In other words, there need not be mutually exclusive. In fact, he posits that considerable benefits can be derived if one is not limited to dogmatism. Drawing from Kollar's (2011) word study of psychotherapy he concludes, "Thus, psychotherapy means ministering to the soul or being of another person" (p. 26).
Benner (2003) eloquently elucidates this framework, "Strategic pastoral counseling is a brief, structured counseling approach that is explicitly Christian and that appropriates the insights of contemporary counseling theory without sacrificing the resources of pastoral ministry" (p. 47).
Inherent within the L.E.A.P.S. rationale are paradigms of empowerment and sustainable life transformation. Interwoven in this philosophy is the dictum that the first thing is to do no harm. In this regard Wehr (2010) poses the rhetorical question, "Why spend time talking, thinking and analyzing the problem over months when clients actually have the resources and abilities to discover idiosyncratic solutions more rapidly without focusing on the problem?" (p. 476).
In other words, conjecture and the opinions of various practitioners does not provide adequate basis for implementation of the model. Rather, we at L.E.A.P.S. posit that qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-research methodologies should support the presuppositions of the model. In this regard, the model establishes its validity and veracity across a spectrum of contexts.
In other words, despite the fact that SFBT does place some degree of emphasis on brevity, this is not done at the expense of the solution-focused rationale. In addition, our therapeutic services are open to persons of all gender, cultures, races, ethnicity, color, socio-economic standing. In short, we do not discriminate but will use our professional judgment where referral is preferred.
120 Minute Session
- How do you learn to recognize and develop personal paradigm?
- Understand that the counselors first and foremost intend is to do no harm
- Begin to define counselor and counselee boundaries
- Counselor begins to extract personal and family pertinent historical issues
- Overview of the importance of recognizing one's personal value system
- Discussion and exploration of the Solution-Focused approach to counseling
60 Minute Session
- Begin exploration of affective, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of counselee problems
- Sensitize the counselee to his/her own feelings, thoughts and behavior
- Strategically allow the counselee to explore his/her feelings, thoughts and behavior
- Counselor strategically identifies counselee's specific personal strengths and weakness
- Counselor-counselee begins to explore possible resources for coping with change
- Both counselor and counselee identify and mutually agree on the resources for coping with change
60 Minute Session
- Begin to conduct clinical counselee diagnosis
- How does counselor-counselee relationship affect the positive outcomes of therapy?
- Encouragement of unrestricted counselee introspection, self-reflection and self-disclosure
- Help counselee identify areas of enmeshment or dysfunction
- Delve deeper through conversation enlargement
- Arrive at a mutually agreeable solution-focus for counseling experience
60 Minute Session
- Counselor begins to engage diverse counseling techniques such as role-playing, letter writing, journaling, stress releasing exercises etc.
- Counselor presses deeper into affective, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of the counselee's underlying problem(s)
- Counselor provides ample opportunity for the release of feelings and emotions, through crying and other structured exercises and techniques
- Maintain an atmosphere conducive to counselee engaging in "genuine work" as the counselor facilitates the counselee's to free emotional intensity
- Counselor employs heightened empathic listening skills
- Counselor- counselee engagement enters more solution-focused engagement
- Communication exchanges are heightened with more counselee disclosure and reflection
- Counselor-counselee relationship and trust continues to build
- Counselee allows themselves to become more open and vulnerable
60 Minute Session
- Redefined understanding of the purpose, goals, and contexts of previous counseling sessions
- Counselor engages key interpersonal communication nuances such as dialogic listening, real listening, and nexting
- Counselor assists the counselee in consolidating their personal goals and objectives
- Counselor facilitates the counselee removal of false perceptions, while promoting personal identity formation
- Counselors enters initiates the closing phase process in preparation for the closing stage i.e. final session
60 Minute Session
- Evaluation of the counselee's overall progress in previous sessions
- Make a clinical and definite assessment of any counselor-counselee concerns
- Counselor gives impetus to the disengagement process by highlighting positive change in the counselee, while providing supportive feedback where appropriate
- Based on outcome of assessment counselor decides if referral is needed
- In the event that referral is not preferred, make a final determination if counseling sessions should be terminated or continued
- The counselor brings the complete solution-focused and strategic counseling experience all together
Within the helping profession, diverse schools of thought continue to arise with respect to the benefits of the solution-focused approach as opposed to the traditional problem-focused approach to counseling. Of course, various merits and demerits have been put forward depending on which side of the fence one has chosen to sit. As it relates to the contributions of Positive Psychology, a key variable associated with successful interventions is focused on behavioral transformation.
Perhaps the best method to demonstrate Positive Psychology in the context of this solution-based short-term discussion; is by making reference to practical situations. In recent studies conducted in the school setting an action research rationale was investigated. According to Franklin, Moore, and Hopson (2008), the use of SFBT in school settings demonstrates "positive outcomes in increasing self-esteem and positive attitudes. SFBT focuses on students' future behavior by formulating behavioral tasks that lead to rapid solutions. This approach shifts the students' focus from despair and deficiency to hope and potential (Newsome, 2005).
As previously stated, a number of variables attend the use of positive psychology in relation to the engagement of SFBT. However, based on some of the research conducted at L.E.A.P.S., it has become evident that scholars are exploring new avenues and opportunities to integrate the nuances. Furthermore, it is imperative to point out that the breadth of its use continues to expand. According to Grant (2011) "Originally developed in the counseling and therapeutic fields, solution-focused approaches are increasingly being utilized in a wide range of human change methodologies and various coaching applications" (p. 98)
Another interesting development with respect to the engagement of SFBT is providing therapy for couples. Seedall (2009) elaborates quite explicitly on its potential engagement with respect to both couples and groups such as families,
Although systematic treatment with individuals is an important and often neglected aspect of marriage and family therapy models, it is also necessary to make more explicit nuances of SFBT when treating couples and the manner in which dyadic processes, such as coupled-focused enactments, might be used to enact SFBT (p. 100).
In summary, the engagement of SFBT and Positive Psychology is currently being used quite extensively in the helping profession, and in diverse contexts. In addition, new and innovative methodologies and treatment modalities are being engaged both individually and collectively. From the Christian worldview, sustainable behavioral changes alluded to contextually have at their core a spiritual process that incorporates renewal of the mind and purification of the heart (Rom. 12: 1-2, Phil. 2:5, Phil. 4:7, Ps. 119:11, Ps. 139:23, Prov. 23:7, Ezek. 18:31, 2 Thes. 3:5, Heb. 4:12, Jas 4:8).
Benner, D. G. (2003). Strategic pastoral counseling: A short-term structured model. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.
Franklin, C., Moore, K., & Hopson, L. (2008). Effectiveness of solution-focused brief therapy in a school setting. Children & Schools, 30(1), 15-26.
Kollar, C. A. (2011). Solution-focused pastoral counseling: An effective short-term approach for getting people back on track. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Newsome, W. S. (2005). The impact of solution-focused brief therapy with at-risk junior high school students. Children & Schools, 27(2), 83-90.
Seedall, R. B. (2009). Enhancing change process in solution-focused brief therapy by utilizing couple enactments. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 37, 99-113.
Wehr, T. (2010). The phenomenology of exception times: Qualitative differences between problem-focused and solution-focused interventions. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24, 467-480.