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Solution-Focused Therapy

answered 09:12 AM EST, Fri November 18, 2011
I have been having some real trouble coping with stuff over the last year, or maybe longer. My dad died early last year at the age of 63 from a heart attack and that was a real shock. We had owned a sporting goods store as business partners. Now it’s all on me and while I had thought for a while that I wanted to run the show on my own, I never meant that I wanted my dad dead so I could do it and now that I am on my own, I am finding it very difficult and realize how much he brought to the table. Over the past year, for a lot of reasons I think, business has really slumped and I have also started having a lot of trouble with my 14 year old son, who is really rebelling now. I just feel like my life’s been knocked off kilter lately and I can’t seem to right it back to how it should be, no matter how I try.

My wife says I am depressed and she wants me to talk to a therapist. I do not believe that I am depressed but I do see that things are not as they should be and I would be truly grateful if I thought there was someone that could help me. The problem is I have a very hard time believing that just sitting on a couch and talking to someone about my problems is going to help me in any real way. It won’t exactly make my problems disappear, will it? I have been trying to get a straight answer on how a therapist would help me get my life back in order and I haven’t really been able to get a straight answer so far. So what I want to know is, what would a therapist do that would help me to get my life back on track? Most of the time people seem to say a therapist will help me to see the problem more clearly, but I already know what the problems are, I just don’t have the solutions I need.

Dr. Maria Rothenburger Says...

Hi Anonymous,

You are totally right....a therapist will not make your problems disappear.  And it also seems you are very clear and have insight into what those problems are.  It's easy to think that sitting on a couch and chatting about issues would be completely useless; I get that.  

Therapists all operate differently, so finding the right fit can be challenging.  Sometimes what keeps us (not just you, but humans) from progressing and healing is that we have to keep going in our daily lives despite our hurting.  With you, specifically, you've suffered a great loss in your life (maybe even some guilt about losing your dad?)), and your stress has increased with work making it more difficult to heal.  Anyone would have a difficult time with everything you're going through!

What therapy does is help you find peace, focus, and solution-focused skills in order to move on and flourish in life.  A therapist is a neutral person who doesn't judge you.  He/She meets you where you are emotionally and mentally, helps you identify what is and what is not working for you, and helps you figure out your next moves.  My personal style is not to give advice, because what works for you wouldn't work for another.  I personally prefer to help people figure out what works for them, because you know you better than anyone else on the planet.

If you want a solution-focused therapist that will offer short-term therapy to get you over this hump, I would suggest a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist (CBT).  I hope this has helped if even in a small way.

Be well, and may you find healing and loads of success in the future,

~Maria

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Page last updated Nov 18, 2011

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