Solution Focused Interactions are a relatively new approach to problem resolution and positive change, often helping clients achieve their goals in a short period of time.
Rather than focusing on what the problem is and where it came from, Solution Focused Interactions focus on the future and what we will be doing when the problem is gone. There is little attempt to look at the past, to understand problems, or to explain how the client got where they are today; reflecting one of the approaches key assumptions, that solutions do not necessarily have anything to do with problems.
The methodology draws implicitly on 2500 years of knowledge; from The Buddha to Ludwig Wittgenstein, explicitly on the individual and group work of Milton Erickson and John Weakland, and specifically on the work of Insoo Kim Berg and Steve De Shazer, at the Brief Family Therapy Centre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
This approach is similar to the maze puzzles we used to play as children. If we try and 'solve' the maze we frequently end up going down 'blind alleys' and becoming stuck. However, some of us discovered that if we started at the end of the maze (where we wanted to get to) and worked backwards, the process was much more straightforward and less time consuming.
Rather than attempting to trace the background (or supposed cause) of a problem, Solution Focused practitioners are more likely to ask a client, “If you don’t like where you are now (or what you’re doing now), where would you rather be (what would you
rather be doing)?” In many ways it’s a common sense approach: imagine you were in a restaurant and declined the 'Special' because you didn’t like it. Would you expect the waiter to ask you why you didn’t like it, how did you know you didn’t like it, when had you stopped liking it (had your mother cooked it for you as a child); or would you expect the waiter to ask you what you’d like instead? Solution Focused Interactions are like that; they are collaborative exchanges in which client and practitioner co-construct solutions based on what the client wants to achieve.