Have You Heard the Latest Rumor About…? Solution-Focused Therapy as a Rumor


  • We thank Insoo Kim Berg, Courtney Marlaire, and the anonymous reviewers of Family Process for their comments on an earlier draft of this article. We can now publicly say that this project was originally Insoo's idea. She arranged for a meeting, convinced us to do a paper on this topic, and then disappeared to leave us with all of the work to do. Correspondence may be sent to either Gale Miller or Steve de Shazer (or both); reprint requests should be sent to Steve de Shazer.

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    A work originally published, in German, in 1935.


This essay treats solution-focused therapy as a rumor. Solution-focused therapy is a series of stories that members of diverse therapist communities tell one another. Our version of this rumor stresses how solution-focused therapy is a job involving language games, political relations, and ethical issues. We use this starting point to tell a story that links solution-focused therapy to Wittgenstein's philosophy of language, and to aspects of postmodernist social thought. We also discuss how solution-focused therapy is organized as a politics of possibilities.