At the 2009 EBTA conference in Helsinki Janet Bavelas, Harry Korman and Peter de Jong presented their micro analysis research on the different ways in which Motivational, Cognitive Behavioral and Solution Focused Brief therapists co-construct the therapeutic reality.
N.B. As their results have - to my knowledge - not yet been published I have to rely on my notes to tell you the results of their study.
A micro analysis is a detailed examination of observable communication sequences between client and therapist. Their focus was directed to the formulation of the therapist, i.e. the comments, remarks, reformulations, the therapist adds to what the client is saying in order to construct a useful dialogue. They identify formulations as echoing, summarizing, paraphrasing, reflecting, mirroring, ...
They make a distinction between formulations that
1. preserve the clients words (literally or deictically)
2. delete (overlooks) words or phrases of the client
3. rephrase what the client said in altered form
3. add to what the client said
Here are their findings of comaring Berg and Korman (SFT) vs Meichenbaum, Lichtenberg (both CBT) and Miller (MT):
% words preserved exactly: SFT 46% > CBT/MT 23%
% words preserved deictically SFT 11% > CBT/MT 6%
(Together : SFT 57% > CBT/MT 29% !)
% words preserved in altered form SFT 36% < CBT/MT 33%
(about the same)
% words added SFT 10% < CBT/MT 35% (!)
These results show a significant difference between SFT and CBT in the way the therapist co-construct the therapeutic reality.
So, what seems to be "very similar" in the comparison of both therapeutic approaches, appears to be quite different when we take a closer look. That is why it is important not only to compare the theories or what is written about SF and CBT, but also to study what is actually happening in the therapeutical conversation. "Remain at the surface!"