rules of Solution-Focused Therapy

Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT) is a goal-oriented and present-focused form of psychotherapy. The goal of SFT is to help the client focus on solutions rather than problems. SFT therapists work together with clients to identify their individual strengths, resources, goals, and capabilities in order to build upon these tools so that they can achieve their desired outcomes in life.

Rule #1: Do not go back.

The past is the past; it cannot be changed. You can’t undo what has already happened, but you can learn from and grow, as well as make positive changes in order to move forward and create a better future. The therapist should not dwell on the past, try to relive it, or talk about it in any way during therapy sessions because this will only distract you from what’s happening right now and prevent you from moving forward with your life.

Rule #2: Look for exceptions.

This rule is to help learn how to look at the situation from a new perspective. It’s about taking any problems or setbacks you’re having in life and using them as an opportunity to understand yourself better.

For example, if you’re feeling stressed because you can’t seem to focus on what you need to do, then find something that helps you relax and refocus—maybe take a walk, or listen to some music. When you come back, try again. 

By looking for exceptions instead of just focusing on the problem itself, we can learn how our minds work and how they may be contributing to our struggles. When we look for exceptions in our lives, we start seeing that things aren’t always as bad as they seem. We can see that there are other ways of doing things than the way we’ve been doing them up until now; it’s just that those other ways haven’t been noticed yet.

Rule #3: Search for solutions instead of problems.

The third rule is to search for solutions instead of problems. (This is an extension of the first two rules.) When you’re in problem-solving mode, everything seems like a problem. You see things as obstacles and barriers to your goals and desires. It’s easy to get stuck in that mindset if you don’t catch yourself, which can make it difficult to move forward with the solution-focused therapy process. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant about looking for ways that something might work instead of ways it won’t work.

The best part is that this doesn’t mean ignoring reality or giving up when things do get tough—it just means finding exceptions where possible and putting more emphasis on what can go right than what went wrong in the past. For example: if someone says “I’m not good at math,” what are some other areas where they excel? Are there particular topics or skills related to math that come naturally for them? If so, maybe their weakness isn’t as bad as they think—in fact, it might even be more productive than focusing on their strengths alone!

Solution-Focused Therapy focuses on the present and future, not the past.

The first rule of Solution-Focused Therapy is to focus on the future, not the past. This means looking at what you can do to change things, improve things and make life better in the present and future. The therapist will ask questions like: “What have you tried that has worked?” Or “What would help right now?” Or even “How could this situation be different if it were?”


The three rules of Solution-Focused Therapy are essential to the practice of psychology. They help us focus on solutions instead of problems, search for exceptions rather than look back at what went wrong, and not let past wounds get in the way of a better future. While some people think that therapists should only focus on helping their clients cope with past trauma and move forward toward healing, others believe that talking about it is important because it can help people learn from their mistakes while developing skills they will need later on down the road. Either way, there are many benefits associated with this type of therapy including increased self-esteem; decreased anxiety levels; improved relationships with others; increased optimism about life after treatment ends (or even before starting treatment); etc. We believe that by understanding these three rules, you will be able to better utilize Solution-Focused Therapy for positive change in your life.