"Knowing when to push, when to let go, what to listen to, and what to ignore - all these skills are based on the profound respect for human dignity and working to restore a sense of who they are and what they want to be."
Insoo Kim Berg
July 25, 1934 to January 10, 2007
Insoo Kim Berg, along with her husband, Steve de Shazer, was a primary developer of the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) approach. A world renowned psychotherapist, lecturer and author, she was co-founder and Executive Director of the Brief Family Therapy Center (BFTC) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, and trained therapists all around the world in the SFBT approach.
A prolific writer, she authored numerous articles clarifying the SFBT approach, and 10 ground-breaking books elucidating its application to a wide variety of clinical, social service, and other settings. Her books, which have been translated into many languages, include, among others Interviewing for Solutions, Tales of Solutions, Family Based Solutions, Solutions Step by Step, Children's Solution Work, Brief Coaching for Lasting Solutions, and most recently, More than Miracles.
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.
Born July 25th, 1934, Berg was raised in Korea and studied at Ewha Women's University in Seoul prior to moving to the United States to study in 1957. She earned B.S. and MSSW degrees at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, completed post-graduate studies at the Family Institute of Chicago, the Menninger Foundation, and the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, CA where she was mentored by the late John Weakland. It was at MRI that she first met Steve de Shazer.
She worked at Milwaukee Family Services in the early years of her career. Berg consulted to a widely diverse range of institutions and programs including, among others, human service agencies, social service and mental health centers, drug and alcohol abuse treatment facilities, foster homes, homeless shelters, battered women's shelters, correction departments, home based family services programs, primary and secondary schools, various universities, the State of Michigan, and professional business coaching organizations.
An extremely hard working person, she took obvious pleasure in her work and rarely took a day off. In her personal life, she enjoyed a wide range of physical activities including daily walks, stretching exercises, and gardening. As an advanced yoga practitioner, her flexibility and balance surpassed fellow classmates half her age. She liked to read well-written novels and enjoyed classical music but also appreciated the beauty of silence and the tranquility of nature, and knew how to savor the every day magic of satisfying conversation, healthful well-prepared food, and the welcome respite of a good night's sleep after a long journey or a day of hard work.
Berg was widely recognized as a profoundly gifted clinician. Her impressive intellect was balanced by an abiding compassion for others and a modest, informal demeanor. Her deeply caring attitude was punctuated by a lively sense of humor, a warm, ready smile, infectious optimism, and enthusiasm. She radiated undeniable respect and absolute confidence in the self-expertise of each individual person. She affected everyone she came into contact with in profound ways both personally and professionally.
Insoo Kim Berg passed away suddenly in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 10th, 2007. She was 72 years old.