Solution-Focused Consultation

People mistakenly believe that professional help is only for the “crazy” or mentally ill. Solution-focused consultation is potentially for everyone, not just those who may need more in-depth psychotherapeutic support. Consultation with someone trained and experienced in solution-focused therapy can serve many purposes. Perhaps you wish to achieve a short-term objective, such as learning to better manage your time so you can open your own business. Or maybe you want to connect with your co-workers or your boss in a healthier manner. Or maybe you want to learn to cope with life in a less stressful way. Whether long- or short-term, your selected goals and objectives can be achieved quickly and easily with an independent observer “rooting” for you, from the sidelines, as you move toward success. Solution-focused consultation is generally accomplished by phone, Skype or email in the privacy of your home or office. No travel, no parking. Getting objective feedback on your thoughts, goals and plans can become a part of your schedule with a minimum of inconvenience.


Solution-Focused consultation starts as an alliance between Dr. Hurd and you, the Client.

Rather than concentrating on “mental illness” or some “disorder,” solution-focused consultation:

  • starts where you are now
  • focuses on what’s right and what’s wrong about what you’re doing
  • explores what is working and what’s not working
  • determines what needs to change, sets a long-term course of action, and then develops short-term goals and paths to help you achieve your objectives in the healthiest way possible

Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D., LCSW brings to the table over 25 years of psychotherapeutic experience. Psychotherapy with Dr. Hurd has always been solution-focused; an approach very similar to solution-focused consultation. In traditional psychotherapy, however, time is also spent discussing your childhood/background, emotional problems and more serious issues (eating disorder, feelings of not wishing to live, etc.). In his capacity as a mental health professional, Dr. Hurd can refer special cases to a psychiatrist for medication, or, in life-and-death matters, to a hospital. It is important to understand that solution-focused psychotherapy and consultation are not appropriate during life-and-death psychiatric emergencies. However, once an individual stabilizes, these techniques can help prevent future emergencies and expand personal growth. When doing solution-focused consultation, Dr. Hurd’s seasoned techniques and skills can work tremendously to your advantage, no matter how simple or complex your aims.

Whether you work with Dr. Hurd in the context of in-person psychotherapy, or by long-distance consultation, the primary focus will always be on solutions, personal responsibility, your strengths, and moving forward in life. The process is deemed successful when you attain your goals and enjoy it in the process. The best psychotherapy and/or consultation is, and should always be, solution-focused and goal-oriented.


The Basic Premises of Solution-Focused Consultation

  • You have strengths:
  • Identify your strengths with the help of Dr. Hurd;
  • Harness those strengths to attain your selected goals.

Solution-focused consultation takes place over time. It can last several weeks, a few months, or it can be an ongoing process, depending on your goals and how much help you feel you need. With these sessions, you are always in the driver’s seat. Dr. Hurd is in the passenger seat – not telling you where to go, but making objective suggestions about the best way to get where you want to go, and how to sustain your newly found momentum.

Solution-focused consultation is convenient and practical. Though sessions can be in person, most often they are on your own time, by telephone or email — no traffic, no parking. Face-to-face communication is not necessary to help you change your life. In fact, clients who work by phone or email often face fewer inhibitions and distractions, which make solution-focused discussions more concise, honest and direct. The convenience of phone and email communication in today’s busy, high-stress age cannot be overstated. You can choose which method makes you the most comfortable.

The power of working with Dr. Hurd lies in the fact that, by actually scheduling your sessions, you’re “answering” to your own goals. On the surface, you answer to Dr. Hurd, but in reality you are answering to yourself. You know that you have committed to a scheduled session, and that Dr. Hurd supports your goals; asking you relevant questions to keep you moving ahead. This process creates a sense of hope. This is the core of what traditional psychotherapy has sought to attain, but usually failed to achieve because of unnecessary emphasis on the past, on psychopathology, victim-think and weakness.


What Is the Difference Between Traditional Psychotherapy and Solution-Focused Consultation?

Solutions—NOT Excuses!
Solution-focused consultation picks up where traditional psychotherapy leaves off. And it’s for everyone, not just those who may be “mentally ill” or “neurotic.”

Often, people know what they want to do and even how to do it, but they lack an objective third-party who believes in them and encourages them. Dr. Michael Hurd serves this important function. Most people who seek psychotherapy are actually looking for solutions. They want direction and answers, not excuses and explanations. They want to change, not just to understand. Most want to change quickly, with a minimum of dialogue about their childhood, their parents, or other things in their past over which they have no control.

The central point of solution-focused consultation is not just to cure “what’s wrong with you.” It does not impose mental health disease labels (such as the highly suspect “ADD” and the like), or make excuses–even valid ones–for what’s wrong with your life. The central purpose of consultation with Dr. Michael Hurd is to identify what’s right  about yourself; then to build on that knowledge to target and achieve your desired objective. Dr. Hurd will “cheer you on”; offering objective input as necessary.

The success of your sessions is not measured by how long the process takes. The success of solution-focused consultation is measured by how well you identify and achieve your goals; goals that connect to a sense of longer-range purpose in your life. It’s a work in progress. While early sessions will focus on your strengths, subsequent meetings will help you recognize and develop them.


Meet Dr. Michael Hurd

Dr. Hurd brings over 25 years of experience and training to the practice of solution-focused and cognitive psychotherapy. Among other books and publications, he is the author of “Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference),” one of the pioneering works that led to development of solution-focused approaches to psychotherapy.

Long before these practical and objective approaches to life problems became trendy, Dr. Hurd was already practicing the techniques and philosophies implicit in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Now, his approach is part of the mainstream. Dr. Hurd has no need to make a major theoretical shift from the psychoanalytic (the old-fashioned “Freudian”) school of therapy, as is the case with many therapists attempting to become more realistic and useful. His years of experience as a solution-focused, cognitive psychotherapist make him eminently qualified to listen to you and help you achieve what you want to achieve – employing skills that others (many of whom are enmeshed in outdated techniques designed to help the “mentally ill”) might not possess.

The potential areas of your life where solution-focused consultation can help are almost limitless. Dr. Hurd’s particular areas of specialty include:

  • career dissatisfaction/career change/managing your time;
  • keeping on track, keeping your goals centered on the “radar screen” of your life;
  • breaking free of, and moving past, procrastination;
  • learning to follow up your good ideas with action, and not get stuck in the perpetual dreamland of “I’m gonna do this one day, and I’m gonna do that one day;”
  • coping with difficult people in the workplace and in your personal life;
  • attempting to deal rationally with questionable psychiatric labels, including Attention Deficit Disorder and many others, placed upon you or a loved one by some mental health professional;
  • excessive behaviors – whether it’s shopping, food, drugs, alcohol, time on the computer, or anything else self-defeating in nature;
  • how to talk to people in ways that will cause them to listen;
  • life changes – whether due to death, divorce, unexpected or planned changes that don’t go exactly as you wanted;
  • sex and sexuality;
  • money management, budgeting, priority-setting;
  • romantic satisfaction, and
  • how to think better in order to integrate thought with action

Feel free to write to Dr. Hurd about his areas of expertise and whether a solution-focused approach might be helpful for you. Simply use the contact form on this site.


Solution-Focused Consultation — In a Nutshell

  • It creates a sense of urgency for achieving goals and developing talents that have gone by the wayside.
  • It maintains a sense of momentum by giving you someone to whom you must answer.
  • It provides support and a sense that someone believes in you, from a totally objective perspective as opposed to the biased, threatened or overly optimistic perspectives of loved ones or friends.
  • It can be valuable to anybody at any time.

Solution-focused consultation is not about mental illness, excuses or diagnostic labels (although it can be helpful with emotional problems). It is about life – your life, and improving your life. We all have our weaknesses. The point of objective, professional guidance is to help you capitalize on your strengths and create success for your own sake.

A satisfied client reports: ” … was delighted with your comments. You have the ability to get at the ‘meat of the matter’ and read between the lines to give helpful suggestions.”


Check out Dr. Hurd’s Article: Philosophy Matters in Life and Therapy: Here’s Why

Also Check out Dr. Hurd’s Article: Politics and Psychotherapy

Click Here for Ordering Information, then select either phone, email or in-person consultation.

Solution-focused consultation can take place by phone, via Skype, by email or at Dr. Michael Hurd’s office in Bethany Beach, DE.

If you are a new client and have already been in contact with Dr. Hurd regarding your first appointment, please fill out and submit the New Client form.