Practical solutions for parenting with SFBT

Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) is a unique approach to addressing parenting challenges. It's a short-term therapy, usually over six to eight sessions, that harnesses your strengths and resources to find practical solutions. In each session, you and your therapist will work together to set clear and achievable goals. You'll be asked targeted questions that focus on finding solutions, and you'll develop a plan to track your progress. The therapy involves shifting the focus from dwelling on problems to actively seeking solutions that can enhance family dynamics and relationships.


Key elements of SFBT for parenting

Goal setting

Establishing clear and achievable goals or aims for the sessions is central to SFBT. For instance, you might set goals to improve communication between you and your teen, to minimise conflict, or to build a more positive and healthy parent-child relationship. By answering questions that are focused on solutions and progress, you can gain new perspectives, generate creative ideas, and identify actionable steps. 

Present and future focus

While the family you grew up in and your teenage experiences are relevant, SFBT concentrates on the present and looks to the future rather than digging deep into past issues. This approach is forward-thinking, empowering you to visualise and work towards positive outcomes, recognising and amplifying your strengths and resources. By highlighting and reminding you of these strengths in sessions, you gain the confidence and resilience to tackle challenges, making you feel more in control and confident in your parenting journey.

Real-life example: Improving communication with a teen

For instance, if you're experiencing difficulties communicating with your tween or teenage child, leading to frequent arguments and a growing sense of distance, we can work together to address this. During our sessions, we will:

  • Establish clear objectives.
  • Identify strengths and available resources.
  • Ask targeted questions to focus on finding solutions.
  • Develop a plan and track your progress.

We will work together to help you determine your strengths, recognise the interactions you have that are positive, and create a plan for engaging in active listening and having non-confrontational conversations with your teenager. Subsequent sessions will involve assessing progress and celebrating small victories.

Benefits of SFBT for parents

Collaborative and client-led

SFBT strongly emphasises the partnership between the therapist and the client. Whilst, as your therapist, I guide the process by asking questions and providing support, this doesn't mean that you are a passive recipient of solutions. You are an active participant in problem-solving and decision-making, leading to greater ownership and empowerment.

Quick and effective

It works! By focusing on practical solutions and working with your strengths, SFBT can produce positive results relatively quickly, making it especially appealing to busy parents like you. This gives you hope and reassurance that positive change is within reach.


SFBT is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It's highly adaptable and can be tailored to address a wide range of parenting challenges, from communication issues and boundary-setting to navigating transitions and nurturing resilience in children and teens. This adaptability ensures that your unique parenting challenges can be effectively addressed, making you feel understood and catered to.

Celebrating progress

Throughout the therapeutic process, SFBT places a strong emphasis on the celebration of even small victories and progress toward goals. This emphasis on recognising and reinforcing positive change is not just a feel-good exercise. It's a powerful motivator that can help you stay on track and contribute to ongoing success.

Continued growth and learning

SFBT encourages a mindset of continuous growth and learning for both you and your child. By promoting resilience and equipping you with practical skills and strategies, SFBT helps you navigate the ever-changing parenting landscape. It's not just about solving the challenges you're facing now. It's about building the skills and resilience to face future challenges confidently.

Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) offers an active and practical approach to addressing parenting challenges. You can create significant and lasting improvements in your family dynamics by leveraging your strengths, focusing on the present and future, and collaborating with your therapist. Whether you're dealing with communication issues, conflicts, or other parenting challenges, SFBT provides a structured and supportive method for bringing about positive change. The benefits of SFBT for parents are evident: it's collaborative, led by you, quick, effective, and adaptable, and promotes ongoing growth and learning.

Are you looking for a practical and collaborative approach to address your parenting challenges? I work with parents to create positive changes in their family dynamics and specialise in adolescent issues. We can work together to create a happier, healthier home environment for you and your teen. Get in touch with me to see how we can work together.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Seaford, East Sussex, BN25
Written by Jennifer Warwick, MSc Psych, BACP Registered | Counsellor and Parenting Expert
Seaford, East Sussex, BN25

I am a BACP registered counsellor working online. I work with people who struggle to balance work, home and family life. People constantly rush, looking after others over themselves and are exhausted.

I specialise in supporting parents and carers as they navigate their child's tween and teenage years. Contact me for an introductory chat by phone.

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