The relational communication of sixteen dropout versus sixteen continuation sessions of solution-focused therapy was studied using two different coding schemes. On the Topic Initiation/Topic Following coding scheme (Tracey, 1986) no differences were found between dropout and continuation sessions, whereas the Family-Relational Communication Control Coding Scheme (Heatherington and Friedlander, 1987) yielded a number of significant findings. Both in ‘successful’ and in ‘unsuccessful’ dropout sessions, therapeutic interaction was found to be more conflictive than in continuation cases, with clients showing more domineering behaviour in dropout than in continuation sessions. Markovian and lag sequential analysis are used to clarify some of these findings, and their implications are discussed.