Showing posts from 2010

Interview with Claude Steele

By Coert Visser (2010) Professor Claude Steele is a social psychologist and the Provost of Columbia University. He has written the book Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us about the work he and his colleagues have done on a phenomenon called 'stereotype threat'. Stereotype threat is the tendency to expect, perceive, and be influenced by negative stereotypes about one’s social category, such as one’s age, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, profession, nationality, political affiliation, mental health status, and so on. Stereotype threat can be harmful by creating racial, gender, and social class achievements gaps in schools and in the workplace and tensions across group lines. In this interview Claude Steele explains, among other things, what stereotype threat is and what can be done about it. How would you explain in simple terms to people like teachers, managers, and policymakers what stereotype threat is and why it is important for them to

Interview with Wally Gingerich

By Coert Visser (2010) Wallace Gingerich is Professor Emeritus of Social Work at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. As a core member of the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee (BFTC), Wisconsin, in the 1980s, he has been an important contributor to the development of the solution-focused approach. In this interview, he looks back on how and why he joined BFCT and on how the solution-focused approach emerged in the next few years after he joined. Also, he talks about the BRIEFER project and about a soon to be published review of the research on the effectiveness of the solution-focused approach. Finally, he reflects on the ways the solution-focused approach may further develop. Could you tell a bit about when and how you got involved with the Brief Family Therapy Center?

How did you develop a more realistic perspective?

Kathryn Schulz has written a book called Being Wrong, adventures in the margin of error . The book covers many interesting views on wrongness but I'd like to focus here on one. There is a difference between the scientific method and the approach to knowing we as individuals tend to have. Schulz: "The scientific method is essentially a monument to the utility or error. Most of us gravitate toward trying to verify our beliefs ... But scientists gravitate toward falsification.... Not only can any give theory be proven wrong, sooner or later, it probably will be. And when it is, the occasion will mark the success of science, not its failure."

Who invented the solution-focused SCALING QUESTIONS?

Scaling questions belong to the simplest, most appealing and accessible tools that have emerged within the practise of the solution-focused approach to change management. Scales are very easy to use and have many applications ( read this article if you'd like to learn how). Many people who are not familiar with the solution-focused approach (or hardly) still use scales in their conversations. I have been wondering for quite some who the first person was who deliberately started using scales in conversations. My hunch was it must have been Steve de Shazer . And this indeed seems to be case ( although, as with other techniques, other members of the SFBT team will most likely have helped refine it ). The article I mentioned yesterday says this about the invention of the scale-technique: "The “scale question” similarly arose by chance. De Shazer tells of a client who had come to his second session. The therapist asked how he was doing or what was better now. The client had

Income inequality is strongly related to health and social problems

Coert Visser, 2010 The Relationship between Equality and Thriving Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, two English epidemiologists, have written  The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger , a provocative book on how high levels of inequality in societies is harmful for everyone within them. Their research shows that while economic policies in developed countries stress the importance of economic growth, economic growth is only an important determinant of the degree to which societies thrive up to a certain point. After a certain point the contribution of further economic growth begins to create only diminishing marginal returns: the relationship between economic growth and certain objectively measurable outcomes, like life expectancy, level off (see figure 1).

Interview with Insoo Kim Berg

© 2004, Coert Visser Amsterdam, May 12, 2004 - There is probably not a single person more important to the invention and development of the solution-focused practice than Insoo Kim Berg. This fragile American lady from Korean origin has a gigantic reputation. She is one of the most important inspirators of nearly all of the solution-focused consultants I know. Together with her partner Steve De Shazer, she developed solution-focused brief therapy. Currently, she often travels the world doing consultancy and training people. Last year, she did a workshop in our Dutch training program for consultants and coaches. This year, I met her in an Amsterdam hotel and we had this conversation by the fireplace.