91) Goodbye to Insoo Berg

January 13, 2007

It is now public on the web that Insoo Kim Berg has died last Wednesday night. Insoo was a friend of mine and Liz’s and we usually visited whenever she came to Austin. Over the years I attended a number of her trainings and when Liz started bringing her to town I got the chance to begin going out to dinner with her. I always looked forward to time with Insoo because I always learned something from the encounter and she was great fun to hang out with. Even though she was a famous originator of cutting-edge ideas in family counseling, she was down-to-earth, genuine, and easily approachable. I recall a dinner where we got into a spirited discussion about Bill O’Hanlon’s marital escapades and how at some point Insoo tossed a teaspoon at me to make a point. I had just been in touch with her in the last few weeks, arranging for her to come do the pre-conference institute for our next conference. Insoo had emailed me on January 4th, saying about her husband's passing; "It has been a profound loss and I am finding my ways slowly to learn to adjust and build a new life.." When Cynthia wrote me that she had died, I couldn’t believe it and it is still difficult to accept. Her passing is a great loss to the world of strengths-based counseling, to the world of social work, and to the world of compassionate people.

I think that the most remarkable thing I learned from watching Insoo work with families, was her insatiable curiosity. She would cock her head to the side, and get this quizzical look on her Asian face and say slowly, “How that happen?” in her over-emphasized foreign accent. Insoo epitomized Carl Whitaker ‘s “go slow to get going! In using videos of her work in my family therapy class, time after time, I always get comments from the students about how slowly and compassionately she develops a change strategy with families.

I will miss you, Insoo. Rest in Peace.

You can read several announcements of Insoo Kim Berg’s death on her Brief Family Therapy Center’s website
www.brief-therapy.org and on the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy Assn. Website – www.sfbta.org

El Milagro: Crystal cannulated me and I basically spent my session watching the UT basketball team handily beat Oklahoma (Who’d you go for, Tom?) and then watched an exciting finish to Virginia Tech upend the top ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. What a game. VT also beat Duke earlier in the week, so they are currently the team to watch.

Notes: In at 75.3 and out at 72.8 Kgs.


cheryl said...

Jack, I just wanted to extend my sympathies to you and Liz on the loss of your friend. I did not know her, but felt like I "sort of did" by your description of her. Even though it's true that her death leaves a void in the world of family therapy, the biggest loss is the personal impact her absence leaves for those who knew and loved her personally. I am sorry for your loss. Believe me, I understand how difficult these sudden losses can be. cheryl

Anonymous said...

I thought of you when I heard about Insoo's death. Sorry for your personal loss and for all of us.

I had no idea you had been undergoing dialysis for some time now. Liz and I were talking and it came up. As I said to her, I'm sorry you're having to deal with this and so glad you have it since it is needed. I wish you much of what you apparently already have including strength, support and a love of life.
Tanya Voss