Collaborative Brief Therapy with Children

Matthew D. Selekman

Hardcovere-bookprint + e-book
March 18, 2010
ISBN 9781606235683
Price: $46.00
332 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
March 1, 2011
ePub ?
Price: $46.00
332 Pages
print + e-book
Hardcover + e-Book (ePub) ?
Price: $92.00 $50.60
332 Pages

In this engaging guide, Matthew Selekman presents cutting-edge strategies for helping children and their families overcome a wide range of emotional and behavioral challenges. Vivid case material illustrates how to engage clients rapidly and implement interventions that elicit their strengths. Integrating concepts and tools from a variety of therapeutic traditions, Selekman describes creative applications of interviewing, family art and play, postmodern and narrative techniques, and positive psychology. He highlights ways to promote spontaneity, fun, and new possibilities—especially with clients who feel stuck in longstanding difficulties and entrenched patterns of interaction. The book updates and refines the approach originally presented in Selekman's acclaimed Solution-Focused Therapy with Children.

“Selekman's book has a common-sense approach that is very much reflected in its straightforward title. The 12 chapters are divided into logical sections ranging from discussion of the background to his selected therapies and assessment techniques, through to suggestions for working with complex difficulties and implications for the future....There are plenty of examples of Selekman's way of working, along with an abundance of illustrations and ideas. Each step of his therapeutic process is described in an honest and unpretentious way, and he also aims to create transparency in this respect, including how he manages ethical and cultural issues. The case examples are particularly useful for demonstrating how an intervention could work in practice, including dilemmas and pitfalls, and it was useful and informative to have the background, rationale, and theory set out around them....This is an easily readable book, with straightforward language, which offers numerous suggestions and strategies that can be incorporated into therapy sessions by counsellors, therapists, and psychologists wishing to expand their repertoire of skills and interventions. I found the book refreshingly useful in practical terms, and would recommend it to practitioners as a readily accessible resource they could tap into for ideas to further help children and families to create positive changes and foster loving, caring relationships.”

Counselling Children and Young People

“Selekman weaves together the best of evidence-based and strengths-based psychology with creative new approaches, providing a fresh and needed resource for those who work with children and their families.”

—Barbara L. Fredrickson, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“The books that truly captivate me are few and far between, and this one was compelling and immediately useful. Selekman embraces the creative imagination and puts it at the forefront of his work with families. By welcoming and working on an equal footing with clients to chart a course to the changes they want to make, Selekman demonstrates true collaboration and mutual respect. I was particularly struck with his determination to engage children directly, give them a strong voice, and focus consistently on the family’s strengths. This book is fun and informative reading; I highly recommend it!”

—Eliana Gil, PhD, Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education, Fairfax, VA

“Kudos to Matthew Selekman! In clear and practical terms, he spells out the best strategies for successful clinical work with kids and families, drawing from a comprehensive and diverse list of traditional and cutting-edge theories and practices. Get this book. It will help you harness the strengths of both the field and your clients.”

—Scott D. Miller, PhD, Co-Director, Institute for the Study of Therapeutic Change

“Anyone interested in psychotherapeutic approaches for children should find much here that is thought provoking and useful. Selekman builds on his prior work and presents new material that integrates research, theoretical ideas from a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches, stimulating case examples, and applications to new areas, including schools and primary care. This rich resource has much to offer for beginners and experienced clinicians, individual and family therapists, committed brief therapists and skeptics.”

—Thomas C. Todd, PhD, Director, Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Adler School of Professional Psychology

Table of Contents

1. Expanding the Possibilities: A Collaborative Strengths-Based Brief Therapy Approach with Children

2. The Collaborative Strengths-Based Family Assessment Session

3. Interviewing for Change: Co-Creating Compelling Future Realities with Children and Their Families

4. Finding Fit: Guidelines for Therapeutic Experiment Design, Selection, and Implementation

5. Curious George Meets Dr. Seuss: Family Play and Art Experiments

6. Bringing Out the Best in Children: A Solution-Oriented Parenting Approach

7. Guidelines for Optimizing Therapeutic Cooperation in Second and Subsequent Sessions

8. Co-Constructing Change: Hosting Collaborative Conversations with Allies from Larger Systems

9. Building Strong Bridges from School to Home: Establishing Successful Collaborative Partnerships with Families and School Professionals

10. Establishing Successful Family-Oriented Primary Care Partnerships with Pediatricians

11. From Therapeutic Black Holes to Possibilities: Resolving Complex Child Treatment Dilemmas

12. Collaborative Strengths-Based Therapy and Beyond: Major Themes and Implications for the Future

About the Author

Matthew D. Selekman, MSW, LCSW, is a family therapist and addictions counselor in private practice and Director of Partners for Collaborative Solutions, an international family therapy training and consulting firm in Skokie, Illinois. He is an Approved Supervisor with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Mr. Selekman served as the invited Henry Maier Practitioner-in-Residence at the School of Social Work of the University of Washington and is a three-time recipient of the Walter S. Rosenberry Award from Children’s Hospital Colorado for his significant contributions to the fields of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. The author of numerous professional articles and seven books, including Working with High-Risk Adolescents and Collaborative Brief Therapy with Children, Mr. Selekman consults worldwide to schools and treatment programs serving adolescents and their families. Since 1985, he has given workshops extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, Southeast Asia, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. His website is


Social workers, family therapists, clinical child and school psychologists, counselors, and child and adolescent psychiatrists.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.