Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Exception Question in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Fangzhou YuEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_1071

Name of Strategy or Intervention

Exception Question in Couple and Family Therapy


Exception questions are an intervention used to uncover exceptions to the current problem in the client’s life. These kinds of questions encourage competency-based conversations. They allow the therapist to discover clients’ previous successes and amplify the clients’ strengths (Trepper et al. 2010). If miracle questions help to identify the treatment goals, exception questions provide the possible pathways to achieve these goals.

Theoretical Framework

Exception questions are among the main techniques of solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT). The SFBT treatment model is supported by over 30 years of theoretical development and empirical research (De Jong and Berg 2012). Built upon the foundation of social constructivism, SFBT emphasizes the collaboration between the therapist and the client. The therapist is interested in listening to what clients want and what is important to them. The...

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  4. Trepper, T. S., McCollum, E. E., de Jong, P., Korman, H., Gingerich, W., & Franklin, C. (2010). Solution Focused Therapy Treatment Manual for Working with Individuals. Research Committee of the Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association. Retrieved from http://www.so1ut.ionfocused.net/ treatment manual.

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