Solution Focused Brief Therapy Model (SFBTM) and the Narrative Approach are two distinct types of therapy. The Solution Focused Brief Therapy Model focuses on solution development. From the start of the session, the therapist would ask what would the client want the solution to look like so the therapist would lead the client in solutions based from his/her own frame of reference thus making these solutions more ‘concrete, specific, and measurable’ (de Shazer, 1988b as cited in Fleming & Rickord, 1997, p.290). Narrative Approach believes that a client’s relationship with the people surrounding him/her is associated to the client’s problem (Hoffman, 1993 as cited in Rockquemore & Laszloffy, 2003).
In terms of time frame, it is obvious with the name of the method that Solution Focused Brief Therapy Model aims to help the client achieve mental health in the shortest amount of time and in fewer sessions as possible (Fleming & Rickord, 1997) whereas Narrative Approach aims to provide the client the help that he/she needs in his or her own pace (Rockquemore & Laszloffy, 2003). Meaning, this kind of approach follows the pace of the client in dealing with his or her problems. This approach may also be looked as both the client and the therapist venture into discovering the problem together and that may be one of the reasons why the number of sessions in this type of therapy are not monitored.
Each session in the SFBT Model have been designed to stand on its own so reviewing the previous session was not necessary (Fleming & Rickord, 1997) on the other hand, the Narrative Approach seem to imply the opposite. Because this approach takes longer that the SFBTM, each session was designed as a ‘step by step’ session wherein the client cannot go through the next step without experiencing the previous one (Rockquemore & Laszloffy, 2003).
It is apparent that both methods are inclined towards helping the client identify his/her problems and later on come up with solutions to address these problems. Because SFBTM’s approach is to tackle the problem in fewer sessions as possible, the therapist designs the sessions and questions straight to the point. In cases wherein the client suffers from depression and lack of success in their relationships, the SFBTM focuses on letting the client describe to the therapist what he/she wants to achieve through the sessions (goal) from there, the therapist encourages the client to aim for small change and when the client accomplishes this the therapist gets out of the way and let the difference in the client’s life intensify to the client. By letting the client recognize the difference in his/her life, the client becomes more competent to live his/her life (de Shazer, 1998c as cited in Fleming & Rickord, 1997, p.289). Rather than focusing on the problem, this approach focuses on the goals that the client wants and the steps he/she needs to undertake to reach that goal and the positive outcomes and things that happed to the client concerning the issue.
To have an easier mindset for the client, the therapist uses the WHEN not IF approach in asking questions. This is done in order to reach out to the client and let him/her know that he/she can attain whatever the goal is. Narrative Approach is a more subtle method than the previous. This deals with the client first narrating to the therapist dominant stories about his/her life and from there the therapist identifies the problem and asks the client what they want to change. The next sessions focuses on the client empowering his/herself and later on strengthening the validation. I have observed that both approaches almost are in the same of process (goal setting, empowering the client, conversation between client and loved ones etc.)
Personally, I believe that the Narrative Approach is best suited for clients that face the same problems as Julie. Depression may be a result of different factors and one must be careful in handling clients like Julie because they are fragile and if the therapist is not careful, he/she might bring the client into more harm. Second, this theory values the importance of relationships and believes that the rational aspect of the person contributes to his/her identity formation (Hoffman, 1993 as cited in Rockquemore & Laszloffy, 2003). We are social beings therefore our primary purpose is to establish relationships with other people, with this; conflicts may arise and contribute to the client’s problems. And lastly, this approach is also suited for children who experience the same case as Julie. Brief therapy cannot be suited for children because children don’t usually talk straight to the point. Narrative approach uses creative measures so that children would be lighthearted in going to therapy. (Freeman, Epston, & Lobovits, 1999)
Fleming, J. S. & Rickord, B. (1997). Solution-focused brief therapy: One answer to managed mental health care. The Family Journal of Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families. Sage Publications.
Freeman, J., Epston, D., & Lobovits, D. (1999). Narrative therapy with children and their families. Narrative Approaches. Retrieved April 22, 2008 from http://www.narrativeapproaches.com/narrative%20papers%20folder/narrative_therapy.htm.
Rochquemore, K. & Laszloffy T. (2003). Multiple realities: A relational narrative approach in therapy with black-white mixed-race clients. Family Relations, 52(2), 119-129. Retrieved April 12,2008 from http://proquest.urri.com.library.apella.edu/pqdlink?vinst=PROD&fmt=3&startpage=-1&v.