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Offering Expert Knowledge Within a Not-Knowing Solution-Focused Paradigm: A Contradiction in Terms or a Helpful Response to (Some) Real Life Conundrums?

Steve Flatt, Suzi Curtis


One of the fundamental tenets of solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) is that its strengths-based starting point and the not-knowing stance of the therapist are sufficient to ensure that most clients progress without the need for reliance on expert knowledge (Anderson & Goolishian, 1992). Occasionally, however, the authors have found that certain clients’ progress can be expedited by the introduction of information previously unknown to them, specifically in connection with changes to their physiological responses to previously innocuous stimuli. This information provides the clients with a framework for understanding their responses, which would not have been forthcoming through questioning, whether solution-focused or otherwise. Once this information has been offered to the client, we have found that responses to solution-focused questions regarding best hopes, preferred futures and next steps are more forthcoming due to the client’s increased sense of hope. The authors conclude, therefore, that offering expert knowledge within a solution-focused paradigm can indeed be a helpful response to some real life conundrums.


not-knowing, expert knowledge, solution-focused, SFBT, CBT, PTSD

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.14335/ijsfp.v1i1.12

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