Problem Solving Brief Therapy: A Case Conducted by John Weakland.

Eduard Carratala, Anna Vilaregut, Karin Schlanger, Cristina Günther


This study aimed to analyze a case conducted by John Weakland, as a cofounder of Problem Solving Brief Therapy (PSBT), in order to have a better understanding of the model and how it is developed. Existing literature was reviewed emphasizing the most characteristic aspects of PSBT, which focuses primarily on promoting changes. The case studied is of a couple that requested therapy at the Mental Research Institute (MRI) in 1992 because they were afraid of their son diagnosed with schizophrenic disorder. The couple was visited by John Weakland, cofounder of the PSBT, and considered to be a pioneer in the field of family therapy. With over 30 years of experience as a psychotherapist, he always sought to promote simple strategies for solving problems of human behavior. The case occurred in two sessions, presenting a positive follow-up feedback from the clients, three weeks after the last session of the therapy. Transcriptions were content analyzed with the support of the Atlas.ti software, considering the therapist’s speech turns as units of analysis (n=136). The analysis shows that Weakland, within two sessions, Explores in 52.2% and Intervenes in 44.1%. Data suggests that PSBT, as applied by Weakland, is characterized for being highly intervening and focused on the present, using a language that facilitates understanding of the process, and thus allows a concise therapy.

Palabras clave

Systemic Family Therapy; Problem Solving Brief Therapy; Weakland; Problem Definition; Attempted Solutions

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