November 29, 2010

Preserving the client's words in solution-focused practice (micro-analysis findings)

Anton Stellamans and Paolo Terni mention on their websites unpublished micro-analysis research by Janet Bavelas, Harry Korman and Peter de Jong comparing solution-focused therapists (SFT) on the one hand with cognitive behavioral and motivational interviewing therapists (CBT/MT) on the other. This micro-analysis focused on the degree to which therapists: 1) preserved the clients words (literally or deictically), 2) deleted (overlooked) words or phrases of the client, 3) rephrased what the client said in altered form, and 4. added to what the client said. The following findings were presented:

words preserved exactly
words preserved deictically
words preserved in altered form
words added

A principle in solution-focused practice is to match the key words of the client (more about this here). This study shows that this was done here. The table shows that solution-focused therapists preserved the words of the client to a much larger extent. As you see, solution-focused therapists altered words in 36% of the cases. I am curious to what extent these were cases of positive reframing. I am also curious about the 10 added words. What were the reasons for adding words? Were they added with a specific purpose?

More about this on Anton's page and on Paolo's page. More about micro-analysis here.

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