A book recommendation
I’m often asked on solution-focused training courses to recommend a book on solution-focused practice, and in particular, “if there were one book you would recommend, what would it be?”
And, if I’m frank, I’ve always found it hard to do so. By the time I began to learn in earnest from BRIEF how to do solution-focused work, they had moved sufficiently away from the original solution-focused team at Milwaukee to make Steve de Shazer’s early seminal work not very useful for me, in any practical sense. And BRIEF’s own book, Problem to Solution, consisted in the main of case studies of work they had done while they were still getting to grips with this earlier model. Interviewing for Solutions, by Insoo Kim Berg and Peter de Jong, is an excellent practice manual, but its American context means it doesn’t always translate so easily for solution-focused practitioners in the UK. In 2007, de Shazer’s last book More Than Miracles appeared, co-written with several others, and the chapters by Harry Korman on the Miracle Question and its Scale, taken together with the notes on his website on establishing a ‘common project’ (equivalent to the contract used by BRIEF and myself), definitely filled a gap. But gap there still was.
Then in the last year or so we have seen a sudden rush of solution-focused books, including two more from BRIEF (just like buses, given that Problem to Solution came out as far back as 1990 and was only partially updated in 1999). With a little time on my hands for the first time in a while, I have just read through Solution Focused Brief Therapy: 100 Key Points & Techniques and Brief Coaching: A Solution Focused Approach, both published this year by Routledge. Suffice to say that they are both worth reading, but it is the latter one (they are too heavy on the poor old word ‘but’ by the way, which is not quite so excluding as they suggest, see p101 of Brief Coaching and see if you agree) which is really going to help me out. Until my own book appears (and watch this space), whenever I am asked to recommend one book then Brief Coaching, with its distillation of 20+ years of solution-focused practice wisdom, will be the one. And don’t worry if you don’t identify as a coach, but as a therapist or in some other role (with solution-focused practice it really is all the same), you will find this an excellent practical guide.
Of course if you would rather read something consisting of a handful of pages rather than the 187 of this book, then I will still be recommending my Course Notes, which you can find on this website…