Phone (619) 786-6222
MAGGIE SLASKA, LMFT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (89883)
Solution Focused Therapy is less interested in dredging up the past or digging around in the mud. Rather, it simply looks for solutions that work. This approach really fits with who I am and how I prefer to be in conversation with people. The basic idea behind Solution-focused therapy is to look for solutions rather than analyzing, classifying and "treating" problems. This approach is grounded in a social constructionist philosophy that believes problems are created in contexts/systems. It is a way to think more positively about people, problems and change.
Solution-focused techniques target what works rather than what doesn't. It is a non-labeling approach that emphasizes the strengths and resources of clients to collaboratively reach goals and resolve problems rapidly. We do not seek to label or dis-ease persons who seek our consultation. Instead, we are more like careful detectives, interviewing for solutions, searching for sparkling moments where the problem does not exist.
For a good overview of existing research literature regarding Solution-focused techniques, click here.
Solution-focused and Narrative Therapy
Narrative Therapy is connected to Solution-focused therapy, but is more interested in the complex stories that we tell about ourselves and the stories that others tell about us. Narrative therapy is not just about telling stories, rather it's how we have been trained to speak about our experiences. It is also about trying to find new ways of speaking that help us feel better, behave in new ways and shift our relationships with others.
When I was a student at San Diego State University for MFT training, I was delighted to discover that it was one of the few Narrative Therapy training centers in the country. The philosophy made so much sense to me; it challenged me but it also helped me to figure out why I was unhappy with my previous work in the non-profit field. I realized that the way clients were talked about (labeled and seen as lacking) was not accurately representing the complexities of their lives. I always noticed the tremendous resiliencies in clients, but this did not necessarily have the attention of program administrators. This bothered me because I felt like they only saw the negative and they ignored the positive parts of the people they served.
Narrative therapy is different than traditional forms of therapy--meaning that the therapist is not trying to find out what's wrong with you. Instead, we provide consultations to develop alternative stories, ways of thinking about you and your life that are more empowering, more descriptive of your deepest intentions, your values, your hopes and the things you prefer. I love it because it inspires me to ask people questions about places of possibility and not-yet-told dreams; it is a powerful way to change how we speak and think. We might wonder: "What has been left out? Which parts were forgotten and would it be more useful to re-tell events in a way that honors our resiliencies?"
You can find out more about Narrative Therapy here.
"The person is not the problem.
The problem is the problem."