January 6, 2011

Questions: 1) SF outcome research?, 2) SF and ethnic and cultural diversity?

I received an e-mail from a reader of my blog (and viewer of  my Youtube videos). I asked and received his permission to post his mail here because it contains some interesting points and questions.
"First of all, I want to tell you how much I enjoy the videos you have posted on YouTube. I am a graduate student in counseling psychology and I am currently on internship at an employee assistance program. I have learned a great deal from your videos about SFBT, especially since SFBT is not emphasized or taught at my college.
Secondly, I am writing to you to share my experience with SFBT. As I mentioned previously, I am currently seeing clients via my internship at an employee assistance program. Due to the limited sessions allotted to our clients, I felt that SFBT would be the most effective theoretical orientation for treatment. Most of my clients present with anger management issues, intimate relationship difficulties or family conflicts. Also most of my clients are either African-American men or Hispanic men and women. 
I find that when I attempt to use techniques such as the "miracle question" or provide "in-between session" tasks to them, they either do not understand the "miracle question" or they report at the next session that they did not attempt to engage in or complete the task (i.e. "Between now and the next time we meet, I would like you to pay attention to and make note of what you do when you are able to effectively deal with the problem.") 
Of course, since I am new to SFBT, I must consider that I may be expressing these interventions incorrectly or with insufficient clarity. But I wonder if the interventions are perhaps less effective with racially diverse clientele. I have attempted to find research which would address the interaction between SFBT and multiculturalism, but I was surprised to find very little information. 
I would appreciate your feedback on this issue. If you know of any outcome studies which address the effectiveness of SFBT in general as well as for specific racial/ethnic groups, I would greatly appreciate it. 
Many thanks again for sharing your great videos and take care! 
My answer:
My experience is that it makes no difference what the ethnical background is but I do not know if there is systematic research on this. Here are two links to pages with information on outcome studies: 
  1. The EBTA research page  
  2. Research page on Wally Gingerich's site
In addition to this, I'd like to quote Wally Gingerich, whom I have recently interviewed, on the topic of SF outcome research: "Lance Peterson and I are nearing completion of an update of the 2000 qualitative review of SFBT outcomes, and it looks like we will have around 40 studies that will meet our more rigorous criteria for controlled outcome studies. We are reviewing only studies that utilized comparison groups with random assignment or some form of matching. The studies consistently show positive pre-post benefit from SFBT, and results that are comparable to other established treatments. The increase in number and quality of studies between 2000 and now is impressive, and the evidence base for SFBT is steadily growing."
Question to readers: who has information for Ken on the effectiveness of SF for different ethnic groups?


  1. On my Facebook page, Mark McKergow points out the following: "Steve and Insoo had mainly African American clients at BFTC... They seemed to do ok"

  2. Here's one of the Insoo videos featuring an African American couple.

  3. I would recommend the book "Interviewing for Solutions" by Insoo and Peter De Jong. I remembered starting my Solution Focused journey reading the 1st edition (now 3rd edition) of that book and it was very useful for me and i worked in an Asian context.


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