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Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) is a therapeutic/mentoring approach that regards Mentoring as a process whereby the Student and counselor construct a reality of healthy student behavior of working hard and replicating the same motivation all the time.
At Apex we believe that most students have inherent strengths that remain unexplored. So the use of SFBT is seen to be compatible with several counselling techniques, used out there by most student counselling services.
Apex understands that SFBT conceptualizes the process of change by categorizing types of student/mentor relationships. Identifying the type of student/mentor relationship has two main benefits.
(a) At Apex, we understand that successful mentoring outcome depends on teamwork with the student.
(b) Second, we strategically determine which area of mentoring or intervention is most likely to result in increased student participation in changing attitude.
At its core, SFBT primary emphasis is to assist our students to better use their own existing strengths and competencies. As noted earlier, a primary characteristic of most students is low or ambivalent motivation. Most students keep swaying from being highly motivated at one time to being completely demotivated at another time. This can become totally detrimental for students embarking on courses that require the student to be motivated all the time.
Since SFBT focuses on strengths, Apex sees this approach as being extremely important and students are encouraged to address an approach that provides solutions resulting in a more favourable future that inspires students and promotes empowerment.
At Apex, the student is encouraged to find solutions for themselves rather than being provided. We encourage our clients to build well formed (small, salient, specific and achievable) and raise questions and responses that are carefully punctuated to build or highlight a positive reality that will facilitate better student behaviour.
Using SFBT, Apex allows the client to start focussing and immediately to start searching for solutions immediately, even when the student is still in a crisis.
Apex provides tools for assisting our student clients in exploring all options, for working through ambivalence and for developing workable alternatives for excessive compulsive ambivalent behaviour.
Apex understands that the SFBT Philosophy can be summed up in three rules of thumb:
(i) Rule 1: If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
(ii) Rule 2: If it’s working, do more of it.
(ii) Rule 3: If it’s not working, do something different. (Berg & Miller, 1992. p. 17)
These pragmatic guidelines help Apex to evaluate our work while working with student affected by problem of ambivalent motivation issues.
Below are typical ways under this technique that guide our mentoring sessions with students who have motivation issues. We ask questions as follows:
(i) Are we focusing on the problems presented by the student such as difficulties with studying, researching or doing homework?
(ii) Apex does not act pushy by insisting on what we thing is the right way. We do not push our own agenda? (e.g., pushing the student to work when they have mentioned that they do not like working in the first place)? (Rule 1)
(iii) Apex looks at ways to assist and motivate the client to continue doing what is effective usually something we identify the student is already doing without a struggle. (Rule 2)
(iii) At Apex, we believe that even small changes can lead to larger changes. So, any reduction in frequency of laziness and time spent doing nothing or lessening amounts of time spent watching TV, are improvements to be encouraged.
(iv) We also prepare ourselves at Apex to respond accordingly and do things differently if the client is not responding? (Rule 3)
(v) We believe that if the client isn’t responding and taking action on agreed stated goals, we always take time to consider that maybe the goals or strategy being used need to be re-evaluated.
(vi) We understand that often Students have their own agendas that simply need to be coaxed into the open. We always concentrate on working with what the Student feels is important. That will go a long way to keeping the student interested.
Along with the central philosophy of SFBT, Apex has made several assumptions that we use to guide our interactions with the student clients:
(1) Change is inevitable and constantly occurring.
(2) Focusing on the positive, the solution and the future facilitate change.
(3) The client is the “expert.” Of their own success
(4) It’s not necessary to assess or diagnose the problem before being able to help.
(5) Apex does not to need to know a great deal about a problem in order to solve it.
(6) Sometimes, only a small change may be necessary.
(7) No problems happen all the time, some do not happen again after being resolved.
(8) Individuals have strengths and resources they need to change or use for success
(9) There are many ways to look at a situation. None is more correct than the others.
Solution-focused techniques are not intended to be a bag of tricks but rather well-articulated expressions of attitude, posture and philosophy. Integrated into the Apex mentoring approach with Students, these methods can contribute to highly successful outcomes in student life