Why solution-focused positivity works

When I first tell people about solution-focused hypnotherapy and how we don’t need to focus on the problem or where it came from in order to feel better, most people look greatly relieved. I go on to explain how we can use the positives in our lives as stepping stones toward the goal they’re aiming for, whether that’s overcoming anxiety or depression, freeing themselves of a phobia or whatever other reason for their seeking help might be. Sometimes though, they might be asking themselves questions like, “so, do I just pretend to be happy and everything is fine all the time?” or “isn’t that brushing the problem under the carpet?”


The short answer to both of those questions is “no”. Let me explain.

I know that everything is not fine. If it were, none of my clients would be sitting down with me in my therapy room and you wouldn’t be reading this. Unrealistically pretending that everything is great all the time and that there has to be a positive in every event in our lives (however upsetting or traumatic) is toxic positivity. Most definitely not solution-focused positivity.

Toxic positivity encourages us to suppress natural responses to events that are distressing or traumatic. False positivity in the face of bad news, for example, doesn’t help us and is disrespectful and hurtful to others who share the experience. You wouldn’t plaster a smile on your face and look for the bright side if a friend came to you with the worst news, would you? 

Thankfully, using positivity in a solution-focused approach isn’t like that. It’s realistic and genuine.

Moving towards something you want is much more inspiring than running away from something you don’t. We look forward to the goal you are aiming for rather than back to where you’ve been. Our mind will always believe what we tell it. So if we’re stuck digging away at 'the problem', the mind thinks that it’s mired in that problem right now and will react with corresponding physical and emotional responses, building anxiety (even if we’re only thinking about a problem that happened years ago, or perhaps hasn’t actually happened at all). We can use that same feature of the mind to our benefit, too.

Looking at how we want things to be switches the mind’s focus to that and lets it work on the best way of getting there. It’s automatically a more positive outlook. We’re already thinking more positively, imagining that future, and have stopped stoking the fires of 'the problem'. The mind still reacts as though what we’re thinking about is happening now but because we’re thinking about something good, we get positive emotions and physical responses. We stop building anxiety and start to feel better.

The solution-focused approach doesn’t brush anything under the carpet, instead, it gives the mind space to work things through, while finding a better way. Normal, natural reactions to events or circumstances are just that – normal. We can feel these things while at the same time recognising that feelings of anxiety, pain, grief or sadness will pass and are not permanent. It's important to acknowledge those feelings but we can do that in the knowledge that things can and will get better and we can reach that future where we're coping and feeling better.

So, what about those positives, the real and genuine ones? Even in tough times, there are positives to be had. Positives don’t have to be big or flashy. They’re the good things that make us feel better, give comfort or things we're thankful for. 

I believe that the small positives are more powerful because they’re always there. If you can’t see them, you’re looking for something too big.

A friendly voice on the phone, affection from a pet, nice weather, or finding an unexpected pair of gloves in your pocket when your hands are cold. Maybe just enjoying the scenery. All of these little things are positives that can put the next little stepping stone in our path. 

We might find big, obvious positives but, more likely, it’ll be small and seemingly inconsequential ones. I believe that the small positives are more powerful because they’re always there. If you can’t see them, you’re looking for something too big. Keep looking and they become easier to spot, quicker to build up and they’ll build up to a big difference in how you feel. 

Things happen in life that we need to be able to cope with. We don’t have to pretend or be positive all the time. Solution-focused positivity is about using positive thoughts, actions and interactions to help us process them, deal with them and feel better now and for a resilient future.

If you'd like to try solution-focused hypnotherapy, reach out to me via my profile below or use Hypnotherapy Directory's search tool

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

Share this article with a friend
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, FK2 9PR
Written by Elaine Neale, HPD DSFH SF Sup(Hyp), MNCH (Acc.), CNHC (Reg.), AfSFH (Reg.)
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, FK2 9PR

Elaine Neale is a Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist, expert in the effects of anxiety on our mental & overall health, author and lecturer. Using positive solution focused techniques with her clients, she believes strongly that we all have the resources within ourselves to feel and perform better.

Show comments

Find a hypnotherapist dealing with Solution-focused hypnotherapy

All therapists are verified professionals

All therapists are verified professionals