Somehow the idea that a practitioner using this approach is not interested in a client’s past history has become another myth about this approach that has gotten quite popular. However, this could not be more inaccurate. The past is where the exceptions, past successes and evidence of the presence of a person’s best traits exist, yet, somehow the idea that an SFBT practitioner is not interested in such exploration.

In my current work I have become very interested in having a detailed conversation about their past. However, the details that are asked about are related to the client’s best self and they’re past successes. I will usually spend some time doing this prior to asking the client about they’re preferred future.

Of course it is true that this approach is most known for being future focused and a clinician using SFBT is typically going to be more interested in the future but please don’t mistake this focus on tomorrow for being disinterested in the yesterday. This would be very false.

There is so much I would like to say about this topic but in order to avoid turning this short blog post into a book, I will be brief and offer 2 thoughts. By asking the client about their past a very valuable thing takes place, the clinician learns about what the client is good at, what is important to the client, and who the important people are in the client’s life. This information becomes the data that is used to help the clinician ask questions that are more likely to elicit meaningful responses. Another thing that occurs is the problem talk pattern is inevitably changed, allowing for solution talk to begin to take place.

Like I was saying, I have so much more to say about this topic but for now I will stick to this brief explanation but believe me when I say, it is a very false myth that a Solution Focused Brief Therapist is not interested in the past.


Elliott Connie