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Going further with Solution-Focused work

NEW two-day workshop

Going further with Solution-Focused work: Flexible tools, new paradigms, refined practice
With Dr Mark McKergow,sfwork and University of Hertfordshire

Expand and extend your use of SF work with the latest developments in theory and practice

Course description

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) has been around for 25 years since its inception by Steve de Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg and their collaborators at BFTC Milwaukee. During that time the work has evolved and developed. However, the writings on SFBT tend to stick close to the basic questions and practices, and have not reflected the latest ideas and developments. As a result, many practitioners may find they are using old and sometimes superceded methods. The course is open to all with some SFBT experience – particularly those who would like to update, refine and expand their practice.

During this course we will be looking more closely at how Solution-Focused (SF) work is evolving. These developments include both trends towards even more minimal intervention, as well as connections to wider philosophical paradigms from Wittgentstein to extended mind to enactivism. How much more can we do with how much less? What are the ethics implied in taking an SF stance? How can we (and out clients) stay clear of muddles and find emerging routes to better lives? And when might it be better to find another way to make progress?

As always with Mark’s workshops. the course is a lively and participative event with stimulating inputs, collaborative discussions, and engaging activities. We will be using some video and transcription from actual sessions as well as live demonstrations and activities. Participants can also look forward to making progress with their own lives, workplace issues and relationships as we explore SF ideas in theory and practice.

This programme is suitable for those wishing to extend their SF practice in all fields – therapy, coaching, social work, education and many more.

Presenter bio

Dr Mark McKergow has been using SF ideas in his work for over twenty years. He is Director of the HESIAN research hub (http://www.herts.ac.uk/hesian) at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, where research into philosophy of mind meets nursing and social work practice. Mark also runs sfwork, the Centre for Solutions Focus at Work (http://www.sfwork.com) where he pioneers SF approacheds in organisational and coaching contexts. Mark was a co-founder of both the SOLWorld network (www.solworld.org) and the SFCT professional body for SF consultants and trainers (www.asfct.org), and edits the SFCT journal InterAction (www.ingentaconnect.com/content/sfct/inter). He is co-author of the best-selling book The Solutions Focus (some 30,000 copies sold over more than a decade).

Learning objectives

Based on the contents of the course, participants will be able to:

Day 1

  • Describe three phases of the evolution of SFBT since 1988
  • List the implications for practice of the idea that 'change is happening all the time'
  • Relate how a 'tool' is a more useful unit of therapeutic practice than a 'question'
  • Understand and use six conversational tools for SF work
  • Give four key criteria for building a platform for change with a client
  • Be able to construct a 'miracle question' without a miracle by knowing what this question does and how it works

Day 2

  • Contrast building a description with building an explanation
  • Use descriptions from the past, present and future to utilize 'narrative emergence'
  • List five 'conversation expanders' to help build descriptions – key elements of SF practice which are not usually in the books
  • Distinguish between the cognitive and enactive paradigms in theory of mind, and the different therapeutic stances these paradigms invite
  • Ask questions and respond to clients in ways which engage the client with their interactions and life experience
  • Use emotions, feelings and motivations in an enactive paradigm setting
  • Use and apply the Solution-Focused Reflecting Team format for supervison and wisdom-sharing


This course was originally developed as a summer institute workshop for the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Read Mark's article describing the latest developments in Family Therapy magazine.

The programme can be provided anywhere in the world for groups of between six and 15 participants.

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