What Works When Learning Solution Focused Brief Therapy: A Qualitative Study of Trainees' Experiences

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Virginia Tech

With its growing popularity in the field, Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) training workshops are becoming more prevalent in the family therapy training field. Because SFBT represents an innovative approach to therapy, does teaching this model demand innovative ways to train its students or are the same methods used in teaching other models of family therapy sufficient? To begin to address this question, it would be important to know how trainees experience SFBT training as it currently exists. This study qualitatively examined the process that trainees experienced when learning SFBT. Fifteen individuals responded to an email questionnaire, with 7 of those individuals participating in follow-up telephone interviews. In summary, being able to practice using a solution focused approach with clients and receiving supervision on those sessions from a supervisor who used a solution focused framework in giving feedback were factors identified as being most helpful in facilitating the learning process. The study also examined how the participants merged their existing beliefs about people and the therapeutic process with the assumptions inherent to SFBT. Finally, the study examined distinct moments, defined as moments after which the trainee knew that SFBT was a model they could use effectively with their clients. The distinct moments provided a picture of how the training and learning came together in practice for the participants.

trainee perspective, family therapy training, Solution Focused Brief Therapy