MiniMax Interventions

15 simple therapeutic interventions that have maximum impact

By: Manfred Prior


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 188 x 124mm
Pages : 108
ISBN : 9781785831164
Format: Paperback
Published: February 2017

In MiniMax Interventions, Manfred Prior presents therapeutic communication strategies that are designed to achieve a lot with just a few linguistic alterations: maximum results for minimal effort. These tried-and-tested communication strategies can be used in an effective way by any therapeutic practitioner, in almost any kind of session. The step-by-step methods can make a huge contribution to helping patients and clients solve their problems and clarify their goals more quickly. They are easy to understand and put into practice and, as such, their profound effect will be readily observable.

It takes a lot of time and experience to condense such a lot of information into such a short book, and such powerful transformative effects into short therapeutic phrases. Manfred Prior has studied the speech patterns of successful communication in psychotherapy, medicine and counselling for more than 30 years. As one of the most renowned hypnosis instructors in the German-speaking world, he has taught effective communication techniques and methods to psychotherapists, doctors and dentists since the mid-eighties. For the first time, his insights are now available in the English-speaking world. The book, originally published in German as the bestselling MiniMax-Interventionen: 15 minimale Interventionen mit maximaler Wirkung, is translated by Professor Paul Bishop.

MiniMax interventions provide the basis for efficient communication as well as human encounter. They help reduce resistance from patients or – more precisely – do not let it build up. They strengthen the relationship between therapist and patient and build motivation and willingness to cooperate. Finally, they demonstrate time and again how a few short words can have long-lasting therapeutic consequences.

Suitable for psychotherapists, counsellors, supervisors, coaches and organisational consultants. If you want to improve your communication skills in a decisive yet practical way this succinct, accessible book is for you.

Click here to read the review of MiniMax Interventions on page 20, Vol.37, No.3 of The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter.

Picture for author Manfred Prior

Manfred Prior

In his native Germany, Manfred Prior is a popular and well-known trainer in the use of precise language in hypnotherapy and counselling. In his capacity as a psychotherapist, counsellor and coach, he is always trying to find new possibilities, ways to improve and workable solutions. Fundamentally, Manfred Prior is interested in how people can achieve the greatest possible success from the least amount of effort. 


  1. Manfred Prior's MiniMax Interventions is the most powerful book I have ever read on the use of therapeutic language. The 15 therapeutic strategies that are clearly described will make therapists more effective in their clinical work. I will enjoy reading it again and again in the years ahead; it's clarity makes reading a pleasure, and its brevity make reading easy. It is a treasure - a gift to the field that will keep on giving.
  2. This book offers 15 simple and effective MiniMax interventions for maximum impact in helping clients to change. Manfred Prior, an experienced therapist and presenter, shares what he has learned, using practical language, and focusing on the finer points of linguistic communication.

    MiniMax intervention #1 involves the phrase “In the past,...” Since clients often talk about what has happened to them in the past, concerning their problems, a helpful phrase to change thinking could be, “In the past (or until now) you had suffered from...had problems vis-a-vis (fill in appropriately),” etc. This simple reorientation in time places the client's difficulties firmly in the past.

    MiniMax intervention #3 involves the phrase “But instead,...?” The author states, “When people are asked about their therapeutic goals, they usually know very well what they do not want and where they do not want to go.” (p.17) Here's a sample dialogue: Patient: “Last week we did not argue nearly as much...” Therapist: “But instead, you did what? How did you treat each other?” (p. 18) In this instance, the therapist asks the patient what he or she did differently from the old behavior.

    I especially liked MiniMax intervention #7 and the example (p. 39) of someone struggling with weight control: “You are suffering from being overweight.” (This would be a direct acknowledgement.) As an intervention, the therapist might say, “You have not yet found your weight goal. You have not yet found sufficient ways to lose weight and reach your target weight.” Those two simple words, “not yet,” empowers the client to find appropriate ways to change, e.g., “weaknesses have not yet become strengths.”

    In intervention #8 on constructive questions, Prior uses the three words, “when,” “what,” and “how.” For instance, “What abilities do you have that could help you in this difficult situation?” and “How have you been able to manage in the past?” Intervention #10 is a variant of the Miracle Question and the client is asked, “Let's assume you were to...” This question is posed so that the client can think about how life would be different if he or she acted differently, i.e., acted as if the concern or problem had disappeared. The client can then devise realistic solutions.

    The last MiniMax intervention (#15) is the RR rule, which simply states that in interactions with others (usually in couples therapy) arguments and conflicts can be resolved by changing a “rebuke” into a “request.” Couples' conflicts are generally about differing expectations. Therefore, clients are advised: Do not argue about these matters. Instead, talk openly and state your request for a different behavior. The example offered is a wife who directly says to her husband, who leaves all the housework to her, “I wish that in the future you'd do some of the work around the house.” And, “If you forget any of my requests -- which can easily happen -- then simply make it up to me by doing something thoughtful.”

    At the end of each chapter a little bear (who speaks like an Aussie!) offers his comments in a delightfully charming way.

    This book is well suited for psychotherapists, counselors, supervisors, coaches, and organizational consultants, who will certainly get their money's worth out of this wonderfully pragmatic book.

    Click here to read this review on page 20 in The Milton H. Erickson Newsletter, Vol.37, No.3.
  3. MiniMax Interventions is a wonderful little gem of a book! As I began to grasp how important the short, yet effective interventions were, I was reminded of the story told by the Dalai Lama that “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” In other words, don't be fooled by simplicity of the interventions and the impact that they will have on your communication and rapport building. I know this as I have been using them myself over the last 20 years in my own psychotherapy work. In that sense it is delightful to see the interventions presented in this way in this incredibly useful book.

    As Dr Prior writes, you can use the interventions in any order, so the book will really help you when looking at how to improve the connections you have with a variety of clients. You will benefit from having a reference to clear transitional statements, which can help your clients, patients and those you communicate with conceptualise what they are experiencing in an easy and natural way, so that they can begin to re-form their own story, and expand their awareness.

    In times where communication can be challenging, the MiniMax interventions will help you to offer clear examples of what can help in your communication, utilising the power of comparable situations, real life stories (which are by far the most transformational learning aids), and questions that are full of powerful insights and paths to change.

    Above all, this book will help you speak the most important language of all in your communication, which is the language of your client, patient, colleague or staff member. Intervention number 14 for me shows this most profoundly. The ideas around -˜empathic negation' were a delight to read. I've often said to my students that “There's no such thing as a resistant client, just a lack of rapport” - so reading Dr Prior's ideas as to how to work with resistance or difficult people was incredibly refreshing.

    I highly recommend this book to help you easily and quickly improve the quality and impact of your communication!
  4. Dr Prior's MiniMax Interventions is a wonderfully concise and clear toolbox of verbal interventions that will greatly enhance the therapeutic management in every patient and client interview. His tools should become adopted and used by any psychotherapist, psychiatrist, social worker or physician who wants to shorten the duration and improve the effectiveness of treatment. Furthermore, counsellors, nurses and teachers will benefit highly from reading the book.
  5. Manfred Prior is the most popular and well-known trainer in the use of precise language in hypnotherapy and counselling in Germany. His book, MiniMax-Interventionen, is one of the most amazing bestsellers in the German language psychological field. It has sold so many copies that it can't only be psychotherapists and MDs who are using it to enhance their communicative skills, most probably a lot of lawyers, politicians, executive managers and school teachers have spotted the immense value of this book for professional communication.
  6. I am an advocate of simple tools because they are so easy to integrate into one's life. They have a direct path to the heart and soul. Manfred Prior has done an amazing job of creating exactly that - plus, his tools are adaptable to every walk of life. As the Apple slogan said, -˜Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.' Congratulations Dr Prior, you are a wonderfully simple and ultimately sophisticated creator!
  7. A very interesting take on the use of language within therapy. It is not about interventions in the sense of how you use Gestalt or Time Line, for example, but about the language used by both the client and therapist. By truly listening to the phrases used by the client we can ascertain so much more about their issue. 

    The simplistic language used within this book should not be dismissed; it takes a lot of work to simplify complex issues and the use of language within a therapeutic situation. The book moves onto constructive questions and their use and power within therapy. Once again the author manages to write about this in an ingenious manner.

    As the book progresses there is guidance about combining some of the MiniMax interventions which will be very helpful, especially for the newly qualified practitioner. I have no doubt that this book will be a wonderful reference tool that all therapists will dip into on a regular basis within their practice.
  8. Good therapeutic work is about creating fluid possibilities where only rigid fixed patterns existed. This delightful book by Manfred Prior is an elegant guide for how to communicate in a way that helps people to do just that. I highly recommend it!
  9. Manfred Prior is one of the pre-eminent practitioners of psychotherapy in Europe. In MiniMax Interventions he offers practical, immediately applicable procedures that promote the process of change. Apply the MiniMax method and become a more effective therapist/coach.

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