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February 18, 2009

Solution-Focused Scaling Questions

© 2009, Coert Visser

Steve De Shazer, an American therapist and co-developer of the solution-focused approach, once, in the nineteen-seventies, talked with a client who came for his second session. He asked the client what was better now. The client had spontaneously replied: “I’ve almost reached 10 already!” De Shazer began to play with the idea of using numbers to describe one’s situation. This started the development of the scaling question used in solution-focused therapy. During the work process, something happened that was perceived to be useful and it was done again (Malinen, 2001). Today, scaling questions have developed into the most well known and most frequently used solution-focused techniques. Scaling questions are relatively easy to use and extremely versatile. Nowadays, many therapists, coaches and managers use scaling questions. Even many people who know little of the solution-focused approach know the scaling question.

1. Basic steps when using the scaling question
Asking the scaling question is usually done by following a few basic steps. These basic steps consist of a series of questions which are posed in a curious and encouraging way. Below, these basic steps are explained.

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