
therapy in a
positive direction occurs between sessions: in your real life.
Other therapists either don't return my calls or are full. How come you're able to take new clients?
Many therapists expect to see clients on a weekly basis. Once their caseload is full, they stop making appointments for new callers. As I said before, I believe that what happens as a result of therapy happens inbetween sessions and people need time to notice what's happening in their lives they want to continue and happen even more. Because of this, I don't expect to see people weekly which means I usually have openings in my schedule. TOP
How much do you charge?
charge $65 each session for the first four sessions and $85 each session for any
additional sessions. Because I work briefly, usually 3 or 4
sessions are sufficient to get you on track. The first
session is often longer than the others. I don't stick
rigidly to a 50
minute session; it could be longer, it could be shorter depending upon
accomplish together. TOP
Do you have a sliding scale?
the fee schedule above,
there really isn't a need. But, if $65 is still too much,
me - we'll work out something. I can also process credit
(Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover) if that's more
convenient for you. Payment for therapy sessions can be made on-line. See the therapy payment page. TOP
Do you take insurance?
am on many insurance companies' provider list. I would sugest that you
contact your insurance company either via the phone number on the back
of your ID card or using the company's internet website and verfiy that
I am a provder for your policy. When you call to make an appointment,
make sure that you have your insurance information on hand.
PLEASE NOTE: Since
the Affortable Care Act, many insurance companies now offer a lower
cost policies with a high deductible. If you are insured by your
employer, you may also be insured under a high deductible policy in
order to keep costs down. What this means is that you must first
satsify the deductible by paying directly before your insurance will
cover services. The deductible can range from a few hundred dollars to
thousands. Before you call for an appointment, I suggest that you
contact your insurance company and ask about your policy so there won't
be any surprises. TOP
I don't live near you, but I would really
like the idea of working solution-focused. Can this be
If you are interested in working
specifically, it is possible to do this even if your don't
near-by. We can arrange virtual sessions using a HIPPA compliant virtual platform. To arrange virtual sessions, contact me at 845-778-7106. TOP
I see that you're a social worker. Can social workers do therapy?
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker
(LCSW), I am recognized by New York State as having the education,
training and experience that allows me to "diagnose and treat mental
illness." We have many years of meta-analysis of psychotherapy outcome
(meta-analysis is the results of various studies on therapy). Some of
this research outcome compares the effectiveness of different
professional disciplines. Here are a few relevant quotes:
"It should be emphasized that few
differences in outcome rates have been found among therapists of
different disciplines, however among therapists representing the three
major mental health professions [psychiatrists, psychologists and
social workers], social workers adopted a more direct and
problem-centered approach to treatment and when differences in outcome
rates did accrue, they tended to favor social workers." (Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change, 3rd edition).
"Respondents were asked to rate the
severity of their problem at the time they sought treatment and again
at the end. A very similar percentage of those seeing psychologists and
those seeing psychiatrists indicated that they had improved on this
scale. Those who saw social workers, however, rated their improvement
somewhat higher." (Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change, 5th edition).
Simply put, in terms of positive
outcome from psychotherapy, social workers did at least as well as
psychiatrists and psychologists. One last note, when psychiatrists were
recently surveyed, it was found that 90% reported that they no longer
did psychotherapy. TOP
All right, I'm ready to make the move. How do I contact you to set up our first appointment? TOP
That's simple: Contact me or call 845-778-7106.
If you are a current or a former client and would be willing to give feedback of your experience, you can do so by going to the feedback page. Want to know what other clients have said about working with me? Click here. TOP
Be aware that there are many therapists who claim to be solution focused who are anything but solution focused. For more information about how to judge whether someone is really solution focused, click here or watch this video by clicking on the picture (requires Adobe Flash).