November 6, 2007

The name solution-focused: is it wrong?

Steve de Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg and their colleagues from the Brief Family Therapy Center have named their approach Solution-focused therapy. My work has been inspired primarily by their work. That is why I chose to name this site Solution-focused change: to give credit to them and to honor their work. But if it weren't for that I would probably use another name. Because I think the term Solution-focused is not extremely clear and maybe even a bit misleading. The word 'solution' refers to the concept of (problem) solving. And problem solving really seems to be a concept from a defect based paradigm. It refers to getting rid of what is negative whereas solution-focused practise does something more that that or something different than that. It helps to create positive outcomes, success, results. Success-focused change, or results-focused change might in fact be a better name for this approach. Or not? What do you think?


  1. Coert,

    This is a very good question. I've heard the phrase "asset-based thinking" which isn't quite right. Did you find any more ideas since you wrote this almost 3 years ago?


  2. Hi Rodney, I'm afraid the search is still on...

  3. Well, maybe Chip and Dan Heath can come up with something. They are really good at coming up with new ways to describe concepts to make them more enticing. For example, they call exceptions "bright spots" which not only is a good metaphor but also fits the situations in which we are looking for when a problem is less intense or when we are looking for when the solution is already happening.

  4. they do have a knack for sticky labels


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