Supporting Clients’ Solution Building Process by Subtly Eliciting Positive Behaviour Descriptions and Expectations of Beneficial Change Coert Visser & Gwenda Schlundt Bodien

December 16, 2009


SF co-developer Steve de Shazer wrote, in his classic publications Keys to Solution in Brief Therapy (1985) and Clues: Investigating Solutions in Brief Therapy (1988), that SF practitioners should help their clients create an expectation of beneficial change by getting a description of what they would do differently once the problem was solved. Also, he claimed subtle and implicit interventions by the SF practitioner would work best. At the time, de Shazer did not support these claims with empirical evidence. This article provides evidence for each of the assertions made by de Shazer. Only part of the evidence presented here was already available at the time of de Shazer’s writing. Evidence is discussed from diverse linesof research like Rosenthal’s Pygmalion studies, Dweck’sresearch on self-theories, Fredrickson’s broaden-and-build theory, research on Winograd’s prospective memory, Jeannerod’s research on the perception-action link, Wilson’s research on brief attributional interventions, research on Brehm’s reactance theory, and Bargh’s research on priming. The article closes with some reflections on what these research findings imply for SF theory and practice.

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