In the past, most people thought that all therapists were trained, thought about therapy, and worked similarly. Now there is a greater awareness that there are differences (in fact, there are about 500 different models and theories of therapy). I have received calls and emails from people looking specifically for solution focused brief therapist. While there are more schools that teach solution focus and more training centers, unfortunately the number of those who actually practice solution focus are far and few in between. The field of psychotherapy is truly caveat emptor ("buyer beware"). In this cyber world, more people are turning to search engines like Google to find therapists. What you find is that the initial search results are often from the www.psychologytoday.com website. They have done a good job of getting their results to the top of the list. If you enter, for example, "solution focus therapist in Walden, NY" once again the psychologytoday results are right on the top. If you click on that, you'll find a list of therapists who have indicated that they practice solution focus. How can you descriminate between those that claim they are soluton focused but practice anything but, and those that practice consistent to the model? There are really two ways to figure this out:
1: Do they list other models that are inconsistent with solution focus? Take for example this actual listing: "coaching, cognitive behavioral, eclectic, emotionally focused therapy, family/marital, humanistic, interpersonal, psychodynamic, relational, solution focused brief, strengths based therapy." Solution focus is not a problem focused approach; cognitive behavioral, emotionally focused, psychodynamic, and humanistic therapies are all problem focused approaches. This is clearly evidence of an individual who checked off a group of listings that in fact are nothing short of contradictory. You can't practice solution focus and still say you practice psychodynamic therapy. It just doesn't make sense. A listing such as this is a dead give away that this therapist is not solution focused.
2: Do they list any indication that they have had solution focused training either on the website or on their own website (if they have one). Solution focus is a therapy designed to be simple. But, don't mistake simple with easy. It takes good training. good supervision, and a lot of practice experience to become a competent practitioner of solution focus brief therapy. It's not something that you learn by reading a book or two - if they even do that! If there is no indication of training with a qualified and legitimate solution focused trainer, then they are again checking a box without the requisite training, experience and background.
So, how do you find an experienced therapist who actually practices consistent with the solution focused model. Certainly evaluate the prospective therapist by using the criteria above. You can also go to the Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association's website (www.sfbta.org/SF_therapists.html). They list therapists who practice solution focus.
If you have any question about the legitimacy of a therapist who claims to be solution focused, you can always email me. Once I receive your email, I'll review the therapist's information and let you know my opinion. Please include the following information:
Your email address
The name of the therapist
The website where you found his/her name
The city/town/county/region that you used in the search.
The therapist's website (if they have one)
further information contact