Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PhD)


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


Kara Erolin

Committee Member

Ronald Chenail

Committee Member

James Hibel


Solution focused brief therapy (SFBT) is an approach that facilitates movement of problems toward solutions. If applied as Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer intended, this approach requires a “delicate process” of attentive observational skills and use of language. This delicate process can be seen in SFBT with several resemblances of Ericksonian hypnotherapy. Through James Paul Gee’s discourse analysis, these resemblances were explored in two commercially available videos of SFBT sessions facilitated by Insoo Kim Berg. Both SFBT features and Ericksonian features were noted in these sessions, as well as an overlap of both approaches, and Ericksonian resemblances in SFBT. In both sessions, Berg appeared to work in clusters with a figured world that attends to strength and resilience, a common theme of bridging and building throughout, and great attention and significance to exceptions. These features are common in Ericksonian hypnotherapy as well, and appear significant in a relational style of training new therapists to utilize the SFBT approach as Berg and de Shazer intended.