Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy


Ronald Chenail

Committee Member

Anne Rambo

Committee Member

Carol Messmore


Novice solution-focused brief therapists often have difficulty delivering scaling questions within the languaging of their clients. To help beginning Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) trainees, this researcher has created the metaphorically enhanced scaling question (MESQ) training program. By incorporating a meaning making system such as the metaphor, the scaling question becomes expressive and symbolic to the client and his or her own story. The MESQ objective is to assist novice therapists in facilitating the SFBT scaling question creatively through the use of metaphor. A metaphor is a created meaning isomorphic to its original meaning or experience. The metaphor will be co-constructed through collaboration between client and therapist. The MESQ program encompasses three key elements of SFBT: listening, selecting, and building into three tangible activities designed for novice therapists to learn, articulate, and demonstrate their comprehension of the modified scaling technique (Bavelas, De Jong, Franklin, Froerer, Gingerich, Kim, Korman, Langer, Lee, McCullum, Jordan, & Trepper, 2013)

This research is qualitative in nature, due to the examined experiences of the MESQ training program participants. Action research has been chosen to emphasize the learning aspect, and assist in training development. The MESQ training program will be evaluated based on Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluating training programs: reaction, learning, behavior, and results. (Kirkpatrick, 1996). The focus of this research project will be to refine and develop the MESQ training program through analytic evaluation.

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