Solution-focused brief counseling: guidelines, considerations, and implications for school psychologists.
Abstract: The increasing emphasis on school-based mental health services is likely to increase the demand for school psychologists to provide counseling with students. Providing counseling in the school context can be challenging, especially given time constraints and limited number of sessions. Solution-focused brief counseling (SFBC) is an approach that warrants consideration for use with children at school. This synthesis provides a brief overview of the extant scholarship regarding SFBC, describes the guidelines for implementing this approach, explores considerations and implications for school psychologists who use this approach to provide counseling services, and recommends future directions for scholarship. Lessons learned through a university and school collaboration to provide student support services are also included.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Student guidance services (Research)
Student guidance services (Practice)
School psychologists (Practice)
Authors: Jones, Camille N.
Hart, Shelley R.
Jimerson, Shane R.
Dowdy, Erin
Earhart, James, Jr.
Renshaw, Tyler L.
Eklund, Katie
Anderson, Doug
Pub Date: 01/01/2009
Publication: Name: The California School Psychologist Publisher: California Association of School Psychologists Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 California Association of School Psychologists ISSN: 1087-3414
Issue: Date: Annual, 2009 Source Volume: 14
Topic: Event Code: 310 Science & research; 200 Management dynamics Canadian Subject Form: School counselling; School counselling
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 264174768
Full Text: Everyday, students are identified with a myriad of social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Typically, when a student is troubled, or being troublesome to others, he is referred to the counselor, school psychologist, or team of psychoeducational personnel, with the dictum "fix-him" (Williams, 2000, p. 76). For this reason, school psychologists may spend significant amounts of time conducting counseling to help students with mental health concerns. Recent data from school psychologists in the United States and other countries around the world revealed that the third greatest percentage of work time was occupied with counseling students, preceded only by psychoeducational evaluations and consultation (Jimerson, Graydon, Curtis & Staskal, 2007). Moreover, schools psychologists indicated that working directly with students was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the job, and many school psychologists expressed an interest in increasing the role of counseling in their work (Jimerson et al., 2007; Hosp & Reschly, 2002). Given the growing emphasis on school-based mental health services, the demand for school psychologists to provide counseling services is likely to increase in the future (Fagan & Wise, 2007).

Although counseling is regarded as one of the most desirable job tasks among school psychologists, counseling in the school context brings about unique challenges that are not typically experienced in traditional clinical settings. For instance, school-based mental health services tend to be conducted under time constraints and within limited sessions. Thus, there is a need for school psychologists to employ counseling approaches that are amenable to the school context. Solution-Focused Brief Counseling (SFBC) is a recently developed approach that may be conducive to such challenges and is applicable to various populations of students with a variety of school problems (Murphy, 2008).

Given the potential goodness-of-fit within the school setting, SFBC was used to provide mental health counseling services to several students participating in a local behavioral collaboration project between the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and two elementary schools in a southern California school district. Advanced school psychology students implemented SFBC with several first through-sixth graders identified with a variety of mental health challenges, such as feelings of depression and anxiety, disruptive behavior, along with social skills deficits. The following sections describe the core components of SFBC, developmental considerations for using this approach with various student populations, applications of SFBC, and future directions and implications for school psychologists providing SFBC.

Core Components

SFBC is a strength-based, student-driven approach that attempts to facilitate change by identifying and implementing solutions, rather than exploring the origin and nature of problems. It has been suggested that SFBC ".. .offers great promise as a time-effective, cooperative approach for school [psychologists] that shifts the focus from 'what's wrong' to 'what's working' with students" (Murphy, 1997, p. 5). SFBC generally occurs in 4-6 sessions and is guided by seven core principles that are imperative to elicit positive behavioral changes (Sklare, 2005). Table 1 provides a complete listing of these principles. Most importantly, SFBC requires creating clear, student-driven goals that identify ideal behaviors. Such goals should be concrete, specific, and focused on positive, rather than negative, behaviors. To accomplish these goals, students are encouraged to do more of what has been successful in the past or to do something entirely different - if their current solutions are not providing favorable outcomes (de Shazer, Dolan, Korman, McCollum, Trepper, & Berg, 2007; DeJong & Berg, 2008). In addition to these guiding principles, several key elements are used to elicit change and are integral for the SFBC process. Table 2 provides a description of these key elements, along with examples of their practical application in the school context. It is noteworthy that these key elements do not have to be provided in sequential order and some may be used repeatedly throughout a single counseling session (de Shazer et al., 2007; DeJong & Berg, 2008).

DEVELOPMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS

SFBC is appropriate when working with children whose cognitive abilities are adequate to comprehend and appreciate the concepts central to the solution-focused process (Nims, 2007). This approach requires students to use their cognitive abilities to describe problems and emphasizes the use of language as an important solution-building tool. Language is used throughout therapy to delineate treatment goals and to find out what steps students have taken to achieve their goals. Therefore, SFBC is not appropriate with children who do not have the necessary language skills or the ability to use abstract concepts to translate complex ideas into words so that their needs and desires are understood (Berg & Steiner, 2003). For example, SFBC would typically be inappropriate for children that are pre-kindergarten age, given the reliance on cognitive abilities and language acquisition (Nims, 2007). However, there is some evidence that developmentally appropriate language adjustments can be made to interventions, allowing SFBC to be used with children as young as five years old (DeJong and Berg, 2002). In addition, play- or art-based strategies such as using puppets, drawings, or stories may be effectively incorporated into work with younger students (Berg & Steiner, 2003). In the present project, doctoral students experienced difficulty using this approach with younger students in K through third grades, who seemed to lack the cognitive skills and sustained attention to actively engage in SFBC.

Thus, it is important for school psychologists to determine whether SFBC is an approach that can yield potential benefits given the idiosyncratic abilities and characteristics of the individual student. As another example, using SFBC in secondary education settings may be particularly effective because it is responsive to the adolescent quest for identity and autonomy (Murphy, 1997). In addition, the focus on student-driven goals and utilizing the student's strengths, key student words, belief systems, and theories of change supports the therapeutic relationship and the success of SFBC (Selekman, 2005). School psychologists working in secondary education settings and considering using SFBC should also be familiar with developmental features of adolescence such as the need for independence and self-direction to enhance working with this population (Murphy, 1997). Research has reported that preadolescents and adolescents made significant progress toward achieving their goals using SFBC (DeJong & Berg, 2008).

IMPLICATONS FOR PRACTICE

Student Needs and Referral Routes

School psychologists provide support services, including counseling, to diverse students with diverse needs. Students frequently enter counseling via recommendations from parents, teachers, and/or administrators. The SFBC approach recognizes that students have different motivations for counseling and therefore it may be valuable to consider the referral route and potential implications for counseling services. Students will typically fall into one of three distinct categories: (a) visitors, (b) complainants, and (c) customers (de Shazer et al., 2007).

Visitors. Visitors typically enter counseling because they are forced by another person. They may be uncommitted to changing, not want to acknowledge that a problem exists, and may be resistant to implementing counselor suggestions or interventions. Since students receiving counseling are often referred by others, they are frequently entering as visitors. The emphasis of student-driven goals in SFBC can be especially powerful with visitors in developing the therapeutic relationship and starting the change process.

Complainants. Complainants are students that understand the existence of a problem and yet are unwilling to take action to resolve it. They perceive themselves as innocent bystanders who do not have the power to facilitate change, as change is thought to be someone else's responsibility.

Customers. Customers acknowledge the presence of a problem and want to actively change it. They are most inconvenienced by the problem and express a sense of urgency to find a solution. In the education system, parents, teachers and administrators may also be considered customers.

Using the previously described categories for students, school psychologists should tailor interventions based on students' referral route and responsiveness to counseling, to help them resolve problems and generate optimal solutions (Murphy, 1997). Considering the importance of the relationship between the professional and the client as related to outcomes of counseling (Lambert, 1992), it is important for school psychologists to be aware of students' disposition regarding the counseling support services provided.

Factors that Enhance the Therapeutic Process

Practitioners providing school-based mental health services should have a general understanding of the importance of various dimensions of counseling. Lambert (1992) summarized three decades of research regarding "what works" in helping people change during the therapeutic process. Four inter related factors have been found to lead to successful outcomes: (a) client factors - personal strengths, beliefs, resources (40%); (b) relationship factors - empathy, acceptance, and warmth (30%); (c) expectancy factors - hope and expectancy for change (15%); and (d) model/technique factors - theoretical orientation and intervention techniques (15%). This indicates that the aspects most predictive of change are client and relationship factors. Consequently, while practitioners using the SFBC approach should place an emphasis on the core components and specific techniques, it is most critical to build the therapeutic alliance and focus on "what the client brings" to counseling. In addition, recognizing and building upon students' strengths and resources directly aligns with the principles of SFBC.

Empirical Support

SFBC is a therapeutic approach that is widely used in the United States and increasingly in other countries (Gingerich & Eisengart, 2000). It has been used in social service agencies, educational settings, family therapy, couples therapy, and for the treatment of sexual and substance abuse (de Shazer, 2007). Practitioners typically report successful outcomes associated with the implementation of SFBC. However, little research has been conducted on its effectiveness in helping children (Corcoran & Pillai, 2009).

Gingerich and Eisengart (2000) conducted a review of the outcome research related to SFBC, including all controlled studies of SFBC student outcomes in the English literature up to the year 1999. Recently, Corcoran and Pillai (2009) conducted an updated review of the research on SFBC. Few studies were identified that examined the effectiveness of SFBC with children and adolescents. Practitioners typically report successful outcomes associated with the implementation of SFBC. For a comprehensive description of the outcome research related to SFBC, please refer to Gingerich and Eisengart (2000) and Corcoran and Pillai (2009).

The following provides a brief review of the extant literature on SFBC with children and adolescents. Table 3 includes a summary of research that has used components of SFBC with youth in clinics or school-based settings. Several studies may have been excluded from the aforementioned reviews of the outcome literature based on methodology and implementation issues (Corcoran & Pillai, 2009; Gingerich & Eisengart, 2000). Collectively, this research offers insights regarding outcomes associated with the use of SFBC with youth.

SFBC has been associated with a number of positive outcomes in children and adolescents. For instance, Franklin, Biever, Moore, Clemons, and Scarmado (2001) examined the effectiveness of solution-focused counseling with fifth- and sixth-grade students who received special education services and were identified as needing help solving school-related behavior problems. Results indicated that children receiving SFBC made positive changes with a range of behavioral problems. In addition, a comparison study examined the effectiveness of SFBC versus Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in a sample of children with behavior problems (Corcoran, 2006). Both SFBC and CBT interventions were equally effective and made significant improvements over time, as measured by behavioral data gathered from parent rating scales (e.g., Conners' Rating Scales; Conners, 1990). Accordingly, SFBC appears to be a promising counseling approach that may yield results comparable to the well-established CBT approach (Corcoran, 2006). In addition, a meta-analysis of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy outcome studies (Kim, 2008) found that the effect sizes of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy were comparable to those in other psychotherapy and social-work meta-analysis conducted in real-world settings (Kelly, Kim & Franklin, 2008). Importantly, SFBC has demonstrated similar success to other counseling approaches, generally with fewer sessions (Kelly, Kim & Franklin, 2008). Overall, the literature on SFBC with children has (a) primarily targeted specific behavior problems, (b) often involved very small sample sizes, (c) rarely examined implementation fidelity, and (d) seldom used rigorous experimental methodology. In order to determine the effectiveness of the approach it is important to evaluate treatment outcomes.

Progress Monitoring

When providing counseling services, it is vital for school psychologists to monitor progress to assess for desired behavioral changes. Previous research has used behavior rating scales, such as the Conner's Rating Scales (Conners, 1990); the Feelings, Attitudes, and Behaviors Checklist (FAB-C; Beitchman, 1996); and the Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC; Reynolds & Kamphaus, 1992) to measure progress toward specific social, emotional, and behavioral goals. Instruments that briefly measure mental health concerns are ideal when evaluating treatment outcomes in school-based brief counseling. However, change may not be apparent after only a few sessions as measured by such omnibus standardized measures (Corcoran & Pillai, 2009). More sensitive behavioral and emotional progress monitoring tools appropriate to examine SFBC outcomes are needed in the field.

Murphy (2008) notes that SFBC is an outcome-informed approach, in which two progress-monitoring tools can be used for each session: (a) the Child Outcome Rating Scale (CORS; Duncan, Miller, & Sparks, 2003) and (b) the Child Session Rating Scale (CSRS; Duncan, Miller, Sparks, & Johnson, 2003). Each measure assesses elements of treatment outcomes (e.g., personal distress, well-being) and the therapeutic alliance (e.g., respect and understanding). These scales are practical and time-efficient ways for school psychologists to systematically evaluate counseling progress. Moreover, they provide quick feedback that allows practitioners to immediately correct relationship problems when they occur (Murphy, 2008).

When counseling young children (e.g., K-4th grade) the UCSB team experienced some difficulty obtaining accurate information from these scales. Children appeared to be inclined to respond in an overly positive nature (e.g., everything in life was going well, and the psychologist-student relationship was perfect). Although studies have found these measures to have adequate reliability and validity evidence for adults, further research is necessary to examine the psychometric properties of these instruments with young children (Murphy, 2008). Preliminary experiences of the UCSB collaboration team suggest that these outcome and alliance measures may include concepts that are difficult for young children to comprehend.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR RESEARCH

While SFBC has much to offer the arena of school-based mental health, further research is warranted to validate its use in the educational context and/or with children and adolescents. Research has revealed mixed results related to certain outcomes (e.g., GPA, self-esteem, attendance; Froeschle et al., 2007; Franklin, 2007), thus additional research is necessary to better understand "for whom and with what" SFBC is most effective. Furthermore, school psychologists are increasingly being asked to establish their role as evidence-based practitioners (Huber, 2007). While school psychologists may be critical consumers, their role in conducting research and evaluation unfortunately tends to be limited (Fagan & Wise, 2007). In order to have research applicable to the field, school psychologists must become more involved in the production of relevant research. In addition, as school psychologists are on the "frontlines," offering support to students in short-term, long-term, and crisis situations, they are the most informed regarding what is needed and capable of demonstrating and evaluating what works.

Further challenges to the study of SFBC include the lack of measurement tools sensitive to behavioral and emotional change. The importance of developing a Response to Intervention (Rtl) framework with academic, social, emotional, and behavioral challenges is imperative in the field. In order to do so, omnibus measures (e.g., Conners', BASC), not developed for the purpose of progress monitoring, cannot be the only standardized option for evaluating change. There is an exigent need in the field for the development of standardized measures of social, emotional, and/or behavioral change.

Finally, the application of SFBC principles and techniques to other aspects of a school psychologist's job duties holds promise. Solution-Focused interventions have shown promise in a variety of school psychologists' roles such as classroom management (Berg & Shilts, 2005), counseling and social skills groups (Metcalf, 2008), discipline (Metcalf, 2005), special education referrals (Metcalf, 2008), alternative schools such as Gonzolo Garz Independence High School in Austin, Texas (Kelly, Kim &

Franklin, 2008) and consultation. Solution-focused consultation models have received most attention as promising methods of consultation (e.g., Dougherty, 2005). As direct interactions with students may have limits, it will be vital to take advantage of alternative methods, influencing those surrounding children (e.g., teachers, parents) in order to effect change in students' lives. As a consultant, an individual may engage in a variety of roles such as advocate, expert, trainer/educator, collaborator, fact finder, and process specialist.

CONCLUSIONS

Solution-Focused Brief Counseling (SFBC) is a strengths-based, student-driven approach that focuses on developing solutions to problems rather than on their origins. Students are considered to be competent and capable of constructing solutions that will eliminate problems and promote optimal wellbeing. This approach may prove useful for practitioners providing school-based mental health services because of its emphasis being time-effective and goal-oriented. Given the many challenges students face, it is important for the therapeutic environment to be a place that students can feel empowered and their strengths highlighted. Presently, there is a paucity of empirical evidence supporting the use of SFBC with children and adolescents; however, the extant literature reveals that it may be associated with favorable outcomes. Further research is warranted to determine whether SFBC may be a valuable counseling technique to implement in the schools with students who are experiencing social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.

REFERENCES

Berg., I.K. (2005). Classroom solutions: Woww approach. Milwaukee, WI, FBTC Press.

Berg, I.K., & Steiner, T. (2003). Children's Solution Work. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Conners. C.K. (1990). Manual for Conners'Rating Scales. New York: Multi-Health Systems, Inc.

Corcoran, J. (2006). A comparison group study of solution-focused therapy versus "treatment as usual" for behavior problems in children. Journal of Social Service Research, 30, 69-81.

Corcoran, J., & Stephenson, M. (2000). The effectiveness of solution-focused therapy with child behavior problems: A preliminary report. Families in Society, 81, 468-474.

Corcoran, J., & Pillai, V. (2009). A review of the research on solution-focused therapy. British Journal of Social Work, 39, 234-242.

Conoley, C.W., Graham, J.M., Neu, T., Craig, M.C., O'Pry, A., Cardin, S.A., Brossart, D.F., & Parker, R.I. (2003). Solution-focused family therapy with three aggressive and oppositional-acting children: A N = 1 empirical study. Family Process, 42, 361-374.

DeJong, P., & Berg, I.K. (2008). Interviewing for solutions (3rd ed.). Belmont: Thompson Brooks/Cole. de Shazer, S. (1985). Keys to solution in brief therapy. New York: Norton.

de Shazer, S., Dolan, Y., Korman, H., McCollum, E., Trepper, T., Berg, I. K. (2007). More than miracles: The state of the art of solution-focused brief therapy. New York: Haworth Press.

Dougherty, A.M. (2005). Psychological consultation and collaboration in school and community settings (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.

Duncan, B.L., Miller, S.D., & Sparks, J.A. (2003). Child outcome rating scale. Florida: Author.

Duncan, B.L., Miller, S.D., Sparks, J.A., & Johnson, L.D. (2003). Child session rating scale. Florida: Author.

Fagan, T.K., & Wise, P. (2007). School psychology: Past, present, andfuture (3rd ed.). Bethesda: National Association of School Psychologists.

Franklin, C., Biever, J., Moore, K., Clemons, D., & Scarmado, M. (2001). The effectiveness of solution-focused therapy with children in a school setting. Research on Social work Practice #, 411-433.

Froeschle, J.G., Smith, R.L., & Ricard, R. (2007). The efficacy of a systematic substance abuse program for adolescent females. American School Counselor Association 10, 498-505.

Gingerich, W.J., & Eisengart, S. (2000). Solution-focused brief therapy: A review of the outcome research. Family Process 39, 477-498.

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Kelly, M.S., Kim, J.S., & Franklin, C. (2008). Solution-focused brief therapy in schools: a 360-degree view of research and practice. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kim, J.S. (2008). Examining the effectiveness of solution-focused brief therapy: A meta-analysis. Research on Social Work Practice, 18(2), 107-116.

Lambert, M.J. (1992). Implications of outcome research for psychotherapy integration. In J.C. Norcross & M.R. Goldfried (Eds.), Handbook of psychotherapy integration, (pp. 94-129). New York: Basic Books.

Metcalf, L. (2005). Teaching toward solutions (2nd ed.). New York, Crown House Publishing.

Metcalf, L. (2008). The field guide to counseling toward solutions. San Franciso: Jossey-Bass.

Murphy, J.J. (1997). Solution-focused counseling in middle and high schools. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Murphy, J.J. (2008). Best practices in conducting brief counseling with students. In A. Thomas and J. Grimes (Eds.), Best Practices in School Psychology V: Volume 4 (pp.1439-1456). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Nims, D.R. (2007). Integrating play therapy techniques into solution-focused brief therapy. International Journal of Play Therapy, 16, 54-68.

Perkins, R. (2006). The effectiveness of one session of therapy using a single-session therapy approach for children and adolescents with mental health problems. The British Psychological Society, 79, 215-227.

Reynolds, C.R., & Kamphaus, R.W. (1992). Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC). Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Services.

Selekman, M.D. (2005). Pathways to change: Brief therapy with difficult adolescents (2nd ed.). New York: The Guilford Press.

Sklare. G.B. (2005). Brief counseling that works: A solution-focused approach for school counselors and administrators (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Springer, D., Lynch, C., & Rubin, A. (2000). Effects of a solution focused mutual aid group for Hispanic children of incarcerated parents. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 17, 431-442.

Williams, R.G. (2000). The application of solution-focused brief therapy in a public school setting. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families 8, 76-78.

Yarbrough, J.L., & Thompson, C.L. (2002). Using single-participant research to assess counseling approaches on children's off-task behavior. Professional School Counseling, 5, 308-314.

Correspondence may be sent to Shane Jimerson, UCSB, GGSE, CCSP, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9490 or e-mail: Jimerson@education.ucsb.edu

Camille N. Jones, Shelley R. Hart, Shane R. Jimerson, Erin Dowdy,

James Earhart, Jr., Tyler L. Renshaw, Katie Eklund,

University of California, Santa Barbara

and

Doug Anderson

Solutions and Strengths, LLC and Stillwater Area Public Schools, MN
table 1. General guiding principles of Solution
Focused Brief Counseling

1. People are capable of remarkable change
and are resouceful, bringing strengths and successes
to the counseling situation.

2. Cooperation and a strong student-practitioner
alliance enhances change.

3. Focus on future solutions, rather than past problems.

4. No problem is constant; there are always exceptions to problems.

5. Small changes can "ripple" into bigger changes.

6. Ongoing and systematic student feedback improves outcomes.

7. If it works, do more of it; if it does not, do
something different.

Note. Adapted from "Best practices in
conducting brief counseling with students"
(p. 1440) by J. Murphy, 2008.

TABLE 2. Key Elements of Implementing Solution Focused Brief Counseling

Intervention           Description        Example(s)

Socializing/Joining    Explore            --How san I help you
                       student's          today?
                       interests,         Tell me abOut
                       strengths and      something you are
                       resources.         good at.

Problem Description    Have student       --How is this
                       describe what      situation a problem
                       the current        for you?
                       problem is.
                       for visitors       --What is it about
                       the problem may    this that makes it a
                       need tu be         problem?
                       reframed in        --How have you dealt
                       terms uO what      with it? Was that
                       the teasher ur     helpful?
                       parent thinks
                       the problem is.
                                          --Why dues your
                                          teacher think this
                                          is a problem?
                                          --If we were to ask
                                          the principal, what
                                          do you think he
                                          would say?

Goal Development       Have student       --What do you want
                       dessribe what      tu be different for
                       they want to be    you in (pick one:
                       different.         school, home, life)?
                       Student is
                       encouraged to      --When you are nut
                       frame their        getting (discipline
                       goals as a         slips in class, sent
                       solotion rather    to the principal,
                       than the           etc.), what will you
                       absense of a       be doing instead?
                       problem.
                       Details are        --When that happens,
                       clarified about    what things will be
                       what will be       better or different
                       better fpr them    for you?
                       when these
                       shanges occur.

Pretreatment Change    If the student     --Since this
                       is aware uf the    appointment was
                       first              scheduled, have you
                       counseling         notised any positive
                       session in         changes? Please tell
                       advance, they      me about these
                       frequently         changes.
                       start tu nutise
                       pusitive
                       changes priur
                       tu their first
                       sessiun. In the
                       first session,
                       the
                       practitioner
                       asks abuut
                       positive
                       changes that
                       are already
                       starting to
                       happen in order
                       to build hope
                       and identify
                       effestive
                       solution
                       attempts.

Exception Questions    Ask student        --Tell me about the
                       about times in     last time that
                       her life when      (solution) happened.
                       the problem was
                       not happening      --Tell me about a
                       or was less        time resently when
                       severe.            the problem was
                       Exception          better, even if it
                       questions are      was only a little
                       frequently very    bit better.
                       helpful in
                       identifying
                       effective
                       solutions and
                       student
                       strengths and
                       resources.

Relationship           Students           --What will your
Questions              construct          parents/teachers
                       descriptions of    notice that would
                       interactional      tell them that the
                       events and         problem is gone?
                       significance.

Miracle Questions      The student is     --I'm going to ask
                       asked to           you a strange
                       describe the       question. Suppose
                       things he would    while you were
                       notice if a        sleeping tonight a
                       miracle            miracle happens. The
                       occurred and       miracle is that the
                       the problem was    problem is solved.
                       gone. The          But because you were
                       miracle            sleeping, you don't
                       question           know the miracle has
                       magnifies even     happened. When you
                       minute glimpses    wake up tomorrow,
                       of exceptions      what will be
                       and is pursued     different that will
                       and explored in    tell you that the
                       depth.             miracle has happened
                                          and the problem has
                                          been solved?
                                          --What else?...
                                          What else?

Scaling Questions      Have student       --On a scale of 1-
                       describe on a      10 how confident are
                       scale of 1-10      you that you can
                       how confident      find a solution?
                       she is in
                       finding a          --What would it take
                       solution to the    to get from a '5' to
                       problem.           a '6'?
                       Scaling helps
                       the student to
                       start to take
                       small steps
                       toward
                       resolving their
                       problem.

Constructing           Interview          --I notice you said
Solutions              student to         in the past you have
                       clarify            found a solution by
                       previous           doing your homework
                       solutions,         at homework club.
                       exceptions and     What will need to
                       to co-create       happen for that
                       new solutions.     solution to work for
                       Emphasis is        you now?
                       placed on
                       utilizing and
                       refining
                       current,
                       effective
                       skills and
                       resources
                       versus teaching
                       new skills.

Coping Questions       Coping             --I imagine that
                       questions are      [this problem] has
                       particularly       been difficult for
                       helpful if the     you. How have you
                       problem is not     been dealing with
                       getting better     that so far?
                       to clarify
                       strengths and
                       resources,
                       build hope and
                       identify
                       potential
                       solutions.

Checking In            Practitioner       --Is there anything
                       asks the           else you I should
                       student for        know about the
                       clarification      situation?
                       in regards to
                       whether or not     --Is there anything
                       any other          I forgot to ask?
                       information
                       needs to be
                       given.

Taking a Break and     Practitioner       --Thank you so much
Reconvening            takes a break      for talking with me;
                       to collect         I really admire your
                       thoughts and       strength, talking
                       comes up with      about these things
                       compliments and    can be really tough.
                       suggestions for
                       the student.

"Formula First         Practitioner       --Between now and
Session Task" (de      asks the           the next time we
Shazer, 1985)          student to         meet, I would like
                       notice what is     you to observe so
                       occurring in       you can describe to
                       their life that    me next time, what
                       they want to       happens in your
                       continue. This     (pick one:
                       question           classroom, school,
                       assists the        home, life) that you
                       student in goal    want to continue.
                       development,
                       builds hope,
                       and develops
                       solution ideas
                       for future
                       sessions.

Experiments/Homework   Practitioner       --I have noticed you
Assignments            suggests the       said that your goal
                       student            is to finish a full
                       implement an       week of your reading
                       experiment         response journal.
                       between            One of the great
                       sessions at her    things you have done
                       discretion.        was to finish one
                       These              part of the
                       experiments are    assignment during
                       based on           the week. I'm
                       something the      wondering what you
                       student is         will need to do to
                       already doing      complete two parts
                       that is moving     of that assignment
                       them toward her    in the next week?
                       goal.

Collaboration to       Practitioner       --E-mail teacher or
Support Behavior       communicates       parent to say, "I
Change                 with teachers,     have permission to
                       parents, etc.      share that my
                       about the          student has some
                       student's goals    ideas about changing
                       and to prompt      her behavior. Please
                       them to notice     notice and
                       any positive       acknowledge any
                       changes in the     positive changes
                       student's          that she makes in
                       behavior           the next week."

Follow-Up              Practitioner       --What has been
                       asks about the     better since the
                       progress since     last time we met?
                       the last
                       session and
                       about what has
                       been better
                       since the last
                       session.

TABLE 3. Emperical Findings of Solution Focused Brief Counselling
with Childr en

Authors       Year   Use                N             M/F

Froeschle,    2007   Effectiveness of   40 =          F = 80
Smith, &             drug prevention    SFBC
Richards             program that       group
                     incorporated
                     SFBC               40 =
                     interventions      control
                                        group

Corcoran      2006   Comparison         139 SFT-      Not
                     Study of SlT v.    58            Reported
                     Treatment as       completed
                     Usual              Treatment;
                     (Cognitive
                     Behavioral         100 CBT-
                     Therapy-CBT)       27
                     for Behavior       completed
                     Problems in        Treatment
                     Children

Perkins       2006   Single Session     216           145 boys;
                     SFT                              71 girls

Conoley et    2003   SFBC with          3             M =3
al. (2003)           families who
                     had aggressive
                     and oppositional
                     children

Yarbrough &   2002   Counseling         3             M =3
Thompson             Approaches on
                     Off-Task
                     Behavior

Franklin,     2001   Effectiveness of   7 Children    M = 3
Biever,              SFT with           identified    F = 4
Moore,               Children in a      as learning
Clemons, &           School Setting     disabled
Scamardo                                or needing
                                        help
                                        solving
                                        school-
                                        related
                                        behavior
                                        problems

Corcoran &    2000   Effectiveness of   136;          M = 86
Stephenson           SFT with Child     58,8%         F = 50
                     Behavior           attrition
                     Problems           rate

Springer,     2000   Effectiveness of   10            M =4
Lynch, &             SFBC with                        F = 6
Rubin                Children of
                     Incarcerated
                     Parents

Authors       Ethnicity          Grade         Age

Froeschle,    SFBC group:        8th           Not
Smith, &      Mexican-                         Reported
Richards      American = 22
              Caucasian = 16
              African-
              American = 2

Corcoran      Not Reported       Elementary,   5-17
                                 Middle, and   years;
                                 High          Mean =
                                 School        10

Perkins       Not Reported                     5-12
                                               years(n
                                               = 159);
                                               13-15 (n
                                               = 57)

Conoley et    European           Elementary    8-9
al. (2003)    American                         years

Yarbrough &   African-           3rd & 4th     8 & 9
Thompson      American = 1
              Caucasian = 1

Franklin,     Mixed Race         5th & 6th     10-12
Biever,       (Latino-                         years
Moore,        Caucasian) = 2;
Clemons, &    Caucasian = 3;
Scamardo      Latino = 2;

Corcoran &    White (non-        Elementary,   Not
Stephenson    Hispanic) = 106;   Middle, and   Reported
              African-           High
              American = 12;     School
              Mexican-
              American = 3;
              Asian = 3;
              Other = 4

Springer,     Hispanic           4th & 5th     Not
Lynch, &                         grade         Reported
Rubin

Authors       Intervention      Measures

Froeschle,    Solution-         --American Drug and
Smith, &      Action-           Alcohol Survey (ADAS)
Richards      Mentorship        --Substance Abuse
              (SAM)             Screening Inventory
              program           Adolescent Version 2
              integrated with   (SASSI-A2)
              SFBC              --Piers-Harris Children's
                                Self Concept Scale-2
                                --Home and Community
                                Social Behavior Scales
                                --School Social Behavior
                                Scales-2

Corcoran      SFT provided      --Feelings, Attitudes, and
              by Master-        Behaviors Scales for
              level social      Children (FAB-C)
              work students;    --Conners' Parent Rating
              4-6 sessions      Scale

              Treatment as
              Usual = CBT

Perkins       Single Session    Devereux Scales of
              Therapy (2hrs)    Mental Disorders
                                (DSMD); Frequency of
                                MPP; Severity of MPP;
                                Health of the Nation
                                Outcome Scales for
                                Children and
                                Adolescents

Conoley et    Solution-         Parent Daily Report
al. (2003)    Focused           (PDR); BASC
              Family
              Therapy

Yarbrough &   SFT and           Homework Assignments
Thompson      Reality
              Therapy

Franklin,     SFT provided      AB Single Case Design
Biever,       by Advanced
Moore,        Doctoral
Clemons, &    Students
Scamardo      trained by
              developers at
              Brief Family
              Therapy
              Center in
              Milwaukee;
              5-7 sessions

Corcoran &    SFT provided      --Feelings, Attitudes, and
Stephenson    by Master-        Behaviors Scales for
              level social      Children (FAB-C)
              work students;    --Conners' Parent Rating
              4-6 sessions      Scale

Springer,     Group SFBC        Hare Self-Esteem Scale
Lynch, &      provided by
Rubin         Marriage and
              Family
              Therapy
              graduate
              students;
              6 sessions

Authors       Findings

Froeschle,    SFBC was
Smith, &      associated
Richards      with
              decreased
              drug use,
              increased
              knowledge of
              drug-use
              consequences
              and socially
              competent
              behaviors.

Corcoran      Both groups
              made
              significant
              improvements
              over time;
              SFT appears
              to show
              results
              comparable to
              CBT

Perkins       Treatment
              group showed
              significant
              improvement.
              Students were
              satisfied with
              therapy

Conoley et    Reduction in
al. (2003)    externalizing
              behaviors
              (e.g., ODD;
              conduct
              problems)

Yarbrough &   Child
Thompson      receiving SFT
              improved in
              completion of
              homework
              assignments.
              He went from
              no homework
              assignments to
              completing all
              assignments in
              3 of 4 subjects

Franklin,     Children made
Biever,       positive
Moore,        changes on a
Clemons, &    range of
Scamardo      behavioral
              problems

Corcoran &    Significant
Stephenson    positive
              difference in
              Conner's

              ratings, except
              for Anxiety
              scale;
              FAB-C
              conduct
              problems and
              self-image
              revealed
              significant
              differences

Springer,     Increase in
Lynch, &      self-esteem
Rubin         among
              members of
              the SFBC
              group.
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