Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Miracle Question in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Fangzhou YuEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_1072

Name of Strategy or Intervention

The Miracle Question in Couple and Family Therapy

Introduction

The miracle question is an intervention used to explore clients’ hidden resources or solutions for their present problems. When therapists ask a miracle question, they build a good story line and lead the clients to envision how different their life would be if a miracle happened over night. Clients’ answers to the miracle question usually bring insights for themselves and help define the goals of therapy.

Theoretical Framework

The miracle question, along with scaling question and exception question, are key techniques in solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), which is a goal-oriented, future-focused approach created by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg in the early 1980s (de Shazer et al. 1986). One of the assumptions of SFBT is that clients are capable of constructing their own solutions to improve their current situation (de Shazer 1985; de Shazer et al. 2006). Clients are viewed as...

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References

  1. Berg, I. K., & Kelly, S. (2000). Building solutions in child protective services. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  2. de Shazer, S. (1985). Keys to solution in brief therapy. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  3. de Shazer, S., Berg, I. K., Lipchik, E., Nunnall, E., Molnar, A., Gingerich, W., & Weiner-Davis, M. (1986). Brief therapy: Focused solution development. Family Process, 25(2), 207–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. de Shazer, S., Dolan, Y. M., Korman, H., Trepper, T. S., McCollum, E. E., & Berg, I. K. (2006). More than miracles: The state of the art of solution focused therapy. New York: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  5. Ramisch, J. L., McVicker, M., & Sahin, Z. S. (2009). Helping low-conflict divorced parents establish appropriate boundaries using a variation of the miracle question: An integration of solution-focused therapy and structural family therapy. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 50(7), 481–495.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10502550902970587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Strong, T., & Pyle, N. R. (2009). Constructing a conversational “miracle”: Examining the “miracle question” as it is used in therapeutic dialogue. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 22(4), 328–353.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10720530903114001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Counseling Department, The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Margarita Tarragona
    • 1
  • Bahareh Sahebi
    • 2
  1. 1.PositivaMente & Grupo Campos ElíseosMexico CityMexico
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA