Interview with Wally Gingerich

By Coert Visser (2010)

Wallace Gingerich is Professor Emeritus of Social Work at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. As a core member of the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee (BFTC), Wisconsin, in the 1980s, he has been an important contributor to the development of the solution-focused approach. In this interview, he looks back on how and why he joined BFCT and on how the solution-focused approach emerged in the next few years after he joined. Also, he talks about the BRIEFER project and about a soon to be published review of the research on the effectiveness of the solution-focused approach. Finally, he reflects on the ways the solution-focused approach may further develop.

Could you tell a bit about when and how you got involved with the Brief Family Therapy Center?

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Anton Stellamans said...

Thanks for yet another brilliant interview with one of the co-founders, Coert. Together with the interviews of Insoo Kim Berg and Eve Lipchik, they provide a good insight in the development of SF. It makes us realize how different and original their approach was in those years. Things that are obvious now were completely new back then. Luckily for us they were so brave to notice things in the therapeutic interaction that had been overlooked before.
PS. I hope you will publish all your articles -and many yet to come- as a book one day.

Coert Visser said...

hi Anton, thanks. glad you like it. I agree that it is very interesting to get an idea from those pioneers about things were back then. I found Wally's answers very interesting because they contain some stories which are not often told (for example, the part about BRIEFER).

Anonymous said...

Hi Coert,
I think it's a beautiful interview. I described the rules or the expertsystem Briefer 1 and Briefer 2 (the flow charts) in my book "Oplossingsgerichte korte psychotherapie" on p.18 and p.31. Sometimes I still use these in courses.
Regards, Hans Cladder

Coert Visser said...

Hi Hans, thanks. I know, I've read your book. I think it's a good book.

Gwenda Schlundt Bodien said...

Impressive interview & very very interesting read indeed! Gwenda

Coert Visser said...


Sue Young said...

I recently enjoyed the EBTA conference in Malmo and attended Wally's workshop. Your interview complements and enhances that experience perfectly. I was particularly struck here by what he calls the ‘topography’ of interviews… "what was different (elicit), how did that happen (amplify), express surprise and amazement (reinforce), and then focus on what else needed to happen (initiate)."
Brilliant job, Coert!

Coert Visser said...

Hi Sue, Thank you! I am very pleased with this interview because of the careful and considered way in which Wally approached the questions. I think, each answer contains interesting views and facts. Because of this, I think the interview will offer something new for even the most experienced solution-focused practitioners.

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