1st Edition

Solution Focused Brief Therapy with Children and Young People who Stammer and their Parents A Practical Guide from the Michael Palin Centre

By Ali Berquez, Martha Jeffery Copyright 2024
    252 Pages 43 B/W Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    252 Pages 43 B/W Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    This book offers speech and language therapists, and other allied health professionals, a practical resource for working in a distinctive way with children and young people, and their parents, to achieve their ‘best hopes’ from therapy. The authors share a wealth of knowledge and experience from the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering about how they use Solution Focused Brief Therapy to enhance their practice. This resource manual:

    • Provides a step-by-step guide to starting solution-focused conversations, having follow-up meetings, drawing attention to what’s working, and ending well.
    • Illustrates work with a broad range of clients who stammer, including clients with additional physical, learning, and emotional needs.
    • Demonstrates the benefits of working systemically with children and young people and their parents or carers.
    • Supports therapists to develop skills in working collaboratively with clients on what they want to achieve from therapy.
    • Gives examples of how to ask helpful questions and have hope-filled conversations.
    • Considers the benefits and challenges of working in a solution-focused way.
    • Describes how to adapt solution-focused conversations according to the client’s age and stage.
    • Presents a range of applications of SFBT including in groups and in clinical supervision.

    The manual is illustrated by a rich variety of case examples which brings the material to life and enables the reader to apply the principles to their own setting. It is an essential practical resource for therapists hoping to develop their skills in empowering parents and in supporting children and young people towards living their best life.

    List of figures 

    Foreword by Evan George



    1 Introduction

    You (the reader) and SFBT

    An introduction to Solution Focused Brief Therapy

    A brief history of SFBT at the Michael Palin Centre

    Current thinking about stammering and how SFBT helps us

    Our assessment process and SFBT

    How we use SFBT in therapy – an eclectic approach

    2 Our First Solution-Focused Conversation

    Meeting the person, not the problem

    Exploring best hopes

    Looking for solutions and what’s already working using scaling


    Summing up and ending the session

    3 Progress over Time

    What’s going well

    Thinking more about scaling and best hopes

    Broadening the view of self

    When it’s not going so well

    Process of change and coping with setbacks

    How to manage diverging hopes

    Follow-up sessions with young adults

    When to meet again

    Ending therapy

    4 Solution-Focused Conversations with Children and Young People

    Talking to younger children

    Exploring best hopes with younger children

    Exploring the concept of scaling

    Using metaphors and imagery

    Talking to young people

    Children and young people with learning or language needs

    Autistic children and young people

    Children and young people with physical disability

    Children and young people with emotional health needs

    5 Solution-Focused Conversations with Parents

    Why include parents?

    Parenting children who stammer

    Parenting children with additional needs

    Working systemically

    6 Using SFBT in Groups

    Working in groups

    The benefits of group therapy

    7 The Evidence Base, the Benefits, and the Challenges

    The evidence base for SFBT

    Benefits of SFBT

    Challenges of SFBT

    Frequently asked questions

    8 Other Applications of SFBT

    Exploring a stammering ‘toolkit’ using a SF perspective

    Handling criticism using SFBT

    SFBT in other settings

    9 Becoming a Solution-Focused Therapist

    Therapist skills

    Using SFBT in supervision

    10 Conclusion





    Ali Berquez is Clinical Lead Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) at the Michael Palin Centre (MPC), a Registered Certified European Stuttering Specialist and Chair of the UK’s National Stammering Clinical Excellence Network. She contributes to the Centre’s clinical work and development of therapy programmes, teaching, writing, and research, and offers clinical supervision to therapists in and outside the MPC. Ali started training in Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) with BRIEF in London in 1999 and completed a BRIEF certificate in Solution Focused Practice in 2019. Her SFBT research has focused on exploring parents’ and children’s expectations from therapy and what parents and children notice over time.

    Martha Jeffery is a Highly Specialist SLT at the MPC. Before speech and language therapy, she had a former life in conference organisation and banking. She came across SFBT in her first job as an SLT in 2009, but it wasn’t until she started at the MPC in 2013 that it became embedded in her practice. Over time, she learned not to dread the ‘What have you been pleased to notice?’ question in team meetings and supervision and to enjoy the way it turned her perspective around. She has an Advanced Certificate in Solution Focused Brief Therapy from BRIEF’s year-long programme in 2021.

    "The first text to focus uniquely on the use of the approach in the field of stammering, this book is indeed a ‘Practical Guide’, setting out the model clearly and taking us step by step through the key elements of practice. The theory is illuminated and brought to life through a wealth of case descriptions and pieces of transcript which will not only inform readers, setting out how the approach can be put to work, but will also inspire. This book shines a light on a path that many Speech and Language Therapists will choose to follow and in so doing they will also be part of shaping the future of Solution Focused Brief Therapy with Children and Young People who Stammer and their Parents."

    Evan George, BRIEF