School of Social Work

insoo kim berg headshot

Insoo Kim Berg

Insoo Kim Berg, LCSW, MSSW

Insoo Kim Berg, MSSW (1934-2007), was co-founder and director of the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee, WI. She developed the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) model with her partner, Steve de Shazer. A native of Korea, Insoo balanced her heritage with Western scientific training in her clinical practice and teaching.

Berg served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Family Psychology and Counseling Series, Families in Society, and Family Process. She was a founder of the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy Association, clinical member and approved supervisor for the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and was also active in the Wisconsin Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the National Association of Social Workers, and the European Brief Therapy Association. She was a frequent keynote speaker at international conferences and regularly conducted seminars and workshops on SFBT throughout the U.S., Canada, South America, Asia, and Europe.

A prolific writer, Insoo published eight highly acclaimed books in ten years, including More than Miracles: The State of the Art of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (2007), Tales of Solutions (2001), Building Solutions in Child Protective Services (2000), and Interviewing for Solutions (1997 and 2001, 2nd ed).

Michael White Headshot

Michael White

Michael White

Michael White (1948-2008) was an Australian social worker and famiy therapist. He is known as the founder of narrative therapy, and for his significant contribution to psychotherapy and family therapy, which have been a source of techniques adopted by other approaches. His first professional job was as a probation and welfare worker. He earned an undergraduate social work degree from teh University of South Australia in 1979 and worked as a psychiatric social worker at the Adelaide Children's Hospital. He founded the Dulwich Centre in 1983.

Michael White was also particularly known for his work with children and Indigenous Aboriginal communities, as well as with schizophrenia, anorexia/bulimia, men's violence, and trauma.

Key therapeutic ideas developed by White include "externalizing the problem," commonly summarized as "the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem"; "re-authoring" the dominant stories of people's lives; and the idea of "double-listening" to accounts of trauma: not only the accounts of trauma itself, but how people have responded to trauma. Key practices of narrative therapy and "maps" of narrative practice include:

  • The statement of position map/externalizing conversations map
  • Re-authoring conversations
  • Re-membering conversations
  • Definitional ceremonies
  • Scaffolding conversations
  • The absent but implicit
  • Responding to personal failure conversations