Doing What Works in Brief Therapy

A Strategic Solution Focused Approach


  • Ellen Quick, Kaiser Permanente, San Diego, CA, USA


Mental health professionals: psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, marriage and family counselors, and graduate students in these fields.


Book information

  • Published: March 1996
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-569660-9


"This is a delightful book that should prove useful to any clinician who uses short term therapy--or even long-term therapy... It is an excellent synopsis of both problem oriented and solution oriented therapies. The integration of both methods is skillfully wrought... The style is efficient, straightforward, easy-to-understand. This is a bright, keen, lively piece of work that I would recommend to any practicing clinician."
--CAROL SHAW AUSTAD, New Britain, Connecticut

"Quick...succeeds in her attempt to create a merger that is both theoretically satisfying and clinically practical... with narrative case examples to give a step-by-step feel and... provides extended case examples illustrating application to intermittent, single-session, and brief therapy... Her documentation is thorough without being academic, and her style is readable and precise... A useful guide for those feeling solution-forced as well as those looking for positive, hopeful ways of working in today's practice climate."

Table of Contents

The Model and Its Origins:The Model.Brief Strategic Therapy: The MRI Approach.Solution Focused Therapy: The BFTC Approach.Combining Models.The Strategic Solution Focused Model.Clarifying the Problem: Whats the Trouble?Prioritizing Problems."Who, What, When, and Where?"In what Way is This a Problem?To Whom is This a Problem?Translating Vague Constructs to Clear ComplaintsWhen the Problem is the Past.A Different Problem Every Time.Problem Clarification as Invervention.Celeste: "My Mother was Very Sick Mentally."Amplifying the Solution: Variations on the Miracle Question:The Miracle Question.David: "I Wouldn't Hate Going to Work."Identifying and Amplifying Exceptions.Scaling Questions.Variations on the Miracle Question.Miracle Questioning as Problem Clarification.Miracle Questioning as Intervention.Evaluating Attempted Solutions: If It Doesn't Work, Do Something Different:Eliciting Attempted Solutions.Interrupting Unsuccessful Attempted Solutions.Change Slowly.Depression: When "Cheer Up" Doesn't Work.Anxiety: When "Don't Worry" Doesn't Work.Interrupting Unsuccessful Attempted Solutions in Relationships.Parents and Children: Reversing What Doesn't Work.Attempted Solutions to Eating Problems.Sexual Solutions: Interrupting "Forced Arousal."Recognizing Individualized Attempted Solutions.Designing the Intervention: Validation, Compliment, and Suggestion:The Three-Part Intervention.Validating.Complimenting.Designing Suggestions for Customers, Complainants, and Visitors.Presenting the Suggestion: Using the Client's "Position."Suggestions, Specific and "Generic."Therapist Decisions: Clarifying, Amplifying, or Interrupting:General Guidelines.When Problem Clarification Doesn't Clarify.When Solution Amplification Doesn't Create Solutions.When Doing Something Different Doesn't Help.Shifting Stances as Therapy Progresses.Couples: Problems and Solutions:Starting with the Couple Together.Clarifying the Problem.Elaborating the Solution.Three-Part Interventions for Couples.Jill and Nick: "Communication is a Problem."Follow-Up: Together or Separately?Therapist Concerns.Starting With One Person.Coping with Difficult Situations:Clarifying and "Deconstructing" Difficult Problems and Unattainable Goals.Coping Questions.Amplifying the Coping Response.Interrupting Unsuccessful Coping Solutions.Coping with Indecision.Using Therapist Impotence: "I Can't Make It All Go Away."Medication and the Model:When the Client Wants Medicine.When the Client Does Not Want Medicine.Medication as an Option."When It Doesn't Work, Do Something Different" and Medicine.When the Client is Already Taking Medicine.Brief Therapy: Problems and Solutions in Managed Care:Cost Containment Issues.A Model That "Works" in Managed Care.Intermittent Care: "The Family Practice Model."How Many Sessions? "Not One More Than Necessary."Spacing Sessions.Follow-Up Sessions."Termination" in Intermittent Care.Practical Considerations.Single-Session Therapy.Caveats in Brief Therapy and Managed Care.Extensions for the Future?Case Examples: Intermittent Care:Harriet: "I Guess I Come When I Need You."Kevin: A Week Away From Work.Gail: "Rage Attacks Forever."Jeffrey and Claudia: Sex Drive Differences.Excerpts: Single Session Therapy:Mary's Miracle.Liz: "I Blow Up At Him."Excerpts: Brief Therapy:Megan: "Problems with My Father."Jack: Trichotillomania.Gloria: The Inconsistent Overeater.References. Subject Index.