Supporting Clients Experiencing Grief: A Solution-Focused Approach

Grief therapy course Solution-Focused Approach

Clients Experiencing Grief: A Solution-Focused Approach

Text and lecture-based course, with exam

5 CE Credit/Clock Hours


There is an accentuated need for relatively brief, practical counseling techniques that clinicians, counselors, clergy, medical professionals and humanitarian aid workers can utilize to support clients who are currently grieving the death of one or more loved ones, the ending of a relationship, or the passing of a beloved pet. This course provides a practical framework for utilizing the evidence-based Solution-Focused Brief Therapy Approach (SFBT) to support people in the aftermath of loss by providing a safe, reassuring therapeutic context for respectfully addressing and counterbalancing intense emotions, collaboratively developing healthy, meaningful coping strategies, and practical, gradual steps to navigate the immediate future. This course provides a series of practical solution-focused techniques designed to help mental health and health care professionals support clients experiencing grief.

Last Updated: March 2022

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

Highlights of this course include:

  • An extensive written section describing SFBT interventions to support clients experiencing grief
  • Extensive written verbatim transcripts exemplifying
  • Online video lecture
  • A full-length case demonstration offered by master SFBT therapist Dr. Anne Lutz
  • Extra course resources

Learning Objectives

  1. Recognize key tenets of the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy approach and describe how they can be applied to contexts of grief
  2. Describe a Solution-Focused Scaling Question
  3. Define a Solution-Focused Exception
  4. Describe the difference between Direct and Indirect Solution-Focused Compliments
  5. Define the Solution-Focused “Best Hope”  question.
  6. Define the Solution-Focused Safety Net Question and describe its purpose
  7. Describe solution-focused skills that enhance engagement and the therapeutic alliance with clients experiencing grief
  8. Demonstrate how to enhance resource activation with clients experiencing grief
  9. Describe principles of solution development and how this differs from problem solving in clients experiencing grief
  10. Demonstrate how to discover and amplify positive differences/exceptions in clients experiencing grief using solution-focused questions

Course Assessment

There will be a 30-item multiple-choice test 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. You will be able to save and print the certificate.

Continuing Education

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.

Yvonne Dolan, MA, is the Director Emeritus and Co-Founder of the Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy, and has been training mental health and medical professionals in Solution-Focused Brief Therapy since 1991. She is a co-founder (with Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg) of the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy Association (SFBTA), and Co-Founder of the International Alliance of Solution-Focused Training Institutes (IASTI). She has authored/co-authored six books (translated into nine languages) and numerous articles and chapters on the SF approach, and has conducted seminars in solution-focused treatment of trauma in 23 countries.

Yvonne’s authored or co-authored books include: A Path with a Heart: Ericksonian Utilization with Resistant and Chronic Clients. (1985, Brunner/Mazel); Resolving Sexual Abuse: Solution-Focused Therapy and Ericksonian Hypnosis for Adult Survivors. (1991, W.W. Norton. Translations in French in German); One Small Step: Moving Beyond Trauma and Therapy to a Life of Joy. (1998, Papier Mache Press, Translations in Spanish, Polish, Japanese, Dutch, Finnish, in German); Tales of Solutions :A Collection of Hope Inspiring Stories. (2001, Norton. Translated into French); Solution-focused  Brief Therapy: It’s Effective Use  in Agency Settings (2003, Routledge Press. Translated into French and Chinese); More than Miracles: the State of the Art of Solution-focused Brief Therapy (2007, Routledge Press. Translated into Chinese, Japanese, French, German, and Dutch).

Yvonne M. Dolan, MA, indicates that she has no conflicts of interest associated with this course.

Terry S. Trepper, Ph.D. is Technical Advisor at the Institute for Solution Focused Therapy. He is the author or editor of numerous articles and books in the areas of the evidence-basis of solution-focused therapy, solution-focused approaches to treating substance abuse, and positive psychology. Terry has been actively involved in the area of computer-assisted instruction and online teaching research and pedagogy since 1975.

Terry S. Trepper, PhD indicates that he has no conflicts of interest associated with this course.

Join our mailing list

To receive the latest news, free resources, and information about online courses.