Foundations of Solution-Focused Practice Online Intensive

foundations solution focused practice course

Foundations of Solution-Focused Practice Online Intensive

Text and lecture-based course, with exam

19.5 CE Credit/Clock Hours


This is our most complete and comprehensive self-paced online program.  This course investigates the foundational knowledge, training, and practice in the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy approach. Included in the course’s price is an electronic textbook: Learning Solution-Focused Therapy: An Illustrated Guide, written by Anne Bodmer Lutz, MD. The text itself has links to 30 clinical demonstration video vignettes. The course includes a ten-part video lecture series, numerous video demonstrations, case studies, clinical practice exercises, section exams, and many additional resources.  This course reviews the history of the evolution of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, the philosophical underpinnings and major tenets of the approach, the core therapeutic elements of this approach, and the applications of the approach to different settings, populations, and presenting problems, and reviews current empirical evidence supporting it.

Last Updated: November 2023

Target Audience: Social workers, psychologists, mental health counselors, educators, and medical professionals: appropriate for all levels of knowledge.

Learning Objectives

  1. Explain the key components and the differences between solution-focused and problem-focused conversations. 
  2. List the solution-focused assumptions.
  3. List the core solution-focused questions.
  4. Discuss solution-focused language skills, including the importance of verbs and how to cultivate positive vocabulary and an appreciative and hopeful narrative. 
  5. Demonstrate direct compliments, indirect compliments, coping questions, and amplification of positive differences through solution-focused questioning. 
  6. Identify how solution-focused questioning enhances engagement. 
  7. Apply solution-focused amygdala whispering and yes-set skills skills to counterbalance intense emotion. 
  8. Apply solution-focused VIP mapping, including the categories of VIPS,  to cultivate connections and relationships. 
  9. Demonstrate solution-focused goal negotiation, including the best hope question, imagining a satisfying week, and the miracle question.
  10. Compare how solution-focused scaling questions that activate agency differ from problem-focused ones that assess acuity. 
  11. Demonstrate solution-focused questions that “work the scale” to further enhance agency.
  12. Describe how the solution-focused safety assessment differs from problem-focused risk assessment.
  13. Apply solution-focused questions within follow-up conversations that continue to activate agency and planning. 
  14. Identify solution-focused assessment questions and how they differ from problem-focused assessment, including mood, relationships, emotional regulation, anxiety, trauma, attentional challenges, substance use, and family history. 
  15. Write a solution-focused safety assessment plan and describe how this differs from problem-focused risk assessment plans. 
  16. List solution-focused questions that can be applied in consultations and team meetings.
  17. Discuss solution-focused therapy with substance use disorders. 
  18. Discuss solution-focused research. 
  19. Describe how solution-focused conversations can be applied to anxiety, ADHD, substance use, and medication treatment.

Course Assessment

There will be 10 section exams, consisting of 15-item multiple-choice which is designed to assess your understanding and ability to apply the course material. You may take the exam multiple times until you pass the exam.

Certificate of Completion

After you have completed all of the sections, passed each of the section exams, and completed the course evaluation, you will receive your certificate of completion for the course. You will be able to save and print the certificate.

Continuing Education

19.5 CE Credit/Clock Hours are available for this course.

Please see our Continuing Education Information page for information about CE credits and clock hours, and our accreditations and approvals for psychologists, social workers, counselors, and marriage & family therapists.

Students should check with their professional licensing boards to make sure that a specific course will be accepted toward their continuing education requirements.

To receive continuing education hours, the student must:

  • Enroll in the course
  • Read the learning content
  • Watch the entire online lecture
  • Complete the course exam, and receive a passing grade of 80%
  • Complete the course evaluation

Upon successful completion of the course, the student may download and print his or her Certificate of Completion.

Policy Information

Once enrolled, you may begin your course at any time.

Our complete list of policies can be viewed here.

Instructors and Authors

Anne Bodmer Lutz, B.S.N., M.D. is the Director of the Institute for Solution Focused Therapy. She was trained by the founders of Solution-Focused Brief therapy, Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer. She is a board-certified adult, child and adolescent psychiatrist, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts in Worcester MA, and was a nurse before becoming a physician. Anne has a private practice in West Boylston Massachusetts where she integrates solution-focused practices in her treatment of children and families. She provides direct clinical supervision, teaching, and training to medical students and psychiatric residents, workshops for community-based treatment organizations, agency based training and coaching in Solution-Focused Therapy. She has worked for many years integrating solution-focused practices in community mental health, residential treatment and with adolescents and families coping with substance use and co-occurring disorders.

Anne is the author of Learning Solution-Focused Therapy: An Illustrated Guide (2014, American Psychiatric Press) which includes over 30 videos and many case examples focusing on “how to” implement this approach, along with numerous articles, and chapters in books. She received a Massachusetts Course of Distinction award in 2016 for the online and blended learning course entitled “Solution-Focused Fundamentals and Practice.”

Anne Bodmer Lutz, MD indicates that she has no conflicts of interest associated with this course.

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