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Feminist Solution-Focused and Narrative Therapy Application

Feminist Solution-Focused and Narrative Therapy Application

For the case study of Ana, the best approach would be to utilize Solution-Focused therapy. Ana is facing a lot of stress in her surroundings and feels there is no solution, feeling trapped and hopeless. She is a single mother, her husband is overseas, and is now unemployed. She does not have family close by and does not have other support around. However, it seems her trigger was losing her job, causing a lot of anxiety and then having a trickling effect of other stresses. Solution-Focused therapy would be beneficial for Ana because it can look at her current problems and help her explore and discover goals and solutions she can utilize. Solution-focused therapy is a short-term, goal-directed, hands-on, problem-solving approach (Murdock, 2017). It focuses on clients’ strengths and resources, and the therapeutic process is active and engaged (Lee, 2003). Ana will be able to get the help she needs in a shorter time span, looking at what her goals and wishes are and exploring solutions that can help solve the problems she is currently facing.

Goals and Interventions

The goals of solution-focused therapy focus on finding out what the client wants and working with the client to develop goals that are attainable, specific, and concrete. Clients work on changing the actions of the problem situation by changing the way the problem situation is viewed and evoking and bringing resources and strengths to the situation perceived as problematic (Murdock, 2017). Interventions utilized in solution-focused therapy include questioning, normalizing the problem, compliments, miracle questions, scaling questions, fast-forward questioning, asking about the problem, externalizing, first session formula tasks, generic tasks, breaking patterns, surprise tasks, write/read/burn, and structured fights. There are many to choose from that help the client picture the problems in a different light and work towards solving it by changing the labels it is given as well as the way it is talked about (Murdock, 2017). According to Lethem (2002), key skills of solution-focused therapy involve asking questions- helping the clients explore and build up pictures of a preferred future. Even though there are many interventions and techniques used in this approach, there are some that have a special emphasis, which includes externalization, miracle questioning, complimenting the client, normalizing the problem, and scaling questions. Externalization refers to giving the “complaint” (problem) a name and placing it outside of the client. This is utilized to help separate the problem and the client, giving the client a better perspective. Normalizing the problem is beneficial as it reassures clients that others also struggle with the same type of issues. This can help the client feel they are not alone (Murdock, 2017). Miracle Questioning helps clients think and figure out what they want in therapy (such as their goals). The therapist asks clients to think of a scenario of a miracle occurring and the problem being solved; how does that look to them? This helps clients get a sense of solutions already (Murdock, 2017). Scaling questions helps clients think in small but positive steps. Clients are asked to scale their problems using a numbered scale normally from 1-10, with 1 being worst and 10 being best. Scaling helps rank, quantify, and evaluate situations to see their own progress (Lee, 2003). Lastly, complimenting simply means praising the client and offering compliments for how they are doing in the therapeutic process, how far they have come, and the strength to endure what they have thus far. It adds a positive connotation and offers a chance for the client to reframe their problems (Murdock, 2017).

Treatment

Solution-focused therapy is more of a shorter-term, active, goal-directed therapy. It is also considered less costly and considered favorable by insurance companies. Therapy sessions range from about four to five, with most solutions taking place in fewer than ten sessions (Murdock, 2017). Solution-focused therapy is a collaborative venture in which the client and therapist work to have a cooperative, respectful, and collaborative relationship where each party is considered equal. The counselor and client are usually referred to as the “personal consultant,” and “customer,” with the problem being described as the “complaint.” The therapist works to establish a positive rapport with the client, provide informed consent over all aspects of the therapeutic process, and work to establish harmony in their relationship. Therapists do not impose their values onto the client and allow the client to take the lead in creating their own goals and solutions to their problems (complaints) (Murdock, 2017). The client should know that what he is getting into, show up, be present and participate, and maintain rapport with the therapist. Clients are the experts of themselves and their situations; counselors are the experts of change. Clients also give feedback to the therapist and the therapeutic process when asked or inquired about (Murdock, 2017).

Theories of Social and Cultural Needs

Solution-focused theory can be used in a wide variety of different settings, such as individuals, in groups, with families, and with those of diverse backgrounds. This theory puts the clients in charge of the therapeutic process and fits cultural and social approval (Bidwell, 2010). This therapeutic technique is utilized in schools, places of employment, and other settings where people are eager to reach out their goals. Individuals from different cultures, age groups, and backgrounds have all benefited from utilizing solution-focused therapy. According to Murphy (2013), proponents say that “with less time spent on history taking and diagnoses, the SFBT approach is well suited to the new realities of limited insurance benefits and the increasing need for community mental health outreach.” This method is a respectful and sensitive clinical practice in a cross-cultural context (Lee, 2003).

Constructivist Philosophy and Counseling

Constructivist therapists act as facilitators of change rather than leaders. This can help those in treatment recognize patterns and break free of them to create life changes. Constructivism includes order, a sense of self, and active agency. It also values a collaborative approach, where the client and therapist work as equals in the treatment process (Good Therapy, 2021). Meaning in life is created not by an individual, but the reality is rather socially constructed by being in relation to others. Therapists and clients work together, co-constructing meaning together through conversation (Very Well Mind, 2021). According to Bidwell (2000), the reality is socially constructed, holding that nothing in the world is objectively known. We create our reality out of our correlation with the impressions of others and our impressions of ourselves. To add, a problem is only so because that is how clients perceive it to be; by changing perception, a problem can be solved.

Counselor-Client Interaction

Solution-focused therapy is considered one of the newer postmodern/collaborative approaches. A basic principle in this theory is that the relationship between the therapist and the client should be more collaborative, not authoritative. As mentioned previously, the therapist is considered a “personal consultant” to the client, who is considered to be the “customer” (Bidwell, 200). The counselor is there to understand the “complaint” of the client in their own perceptions and to help the client make positive transformations in their life. The counselor must be sure to provide empathy and active listening and consider themselves equal to the client. Counselors should also not be judgmental and be sure not to impose their values onto the client; this can prevent any issues of undue harm, risk, or confusion from impeding the progress of therapy (Murdock, 2017). Counselors should take on a “not-knowing” stance and let the clients set their own goals and have control of their own therapeutic process. They should seek to understand the client’s view of their problems and not assume priori expertise in solving the client’s issues (Lee, 2003).

Conclusion

Solution-focused therapy is a short-term, goal-directed therapy that guides clients to bring out their strengths and resources and develop goals and solutions to solve the issues they are facing. This approach does not deal too much with the client’s past history or problem history in detail. The client and the therapist have a collaborative and respectful relationship, and both are equals in the therapeutic setting. Counselors ensure that the client is leading the way and does not impose any values onto the client. The therapist is the expert on change, and the client is the expert on themselves and their situation. Clients set the goals and solutions for therapy. Therapy is short, normally around- sessions, but could be more dependent on the client and situation. Techniques that are important to solution-focused therapy include questioning, complimenting, normalizing the problem, scaling questions, and externalizing. These all help the client to separate the problem from the client, normalize it so they do not feel alone with what they are facing, and help the client try to envision the problem and see how it would look if it were to be solved. There are criticisms of this theory, and more research is being built on it for empirical support. Some criticisms include that it is too short term, neglects the historical and important parts of the clients, does not enough time given to empathize with the client, could create misunderstandings, and discards information deemed important by other theories (Good Therapy, 2016). Despite this, there is more and more research being done that is showing more empirical support for the theory. This theory has a receptive attitude towards cultural diversity and is utilized in a wide variety of settings as well as with a variety of different clients. This theory takes all the additional stuff out (history, timelines, etc.) that may not always be needed, getting straight to the point (the complaint), and working with the client’s resources, strengths, and thoughts, then working to develop goals and solutions to solve the problems. Ana could benefit from utilizing solution-focused therapy as she is limited on sessions (to start), she needs to find fast solutions, and she will be able to develop goals and solutions for herself while pulling on the strengths and resources that she has available to her. According to Bidwell (2010), it is about “doing more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.”

References

Bidwell, D. R. (2000). Hope and Possibility: The Theology of Culture Inherent to Solution-Focused Brief Therapy. American Journal of Pastoral Counseling, 3(1), 3.

Caddell, Jeney. Constructivism in Psychology and Psychotherapy. July 30th, 2019. Very Well Mind. Retrieved on March 7th, 2021. https://www.verywellmind.com/constructivism- and-psychotherapy-2337730.

Constructivism. August 18th, 2016. Good Therapy. Retrieved on March 7th, 2021 from, https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/constructivism.

Lethem, J. (2002). Brief Solution Focused Therapy. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 7(4), 189–192.

Lee, M. Y. (2003). A Solution-Focused Approach to Cross-Cultural Clinical Social Work Practice Utilizing Cultural Strengths. Families in Society, 84(3), 385–395. https://doi.org/10.1606/1044-3894.118.

Murdock, N. L. (2017). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy: A case approach (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. ISBN-13: 9780134240220.

Murphy, Stacy N. Keeping it Brief. July 1st, 2013. Counseling Today. Retrieved on March 7th, 2021 from, https://ct.counseling.org/2013/07/keeping-it-brief/.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy. March 8th, 2018. Good Therapy. Retrieved on March 6th, 2021 from, https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/solution-focused-therapy.

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Question 


For this Discussion, you will write a case conceptualization from the point of view of a constructivist counselor, choosing either a solution-focused or narrative approach. These are two distinct theories under the constructivist umbrella, so please choose one of them to develop your case conceptualization.

Feminist Solution-Focused and Narrative Therapy Application

Feminist Solution-Focused and Narrative Therapy Application

As you review this week’s Learning Resources and media files, note techniques and interventions, and consider the role of either a solution-focused or narrative counselor in planning treatment. Further, reflect on these theories with respect to developing your own theoretical orientation. In what ways do you find that constructivist theories with therapy may resonate with your own point of view?

To Prepare:

Review this week’s Learning Resources and consider any language and techniques that might be used by a counselor that is specific to each theory.

Review the Psychoanalytic Case Conceptualization Example found in this week’s Learning Resources and use this document to prepare your initial Discussion post.

Select one of the case studies presented in this week’s Learning Resources (already chosen), and answer the following points from the point of view of either solution-focused or narrative therapy. Use your Learning Resources and the notes you took on language and technique from the Learning Resources, and integrate examples from the case to support your post. Include the following:

Presenting Problem

Hypothesis

Treatment Goals

Identification and explanation of at least two techniques and interventions

Expected Outcome

****CASE OF: OLIVIA****

Resources

West-Olatunji, C. A., & Butler, T. (2022). Constructivist theories: Solution focused and narrative therapies. In D. Capuzzi & M. D. Stauffer (Eds.), Counseling and psychotherapy: Theories and interventions (7th ed., pp. 335-358). American Counseling Association.

Psychotherapy.net. (Producer). (2007a). Narrative therapy with children. [Video file].Links to an external site. Mill Valley, CA: Author.

Psychotherapy.net. (Producer). (2007b). Solution-focused child therapy. [Video file].Links to an external site. Mill Valley, CA: Author.

Psychotherapy.net. (Producer). (2008c). Irreconcilable difference: a solution-focused approach to marital therapy with Insoo Kim Berg. [Video file].Links to an external site. Mill Valley, CA: Author.

Psychotherapy.net. (Producer). (2011). Narrative family therapy. [Video file].Links to an external site. Mill Valley, CA: Author.

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