Classic SF paper: Beyond Complaints – Gale Miller & Steve de Shazer


This essay represents the evolution of thinking about solution focused brief therapy within the Milwaukee group in the late 1980s and early 1990s. (See also the changing language of Steve de Shazer’s books – 1982, 1985, 1988, 1991 – during this time.) This essay is one take on a solution
focused interactional view of therapy, a view that emphasises the collaborative building of solutions. Wittgenstein’s (1958) concept of language games is central to this discussion, as it continues to be today. The strong focus on goals in this essay is, however not so emphasised in contemporary solution focused brief therapy conversations. While explicit goal-setting remains an option in solution focused brief therapy sessions, goal-setting is now recognised as an implicit aspect of conversations about the future. Two aspects of the essay have not been significantly developed by solution focused brief therapy writers. The first involves exploring how solution focused brief therapy is a distinctive process of narrative construction. Such explorations might extend the longstanding emphasis on Wittgensteinian philosophy in solution focused brief therapy. The second undeveloped theme in this paper is deconstructionism. De Shazer drew on aspects of deconstructionism in Putting Difference to Work, but much is left to be done in this area. This is the first time this essay has been published in English.

The full paper is available to SFCT members in the InterAction journal.  Please add your comments on the paper below.


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