November 6, 2009

Listing what you don't want to change

"The shift from problem-focused Brief Family Therapy to SFT occurred in 1982, in a random manner. As I remember the incident, there were a number of core group members behind the mirror formulating an intervention message for a family that had come with their rebellious teenage daughter and was not reporting any progress by the end of the second or third session. This father and mother were only interested in reporting all the things their daughter continued to do wrong and diverted from any questions about exceptions. The daughter remained sullen. That day, one of us behind the mirror - and there are strong opinions about who it actually was-said, "Why don't we ask them to make a list of what they don't want to change for next time?" We all agreed, and were pleasantly surprised when the parents and the daugther came back with sizable lists of what they appreciated about each other. What was more surprising, however, were the positive changes all three family members reported. [...] this discovery shifted our attention to the interview as a locus of intervention."


  1. One of my favorite, and most used, SF techniques.
    Thanks for this historical perspective on it!

  2. Hi Paolo, thanks. Soon, there will be more from where this came from

  3. I love that the question is so subtle. What don't you want to change? Brilliant.


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