Book Report - More Than Miracles: The State Of The Art Of Solution-focused Brief Therapy

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More Than Miracles: The State of the Art of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, by Steve de Shazer and Yvonne Dolan is an attention-grabbing book that talks about the new research and most recent information on solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT). Steve De Shazer is the theorist behind the theory and in this book, he points out with his colleagues about the practices and the philosophy behind the theory.

The book is broken down into different important parts based on the principle of the theory. The book gave me a whole new perspective and point of view towards the language, psychotherapy, and solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT). Reading how solution-focused has evolved throughout the years and how the approach works give a better perspective on how to take a better approach. There are transcripts throughout the book where it helps understand the theory better and how the approach should be taken when implementing certain interventions or techniques. In the transcripts, there are comments, dialogues, questions, and other notes for one to read an understand the session that was going on. It is like they give vignettes to understand what they are trying to explain about solution-focused brief therapy. The chapters consist of topics such as the miracle question, miracle scale, and do not think but observe. Topics of that sort are explained throughout the chapters and explain the use of them when the scenarios are transcribed. The books helped me understand the approach clearly and increase my knowledge at the same time as when to use certain approaches.

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All the chapters went in-depth about solution-focused brief therapy and discussed the explications for each of them in depth. The miracle question chapter is the famous foundational approaches, whereas the miracle scale approach is mostly used as a follow-up after the miracle question. Those two approaches coincide to each other and make it helpfully to understand why these two go together and why one gets asked after the other. I feel it helps understand the person’s answer from the miracle question to understand what they are trying to say with their answer. There were two chapters were de Shazer talks about Ludwig Wittgenstein who inspired the ideas about language in the aspects of understanding the importance of what happens in therapy instead of the explanation or the theory itself.

There are always going to be pros and cons about everything regardless of how much research there is. The solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) approach is criticized constantly for the lack of acknowledging emotions. De Shazer and his colleagues have a chapter on this matter because they are criticized that solution-focused brief therapy ignores feelings, exclude feelings, or just does not acknowledges them. As I read further into the text the therapist does not elicit more when the client discloses a feeling, they tend to shift the conversation by asking questions. Emotions cause people to say or behave a certain way when they are feeling some type of way. Leaving feelings out of the conversation can help get to the problem they are experiencing without involving the emotion and treating it as an independent variable.

The book is a great resource to provide the most recent information to this date about solution-focused brief therapy. The new ideas implemented in this text impacts the language used in the therapeutic sessions for change and are shown to be precise, clear, and to the point. The book gives great insight into real life scenarios and gave me as a reader that hands-on experience while reading the text. As I read further into the book, I felt like I was able to listen in to a real-life counseling session where discussions were being had about the sessions and other topics that came about solution-focused brief therapy. Based on the detailed chapters I felt I learned on how and what approach to take on solution-focused brief therapy because the book provided me with information on what is most effective in sessions. The way the book was written for professionals in counseling, human services, psychotherapists, teachers, students, and health care workers because of the unique design and detailed information is provided. I found the book’s layout to be great because it was easy to understand the material and follow along as I read each chapter. The breakdown and examples of real-life scenarios made the structure of the book easy to understand what was going on.

Reading this book, I was able to learn more about solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) since this is my go-to theory because of the work I am trying to focus on when I begin working in a career of interest. I personally liked solution-focused brief therapy and find that every theory will be critiqued from different standpoints and beliefs. I feel that De Shazer and his colleagues made great standpoints and even implemented a chapter where they explained and answered questions people have positive or negative about solution-focused brief therapy being an accurate and effective theory. The theory will have its weak points when it comes down to the emotions aspect of it because many have a belief about emotions not being ignored nor bypassed.

The theory is great and may not work for everyone because they are people who want to talk about emotions and others are just looking for a solution to move on from the presenting problem and not focus on the past. This theory works best for people who are focused on the here and now. It would not work well with people who are focused on past issues because solution-focused brief therapy is known for being brief and pushing forward not backward. People who are problem solvers and figure things out on their own would work great with solution-focused brief therapy because they have done it in the past this time, they probably are too overwhelmed thinking they cannot solve this problem. Sometimes they just need someone to hear them out and they realize what works and what does not work on their own. They have to be able to self-analyze they situations and think of possible solutions they can consider and revisiting the past to see what solutions were used previously if found in the same situation and take what works and using it again or change it to help this time around.

I feel the chapter about Wittgenstein’s work is really valuable for me as I grow and learn about theories because it helps me understand counselling in a better aspect and grasp the true value of the counselling sessions. I feel like I learned a whole new idea to solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT). The book broke down in depth to me what the theory should be really about and how there are pros and cons to it. It gave me a sense of understanding to why I enjoy solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) and like working with the here and now instead of being focused on the past and emotions.


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