Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Postmodern Approaches

*Postmodern approaches do not have a single founder.

Insoo Kim Berg - Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

(1935 - 2007)

Steve de Shazer - Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

(1940 - 2005)



Michael White - Narrative Therapy

(1949 - 2008)



David Epston - Narrative Therapy

(b. 1944)






  • To change the way clients view problems & what they do about these concerns.

  • To collaboratively establish specific, clear, concrete, realistic, & observable goals leading to increased positive change.

  • To help clients create a self-identity grounded on competence & resourcefulness so they can resolve present  future concerns.

  • To assist clients in viewing their lives in positive ways, rather than being problem saturated. 


Key Concepts:

  • Therapy tends to be brief & addresses the the present & the future.

  • The person is not the problem; the problem is the problem.

  • The emphasis is on externalizing the problem & looking for exceptions to the problem.

  • Therapy consists of a collaborative dialogue in which the therapist & the client co-create solutions.

  • By identifying instances when the problem did not exist, clients can create new meanings for themselves & fashion a new life story. 






    • Based on the premise that there are multiple realities & multiple truths, postmodern therapies reject the idea that reality is external & can be grasped.

    • People create meaning in their lives through conversations with others.

    • The postmodern approaches avoid pathologizing clients, take a dim view of diagnosis, avoid searching for underlying causes of problems, & place a high value on discovering clients' strengths & resources.

    • Rather than talking about problems, the focus of therapy is on creating solutions in the present & in the future.





      Other Techniques:

      • In solution-focused therapy, the main technique is change-talk, with emphasis on times in a client's life when the problem was not a problem.

      • Creative use of questioning

      • The miracle question

      • Scaling questions

      • Formula first session task

      • Therapist feedback to clients

      • Terminating

      • Application to group counseling

      • In narrative therapy, specific techniques include listening to a client's problem-saturated story without getting stuck.

      • Externalizing & naming the problem.

      • Externalizing conversations

      • Discovering clues to competence

      • Questions & more questions

      • Search for unique outcomes

      • Alternative stories & reauthoring

      • Documenting the evidence

      • *Narrative therapists often write letters to clients & assist them in finding an audience that will support their changes & new stories.



        Solution-Focused Couples Therapy  - Insoo Kim Berg Video Clip 



        •  Corey, G. (2013)..Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (9th ed.,). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

        • Google Images

        • YouTube 


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