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Introduction to SF
SF Coaching for Coaches and Managers
Exploring SF Philosophy and Practice
Steve de Shazer
Other SF Applications
SF and NLP
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Exploring SF Philosophy and Practice


Brief Therapy: Focused Description Development

Published as Iveson, C. and McKergow, M. ( 2016 ). Brief Therapy: Focused Description Development, Journal of Solution-Focused brief Therapy 2ƒ), pp 1-17

We present a potential new view of solution focused brief therapy (SFBT), based on the development of descriptions in therapy conversations. This version of SFBT leaves out many accepted aspects of the model, so far, including: tasks, end of session compliments, exceptions to the problem and compliments. We address the issue of theory in solution focused practice and make a distinction between theory as mechanism and explanation – a 'scientific' approach, and more philosophical theory which can act as a useful guide to attention for practitioners. We point to potential connections between this view of SF work and recent developments in the field of enactive cognition and post-Wittgensteinian philosophy of mind, including narrative philosophy.

From Wittgenstein, complexity and narrative emergence: Discourse and solution-focused brief therapy

by Gale Miller and Mark McKergow

Published as Wittgenstein, Complexity, and NarrativeEmergence: Discourse and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (in A. Lock and T. Strong, eds Discursive Perspectives in Therapeutic Practice. (Oxford: Oxford University Press) pp 163-183

This chaper connects Wittgensteinian thinking and complexity perspectives with discourse in the therapy room and elsewhere. We propose that this connection, termed 'narrative emergence''. While the future is unknowable, it is an ever present possibility in the present.  We continuously create and discover the future by engaging in self-organizing activities (particularly social interactions) that are, at least partly, improvised, and potentially transformative. Thus, the narratives emergent in our everyday lives are always under construction. They exist in our ongoing ‘work’ to make sense of and manage the exigencies of life. These narratives emerge step-by-step in discourse.

Language, complexity and narrative emergence: Lessons from Solution Focused practice

by Dr Mark McKergow

Published as a chapter in Tait, A. and Richardson, K.A. ( 2011 ). Moving Forwards With Complexity: Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Complex Systems Thinking and Real World Applications Litchfield Park AZ: Emergent Publications, ISBN 978-0-9842165-9-8

This paper examines the case for viewing conversations as emergent phenomena, and the practical consequences for complexity practitioners and others engaged in 'talking cures'. Post-structural thinking from Wittgenstein onwards is connected to the school of Solution-Focused practice, which has made explicit use of these ideas in a practical, pragmatic and effective form of psychotherapy and coaching. These fields can be connected by the idea of 'narrative emergence', which casts light on the ways in which new narratives are formed within apparently everyday conversations.


The Evolution of SF Theory: Discussion group at the EBTA conference 2011, Dresden, Germany.
Saturday 24 September 2011

Main participants: Mark McKergow, Gale Miller, Kirsten Dierolf, Rayya Ghul

Also contributing: Michael Hjerth, Carey Glass, Jenny Clarke, Bertil Andersson, Wolfgang Gaiswinkler, Klaus Schenck, Aviva Suskin-Holmqvist.


Inbetween - neither inside nor outside

Mark McKergow PhD MBA and Harry Korman MD

Published as McKergow MW and Korman H ??), Journal of Systemic Therapies Vol 28 No 2 pp 34 - 49
In this paper we attempt to set out some crucial ways in which we see the practice of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) as differing from other forms of therapy. Chief amongst the differences are the ways in which we act as if humans are neither driven from the inside by some kind of mentalistic or molecular framework, nor are they driven from the outside by systems or social forces.


Constructing the Future - Different dialogues about solution-focused work

a discussion document by Mark McKergow, Gale Miller and the Karlstad Group

We believe that the solution-focused world is at a potential tipping point. The issue at hand involves the next steps that participants in the solution-focused world might take to construct the future. We believe that an important next step for the solution-focused movement involves widening the horizons of the movement to connect it with other-complementary-orientations to social thought and practice. This move promises to increase popular awareness and influence of solution-focused principles and practices.

This proposal outlines one future direction for solution-focused thought and practice. It discusses the usefulness of complexity theory for understanding how change happens within social interaction and how solution-focused practices facilitate change. We encourage others to respond to the proposal and to offer their own proposals for advancing the solution-focused movement.


Conveying Simplicity
Learning how to act simply in complex situations

Mark McKergow (sfwork) and Michael Hjerth
Published in Solution Focused Management, edited by Günter Lueger and Hans-Peter Korn, Rainer Haupp Verlag (Vienna) 2006, pages 75-82.

Simplicity is a key aspect of both the work of Steve de Shazer and the SF approach. However, conveying this simplicity to managers is not easy. Mark McKergow and Michael Hjerth explore the role of simplicity in SF work, to help participants to think more simply about their own practice and how to help convey these ideas to managers learning SF.


Beyond the Brain:
The Solutions Focus and the Second Cognitive Revolution

by Mark McKergow
A 'revolution' is running through the world of psychology and people. Around the world, consultants, educators and trainer are discovering the power and the pragmatic benefits of taking a solutions focus. What happens when, instead of analysing the problem, you analyse the solution instead?

SEAL Conference, 20 - 22 June 2003, Keele, UK


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