Center for Solution-Focused Training

ABOUT SOLUTION-FOCUSED THERAPY


 

 

   

Current and former clients: please let me know how our work together was helpful to you.
I see that you're a social worker. Can social workers do therapy?

Want to know what other clients have said about working with me? Click here.

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 them into his office.  This was a very different way of thinking about therapy (it still is).  Most therapy is practiced from a theory.   So the client is viewed through the lens of the therapist's theoretical orientation.  What de Shazer was doing was very different; he was learning what works from clients who were figuring things out.  De Shazer learned to ask useful questions and these questions helped the client think in more positive and useful ways about their predicaments.   As he developed these useful questions from the clients, he applied them to other clients keeping the ones that work.  Later with his wife, Insoo Kim Berg, and other therapists at the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, they continued to research and develop the solution-focused approach.  Finally in 1982, they called what they were doing, solution-focus brief therapy.  I think a useful way of grasping what solution focus is about is to imagine that someone says to a therapist that they have a problem 98% of their waking hours.  The traditional therapist who might practice from a problem focused approach would 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 therapy and short-term therapy?

The focus of short-term therapy is usually on the number of sessions.  For example, the therapist might tell the client that they have 20 sessions together and anything that is to be accomplished 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 solution to the problem that motivated you to seek help and not one session more or less 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. 
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But my problems are very complicated; won't I need a lot of sessions?

That would be true if we focused on the problems rather than what you want to be different and more satisfying in your life.  I suppose it's like taking a trip.  By having a specific direction (goal), there's a much better chance you're going to get somewhere useful and get there more briefly than without a plan.  In fact, The Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change , a well respected book that covers over 60 years of psychotherapy research, states that in comparative studies of brief and time unlimited therapy there are virtually no differences in  terms of both long-term and short-term results.
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What should I expect when I meet with you?

Before we first meet, I will ask you to think about how you will know that our meetings together are being useful to you.  This will be the question that will begin our journey together.  Pretty much the rest of the time will be spent putting the details on that difference.  Once I've gathered as much information about your vision of a better future as I need, I'll probably take a break, go off by myself, review my notes, think about our conversation, and then return to share those thoughts with you.  I might (and probably will) have a suggestion of something for you to do, or think about after you return home.    
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 How often will we meet?

Whether 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 meeting weekly.  My experience tells me that most of what happens that moves therapy in a positive direction occurs between sessions: in your real life.    
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How much do you charge?

I 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 what we accomplish together.    
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Do you have a sliding scale?

With the fee schedule above, there really isn't a need.  But, if $65 is still too much, talk to me - we'll work out something.  I can also process credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover) if that's more convenient for you.   
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Do you take insurance?

I 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.

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I don't live near you, but I would really like the idea of working solution-focused.  Can this be arranged?

If you are interested in working with me specifically, it is possible to do this even if your don't live near-by.  I have done phone counseling with clients in other parts of this country and other countries as well.

You can complete a Contact Form and let me know of your interest. I'll contact you to arrange for sessions.

Payment for therapy sessions can be made on-line. See the therapy payment page.

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).

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All right, I'm ready to make the move.  How do I contact you to set up our first appointment?

That's simple: Contact me or call 845-778-7106.

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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.

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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.

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