Focused problem-solving brief therapy is directed on behavior and interaction. It allows to see the activity of individuals and the relations between them and others. There are three main assumptions of the approach
First: The type of problems people bring to psychotherapists are created due to attempted solution (behaviors) that do not fit normal difficulties (in most cases the common problems) of life
Second: Difficulties are maintained due to the reuse of solutions (behaviors) that do not match, by the person and others he is in interaction with.
Third: If such behavior, that maintains the difficulty, is removed or changed, the problem will be solved or disappear without paying attention to the source, nature or duration of its existence. Such change is the main task of the therapist (Watzlawick, Weakland and Fisch, 1979)
Clinical Example: A person has difficulty falling asleep at night. If he acknowledges that it can happen to anyone, then he refers to difficulty falling asleep as a phenomenon that is not unique. Then, it’s pretty rare that the difficulty will become a problem. However, if he is concentrated on the difficulty falling asleep, it might get complicated. He can imagine all sorts of problems raised up if he has an ongoing problem so he will try to ensure that he will be comfortable enough to sleep. However, his attempts to release tension and to sleep, make him more tense and he becomes even more anxious as time passes. After it is repeated several times he is convinced that he has a real problem associated with sleep
His task now is trying to get to sleep normal. Among other things, this can include walking early to bed, checking the temperature of the room, eliminating coffee, avoiding excitement and stimuli at the bedtime, and finally using sleeping pills. So that it closes the circle: the more he tackles more to solve the difficulty, so it gets more serious, and as it gets worse than that, he feels more needed to resolve the difficulty. At this point he may turn for advice
In terms of the theory presented here, because the problem is the client’s attempt to solve the difficulty, the treatment will be direct to stop the “solution” that maintains the problem. This in itself may be enough to rebuild his sleep. But, because the client believes in that “solution”, it requires tactical and strategic planning and interventions by the therapist to influence the client effectively