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Emerging out of the traditions of Ericksonian, strategic, and solution-focused therapies, this book redescribes and reconceives brief therapy in light of postmodern and pragmatic thinking.
The result is personal consultation, with a focus on conversation and inquiries that gently guide the pursuit of desire. This approach embraces a diversity of longings, goals, and ways of being in the world.
The key question, underlying both the authors' research and their consultative conversations, is 'How can we create a space for dialogue and wonder, where purpose, preferences, and possibilities can emerge?'
This question leads to many others, which form the basis for the chapters of the book. Each inquiry is illustrated by case excerpts that show where this approach diverges from strategic and solution-focused questioning. The situations are difficult—crack addiction, marital separation, suicidal despair, etc.—and yet the consultant's stance of being 'curious with' the client leads to signs of hope and pathways toward a better future. In this pragmatic approach, previously unspoken desires take precedence over goals set by others, and what is preferred becomes possible.
Introduction: Starting with Desire
1. A Rewarding Professional Change:
From Therapy toPersonal Consultation
2. A Dramatic Paradigm Shift within the Field:
FromObservation to Conversation
3. Inspiring Inquiries:
From Assumptions toExplorations
4. Creating a Space of Dialogue and Wonder:
FromInterview to Conversation
5. Inquiring of Desire:
From Goals to Preferencing
6. Inquiring of the Significance of Change:
FromMeans to Significance
7. Inquiring of Possibilities through "Sign" Language:
From Linear Thinking to Brainstorming
8. Inquiring of Differences and Successes:
FromObstacles to Optimism
9. Inviting Other Voices into the Conversation:
FromPerceptual Frames to Conversation
10. Reflecting and Encouraging:
From Feedback toMutual Reflections
11. A Personal Consultation from Beginning to End:
Conversing about Trust and Clear- headedness
Conclusion: Ending-but Not Ending