More Than Miracles


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The State of the Art of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

Written by pioneering experts in the field, More Than Miracles remains the authoritative text on solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT). The final work of the world-renowned family therapists and original developers of SFBT, the late Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg, this comprehensive resource informs practitioners and students in how to apply this practical, internationally acclaimed approach.

With a new preface, this classic edition outlines the latest developments in the fields of family therapy, brief therapy, and psychotherapy training and practice. A succinct overview orients the reader to the current landscape of SFBT and provides three real-life case transcripts that illustrate the practical applications of SFBT techniques. The seminar format of the text allows readers to:

  • sit in on surprising psychotherapy sessions
  • eavesdrop on the authors’ commentary about the sessions
  • gain a comprehensive overview on the current state of SFBT
  • review and understand the major tenets of SFBT
  • learn specific interventions, including the miracle question and the reasons for asking it
  • understand treatment applicability
  • read actual session transcripts
  • understand the “miracle scale”
  • get insight into the unique relationship between Wittgenstein’s philosophy and SFBT
  • better understand SFBT and emotions
  • examine misconceptions about SFBT
  • and more

Suitable for both advanced practitioners and ambitious beginners, this book is the ideal resource for anyone seeking an in-depth understanding of the SFBT approach, the concepts that inform it, and the specific techniques that characterize its implementation.


  • 1. A Brief Overview
  • 2. I Feel Really Confused
  • 3. The Miracle Question
  • 4. The Miracle Scale
  • 5. The Friendly Stomach Discussion
  • 6. Don’t Think, But Observe
  • 7. My Real Self
  • 8. Private Experience and the Verb “To Be”
  • 9. SFBT and Emotions
  • 10. Questions, Misconceptions, and Joys

Author Bio:

Steve de Shazer, MSW, is co-developer of solution-focused brief therapy. He has published numerous journal articles and five ground-breaking books, which have been translated into 14 languages. He died in September 2005 in Vienna.

Yvonne Dolan is the author of five books and numerous articles and chapters on solution-focused brief therapy. She has been a psychotherapist for 30 years, lectures, and teaches seminars around the world on solution-focused brief therapy.


“Those willing to delve into this unique work – even seasoned therapists – are lucky enough to embark on an initiatory journey by becoming part of the ongoing seminar this book brings to life. Its very form is moulded by the collaborative, highly respectful process of Solution-Focused Therapy and training, in which therapists and clients, trainers and trainees learn to learn from each other. In attending to how SFT techniques allow each of these parties to follow closely what the other says and how they say it, thereby achieving their respective goals, readers will surely find their view of therapy transformed.” – Marika Moisseeff, psychiatrist and anthropologist; research fellow at the French National Center of Scientific Research.

“Informed by the close, systematic observation of therapeutic encounters and a Wittgensteinian attention to context and language use, Solution-Focused Therapy is concerned less with the theoretical whys of hurtful repetition than with the concrete hows of hopeful change. The authors of this newly prefaced, analytically generous volume tack back-and-forth between grounded explanations of SFT’s basic tools, comment-punctuated excerpts of actual therapy sessions in which they are put into effect, and insightful discussions of the larger issues they bring to the fore. In doing so, Steve de Shazer, Yvonne Dolan et al. provide an engaging yet comprehensive, multi-layered understanding of one of the most rigorous, demonstrably effective therapeutic approaches available today.” – Michael Houseman, directeur d’études, École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris)

“This text is a timely and valuable gathering together of the ‘state of the art’ of solution-focused brief therapy. Because of the simplicity of the chapters dealing with the core tenets of SFBT, it offers a valuable read for trainees who are working their way through the model. The first chapter is an excellent and simple summary of the whole model, with the verbatims demonstrating the principles. Likewise, experienced practitioners will find a pleasurable and thorough review of their knowledge of SFBT, with the level of detail just right.” – Peter W. Cantwell, PhD Lecturer, Swinburne University and Williams Road Family Therapy Centre, Victoria, Australia.

…essential reading…extremely valuable…must reading for SFBT therapists…a valuable resource for inquisitive practictioners….There is much to be learned about the specialized use of language in SFBT and this book provides an illuminating look into this topic…” – Wallace J. Gingerich, PhD, Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services.