December 16, 2009

Supporting Clients’ Solution Building Process by Subtly Eliciting Positive Behaviour Descriptions and Expectations of Beneficial Change

By Coert Visser & Gwenda Schlundt Bodien
SF co-developer Steve de Shazer wrote, in his classic publications Keys to Solution in Brief Therapy (1985) and Clues: Investigating Solutions in Brief Therapy (1988), that SF practitioners should help their clients create an expectation of beneficial change by getting a description of what they would do differently once the problem was solved. Also, he claimed subtle and implicit interventions by the SF practitioner would work best. At the time, de Shazer did not support these claims with empirical evidence. This article provides evidence for each of the assertions made by de Shazer. Only part of the evidence presented here was already available at the time of de Shazer’s writing. Evidence is discussed from diverse lines of research like Rosenthal’s Pygmalion studies, Dweck’s research on self-theories, Fredrickson’s broaden-and-build theory, research on Winograd’s prospective memory, Jeannerod’s research on the perception-action link, Wilson’s research on brief attributional interventions, research on Brehm’s reactance theory, and Bargh’s research on priming. The article closes with some reflections on what these research findings imply for SF theory and practice.
Published in Interaction, The Journal of Solution Focus in Organisations, November 2009. Full article here.
Full reference: Visser, C.F. & Schlundt Bodien, G. (2009). Supporting Clients’ Solution Building Process by Subtly Eliciting Positive Behaviour Descriptions and Expectations of Beneficial Change. InterAction I (2), 9-25

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