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An empirical investigation of the usefulness of solution talk in solution -focused therapy

Epiphania E Bonsi, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Counseling has been referred to as the linguistic exchanges between therapists and clients (Murphy, 1997). The types of conversations therapists hold with clients influence the way they respond to their problems. Not much empirical research has been done on the importance of language - solution talk in solution-focused therapy (SFT) to promote change. De Shazer (1993), one of the major proponents of SFT, suggested that the types of conversations therapists conduct influence the way clients respond to their problems. After examining literature on SFT, two areas seemed to be ignored - the usefulness of language in promoting change in clients' conditions and therapy process. In view of these considerable gaps in literature, this study examined three elements: (1) to compare the amount of clients' solution talk during baseline and treatment phases, (2) to determine if an increase in clients' solution talk was related to a decrease in self-reported client symptoms, and (3) to investigate a relationship between therapist and clients' solution talk. Three families recruited for the study. They completed the Home Situations Questionnaire, the Outcome Questionnaire-45.2, the Behavior Assessment System for Children, and the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales and received six sessions of SFT. Data was analyzed both by visual inspection and some statistical analysis. Results indicated tremendous differences in levels of clients' solution talk between baseline and treatment phases. The overall findings did not support Hypothesis 2. Results of Hypothesis 3 showed similar increments in therapist's and clients' solution talk. These, results may substantiate the literature on the importance of clients' involvement/participation in resolving their problems and support the notion that clients are the experts regarding their own lives. Clients also identified the many resources available for them. In these three instances, the language clients used to express their ideas was crucial. In sum, results provided support to the proposition that language shapes and moulds the perception of reality and that both the therapist and clients co-construct solutions to clients' problems. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Education, Guidance and Counseling|Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Bonsi, Epiphania E, "An empirical investigation of the usefulness of solution talk in solution -focused therapy" (2005). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3194107.