Insoo Kim Berg
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Berg, Insoo Kim Of Wauwatosa, passed away peacefully on Jan. 10, 2007. She was 72 years old. Born and raised in Seoul, Korea, Insoo attended Ewha Women's University prior to coming to the United States in 1957. Abandoning her studies in pharmacy as a major in Korea, Insoo elected to dedicate her career learning about family and earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work at UWM. Additionally, she completed post graduate studies at the Family Institute of Chicago, the Menninger Foundation in Kansas, and the Mental Research Institute in California. Insoo was, along with her late husband Steve de Shazer, the primary developer of the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) model and together they founded the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee in 1982. 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, school and social service settings. Her books, which have been translated into many languages, include Interviewing for Solutions, Tales of Solution, Family Based Services, Problem Drinker, and most recently, More than Miracles (currently in press). She is, however, best known as a globe-trotting trainer who traveled to many corners of the world and in US to teach, train and consult with other professionals. She is remembered by many of her colleagues worldwide as passionate, inspiring, witty, humble and generous. Often teased as the "hardest working" woman alive, Insoo loved the funny pages, the New York Times, Mozart piano concertos, jokes with one short punch line, long walks, and red wine. She is survived by daughter Sarah and her partner Amy Underberg, sister CJ Kim and her husband Marshall Perlman in Milwaukee; brothers Haksoo, Taiksoo and Hunsoo Kim and their wives and children in Korea. Insoo was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Steve de Shazer. Her family sends their special thanks to the staff at Wisconsin Athletic Club in Wauwatosa for their respectful attention to her on the day she died. Private services and internment to be held. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Steve de Shazer Research Fund, c/o Greater Milwaukee Foundation are appreciated. Schmidt & Bartelt Funeral and Cremation Services (414) 774-5010 Wauwatosa.

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Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Jan. 21, 2007.
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Memories & Condolences
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22 entries
April 9, 2009
So pleased to have heard you in Glasgow a few years ago speaking about 'Yes'language. I will remember you for the 'WOW' factor.
Cath Graham, Fife
Cath Graham
February 5, 2008
I was honored to have met and learned from Insoo in two separate trainings in Tulsa Oklahoma. She truely had more of an impact on my therapy style than anyone else. I also personally gained a great deal of courage from her stories and respect. During consultations or treatment team meetings, and we are stuck or find ourselves tempted to label clients, we often ask ourselves "What would Insoo do?" I was greatly saddened by her death, and will always consider her my best professional mentor.
Taylor Burns
August 1, 2007
My heart aches for your family's loss. I was thinking of the "Miracle Question" last night in regards to personal challenges. I would have to say that the highlight of my professional career was having met and trained with Insoo three times in Florida and once online with an international group in her first online course.

I will carry her memory in my heart.

I am so sorry to know of your great loss. You remain in my prayers.
Victoria Redwood Creque
March 9, 2007
I met Insoo in 1979 just as Steve, she and Jim Derks were starting the Brief Family Therapy Center. Through an internship and as a research staff member I practiced therapy, did research, wrote with, and learned from Steve and from Insoo. She has been important to me for many reasons. I will miss her terribly.
alex molnar
March 7, 2007
What a pleasure to have known Insoo even a little. I will always remember my trip to Milwaukee, training with her and Steve, learning from her modeling of how to really respect and listen to others. My sympathy is with you at this time.
Bonnie Smith
February 3, 2007
We, counselors, are so much better equipped to help those who come to us thanks to you. You will always be remembered.
Dawn Carson
January 25, 2007
Insoo was an important person in my life. She was a dear family friend. As an adopted child from Korea, she helped me learn a lot about my heritage and culture of my birth country. I am going to miss her.
HyunJoo Kral
January 25, 2007
Pam and I had the pleasure of Insoo's teaching and her friendship--gifts we treasure. It seems to me that a very few mortals are truly charismatic and that Insoo must have been one of those few. Those of us who crossed paths with her are fortunate and we will never forget her or her teachings. Most fortunate of all, it seems, must be the countless families who have been indirectly affected so positively by Insoo's belief in people.
Bob Macaux
January 24, 2007
Thank you Insoo, for giving us hope and skills to support children and families at risk. There are many people in Norway that will miss you a lot. Your thinking and talking with children and parents will never die.
Marit Bergum Hansen
The National Network of Infant Mental Health in Norway.
Marit Bergum Hansen
January 24, 2007
I admired Insoo from afar for many years after discovering her work, and then last year had the opportunity to work with her over several days. What an inspirational and wise woman.
Viv Hogg
January 23, 2007
Insso left this world, her friends and the world of child welfare better for her touch. She always saw miracles, made miracles and never gave up.I will miss her dearly!
susan kelly
January 23, 2007
If a miracle happened and I woke up the first thing I would notice is that I had just a small amount of the talent, thoughtfulness and compassion that Insoo shared personally and professionally. Together, she and Steve changed the world of therapy - but much more the way we think about human struggle. Thank you. My sympathy to family and chose friends, Insoo made a real difference. Ann Marie Starr
Ann Marie Starr
January 23, 2007
Goodbye Insoo.
You left the world a better place.
Chris Iveson
January 22, 2007
I will miss Insoo very much, as she has given so much of her knowledge and wisdom, in the work of helping others and caring for all those in need.
vince bosso
January 22, 2007
I will miss Insoo greatly. She was an inspiration, a good friend and teacher and made Milwaukee one of my favorite places to visit. She was the hardest working person i had met and the best yoga student of her age.
Mark Mitchell
January 22, 2007
Yet another amazing woman I will never have the honor of meeting. Here's hoping my path will make me a colleague you would have been proud to know.
Erica Chiarkas
January 22, 2007
My prayers and best wishes go to Insoo's family and friends, Thank you Insoo, for all that you taught me, you helped me change my perspective and that has helped me, my family and my clients enormously. Your work will continue
sara lucas-torpey
January 22, 2007
Thank you Insoo. You taught me how to go slowly with a smile.
Wayne Bodkin
January 22, 2007
Living my life in a distant country, I owe to Insoo and Steve a lot . They are our professional mentors, but -what is more important- they were beautiful, wise people. The friendship with them was the big gift from the Lord. This is a big loss when they passed away.
It is still difficult to say only about Insoo or Steve. They were such a beautiful couple. I hope they are now happy THERE together.
Jacek Lelonkiewicz
January 22, 2007
Thank you to Insoo and all those who supported her in living a life which made so many books, tapes and materials available to us all. There are many people across the planet for whom Insoo's efforts and productivity have made a significant difference. With gratitude and appreciation, svea
Svea van der Hoorn
January 21, 2007
Never met Insoo, heard quite a lot about her during my graduate work and post. May she rest in peace.
Luis Vidal
January 21, 2007
What a fitting tribute to a woman who lived life to its fullest. My sincere condolences to CJ, Sarah and your partner, and all family members who grieve.

Insoo walked the Trinity River Trail with me in Fort Worth last February, crying a bit as she spoke of her loss of Steve, and we held hands in Denver last November when a particularly difficult moment came for her during a discussion of life and loss. I am honored to be counted among friends who laughed, cried, and learned with Insoo.

I miss her and grieve with you.
Frank Thomas
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