Supporting Information

Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

The Solution Focused Approach to building hope and useful change is used around the world with individuals and groups of people with a common interest, as well as teams and leaders within organizations. Practitioners from many different countries collaborate in their love for the work, sharing their ideas and learning from each other so that they offer the best possible support to their clients. Following are some examples of practitioners and their descriptions of the usefulness of the Solution Focused Approach.

“Solution Focus (SF) is a powerful and pragmatic approach to positive change. It enables people to build the change they desire in the shortest possible time. It improves relationships and builds people’s resources. It came into being through the pioneering work of Steve de Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg and their team, initially in the areas of social work and therapy. They found out that focusing on solutions and what is wanted brings better outcomes more quickly than focusing on the problem.”

Susanne Burgstaller, (Usolvit Consultants, Chris Iveson, BRIEF Practice) in Team Talk, Building Excellence with Solution Focused Skills


In this short video, Ann discusses her Solution Focused her approach.

“The solution-oriented approach in therapy, coaching or guidance is fundamentally different from the problem-oriented approach. The solution-oriented care provider, coach or supervisor focuses on the client's wishes for change rather than analysis of complaints and problem history. What does the client want differently? Where does the client want to work? He also focuses on qualities and successful skills of the client rather than shortcomings. The solution-oriented conversation helps the client to get a clear vision of his change needs and then work towards it with the right knowledge, skills and attitude. This makes the solution-oriented approach a goal-oriented, pragmatic approach.”

Solutions Centre Website, Netherlands


Solution Focused Living

My particular interest is helping people learn Solution Focused skills so that they can use these skills in everyday life. Here’s what Rayya Ghul has to say in her wonderful book, The Power of the Next Small Step.

“Instead of going over the past looking for what went wrong, you spend time looking at what is going right and which you could build on. Rather than examining your flaws and mistakes, you identify strengths and resources. Instead of getting advice, you come up with realistic, creative and sustainable solutions which fit with your lifestyle and values. Instead of complaining about things out of your control, such as other people or the economy, you spend time identifying the most useful action you can take right now which might make a difference.”

“When you shift to a Solution Focus your world will slowly change for the better. You start to see situations differently. People appear different, and you start to see challenges as opportunities. Most importantly, when you start to explore a situation using a solution focus, you have more confidence that your efforts will make a difference.” - Rayya Ghul, The Power of the Next Small Step



Following are the guiding principles of the Companioning approach to supporting people at end of life and through loss and grief. Companioning and Solution Focus have a beautiful synchronicity.


Dr Wolfelt’s Tenets of Companioning the Bereaved

Dr Alan Wolfelt is an author, educator, and grief counsellor. He is the founder and director of the Centre for Loss and Life Transition and is known across North America for his inspirational teaching gifts. But he is perhaps best known for his model of “companioning” versus “treating” those facing end of life or mourning the death of a loved one.

  1. Being present to another person’s pain; it is not about taking away the pain.
  2. Going to the wilderness of the soul with another human being; it is not about thinking you are responsible for finding the way out.
  3. Honouring the spirit; it is not about focusing on the intellect.
  4. Listening with the heart; it is not about analysing with the head.
  5. Bearing witness to the struggles of others; it is not about judging or directing these struggles.
  6. Walking alongside; it is not about leading.
  7. Discovering the gifts of sacred silence; it is not about filling up every moment with words.
  8. Being still; it is not about frantic movement forward.
  9. Respecting disorder and confusion; it is not about imposing order and logic.
  10. Learning from others; it is not about teaching them.
  11. Compassionate curiosity; it is not about expertise.
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