The effectiveness of solution-focused therapy on students with school-related behavioral problems
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Solution-focused therapy is widely used and touted as being an effective therapy for use with children in school systems. Given the current climate in which schools are mandated to “leave no child behind”, therapies are needed to assist children to succeed in school. It is important, however, that these therapies have empirical evidence to back up their anecdotal claims to efficacy. The present study attempted to add to a small, but growing body of research conducted on solution-focused therapy in the school system by implementing a quasi-experimental evaluation of the effectiveness of a schoolbased solution-focused therapy intervention. The intervention included a faculty ix and staff training, teacher-therapist consultation, formal collaborative meetings, which included the teacher, student and therapist, and individual therapy with the students. Referrals were obtained through the teachers and principal at two middle schools in Schertz, Texas. A pre-test post-test design was utilized with 78 students participating in a mean of 5 sessions of solution-focused therapy. The Teacher’s Report and Youth Self-Report measures of the Achenbach Child Behavioral Checklist were used as measurement instruments. Analyses of variance (ANOVAs) with repeated measures (pre, post and follow-up) were conducted to assess the effect of solution-focused therapy on the children’s internalizing and externalizing scores as reported by the Youth Self- Report and Teacher Report and of the Child Behavioral Checklist. With the exception of students’ own report of their internalizing behavior, the intervention was found to be effective at reducing school-related behavioral problems. Solution-focused therapy appears to be a promising school-based intervention. This study contributes to a small, but growing body of research conducted on this therapy model. Replication using larger sample sizes is needed to further substantiate these findings.