Skip to main content

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), also called Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT), is a short-term, goal-oriented therapeutic approach that incorporates positive psychology principles and practices to help teenagers focus on identifying and building solutions to problems rather than analyzing the underlying causes or issues. It was developed by Steve de Shazer (1940-2005), and Insoo Kim Berg (1934-2007) in collaboration with their colleagues at the Milwaukee Brief Family Therapy Center in the early 1980s. According to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, SFBT is based on several assumptions:

  • The only constant in life is change.
  • The teenager must want to change.
  • Small changes can lead to big outcomes.
  • The teenager—not the therapist—is the expert.
  • Therapy is short term.
  • Every problem has exceptions.
  • Change can occur more easily when the teen’s focus is on the present and future.
  • Negative thoughts can be blocked, freeing teens in therapy to act in an effective, positive manner.

SFBT is an important and effective approach in addressing teen mental health concerns. It focuses on identifying and amplifying a young person’s existing strengths and resources to help them find solutions to their challenges. There are numerous reasons why SFBT is valuable for teenagers in the treatment of mental health issues, as it:

  • Is customizable: SFBT is flexible and can be adapted to various mental health issues and age groups. It can be tailored to the unique needs and circumstances of each teenager.
  • Prioritizes goal setting: SFBT encourages teens to set clear, concise, and realistic goals, which can provide direction and encouragement to remain focused on positive outcomes and progress.
  • Celebrates small steps: Teenagers are encouraged to take incremental actions toward their goals, which can help prevent feelings of overwhelm and increase a sense of accomplishment.
  • Evaluates progress: SFBT involves ongoing assessment to measure progress and adapt strategies, as needed. This ensures that the teen remains on track and can address any obstacles that may arise.
  • Builds resilience: SFBT helps teenagers bolster their existing strengths and resources, which ultimately enhances their resilience in the face of challenges.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy offers an empowering framework that aims to highlight one’s strengths, set meaningful goals, and focus on solutions, all of which can help improve teen mental health, emotional well-being, and promote long-term treatment outcome.

For Information and Support 

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding mental health treatment and our residential program, anytime. Contact us today using the form to the right.

Close Menu
Back to top