Description:The book introduces solution-focused brief therapy, developed in the early 1980's by Steve deShazer, as an alternative therapy to problem-focused treatment, which includes many different traditional orientations.
Purpose:According to the authors, "we also wanted to provide our colleagues with access to some of the very practical aspects of using the solution-focused approach that Teri (one of the authors) and her team learned from working with multiproblem, court-mandated clients day in and day out in a community-based agency setting." The book meets these worthy objectives.
Audience:According to the foreword (by Insoo Kim Berg), although written for professionals working in substance abuse treatment programs, this book is a "useful resource for workers in many other programs, such as community mental health centers, residential treatment programs, day care facilities, schools, halfway houses, and many other human services providers and their agencies. I also recommend this book to program managers and consultants." I agree with the target audience, though I think graduate students in clinical psychology would also benefit from this book. The authors are credible authorities in the subject matter of the book.
Features:The book contains the theory behind solution-focused therapy and shows how it is applied in individual and group settings, providing many case examples. The book goes to great lengths to show how solution-focused therapy differs from problem-focused therapy. It is a very practical guide to this relatively new treatment approach. It seems to be based in the positive psychology movement, looking for strengths to build upon rather than trying to correct problems. It is very readable and the authors' arguments are quite compelling.
Assessment:I really enjoyed learning about this new treatment modality. It can be applied fairly easily to clients and it makes sense intuitively. The authors challenge the reader to see treatment from a different perspective than many of the traditional, problem-focused therapies. After reading this book, I believe they have something very important to contribute to our knowledge of curative factors in individual and group therapies.