Social workers who utilize the solution-focused model are mindful of how their conversations with their clients, families, groups, or even community members facilitate their thinking about solutions. The client is always the “expert,” and therefore social workers ask questions to explore how the client perceives the problem and situation.
Social workers may use solution-focused questions such as the miracle question. For example, “Suppose you woke up one morning and by some miracle everything you ever wanted, everything good you could ever imagine for yourself, had actually happened—your life had turned out exactly the way you wanted it. What would be different in your life?” When clients are asked this, it forces them to reflect on what they want or would like to achieve. By projecting themselves into the future, clients are more likely to imagine what is possible rather than focusing on the past and their failures. This allows for the possibility of developing solutions.
In this Discussion, you apply the solution-focused model and solution-focused questions. You provide other solution-focused questions, similar to the miracle question that was provided for you.
Although the textbook provides actual examples of solution-focused questions, always think about your client—you may have to modify the question a bit to take into account the client’s age, cognitive and developmental stage, culture, etc., so that the question makes sense to the client.
To prepare: Recall a case from your fieldwork experience to use for this Discussion. Review and focus on pages 520–521 in your textbook. By Day 3
Post: In 1 to 2 sentences, briefly identify and describe the problem as perceived by the client, family, or group that you dealt with in your past fieldwork experience. From the list of solution-focused questions on page 520 (e.g., exception questions, coping questions, scaling questions, and relationship questions), identify two different types of questions, and ask each question as if you were actually asking the questions to the client. (Remember, do not use the miracle question.) Remember that the goal of these questions is to assist clients in identifying a solution Explain how asking these two questions would help the client in coming up with the solution. In 1 to 2 sentences, reflect and explain how asking these questions made you feel and perhaps how the client might feel. Identify a barrier that might make it difficult to implement the solution-focused model with the client described. Discuss how a social worker could help a client re-focus on the present, rather than on their past.
Turner, F. J. (Ed.). (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches (6th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Chapter 35: Solution-Focused Theory (pp. 513–531)
Chapter 36: Task-Centered Social Work (pp. 532–552)
Westefeld, J. S., & Heckman-Stone, C. (2003). The integrated problem-solving model of crisis intervention: Overview and application. The Counseling Psychologist, 31(2), 221–239. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1177/0011000002250638
Document: Theory Into Practice: Four Social Work Case Studies (PDF)
Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2014). Counseling and psychotherapy theories in context and practice [Video file]. Retrieved from
This week, watch the “Solution-Focused Therapy” segment by clicking the applicable link under the “Chapters” tab.