Solution-Focused Brief Therapy: An Introduction to the Pragmatics of Hope

Course Overview

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a short-term goal-focused evidence-based therapeutic approach which helps clients change by constructing solutions rather than dwelling on problems. In the most basic sense, SFBT is a hope friendly, positive emotion eliciting, future oriented vehicle for formulating, motivating, achieving and sustaining desired behavioral change. Because SFBT is based on the resiliency, and clients’ own previous solutions and exceptions to their own problems, it can be applied to virtually any problem including family and couples, domestic violence, trauma, sexual abuse, substance abuse, and childhood and adolescents disorders. The Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy has prepared an introductory course which reviews the state-of-the-art in SFBT practice, along with an essential review of the history, tenets, and research on the evidence-base of SFBT.

Course Format

This is an online, asynchronous, text and lecture-based course, with exam.

Learning Objectives

The specific Learning Objectives of the course are as follows. After completing the course, you will be able to:

  • Recall the historical roots and early history of SFBT;
  • Discuss SFBT as a significant paradigm shift in the field of mental health treatment;
  • Describe the major tenets underlying SFBT;
  • Describe the overall clinical process of SFBT is, including the role of the therapist; the solution-development process; and how solution-focused assessment differs from traditional assessment;
  • Recognize the major and specific SFBT interventions;
  • Recall how safety issues are addressed in SFBT;
  • Compare how SFBT differs from other therapy approaches; and
  • Summarize the evidence-base for SFBT.

Course Assessment

There will be a 25-item multiple-choice test which is designed to assess your understanding and ability to apply the course material. You must receive at least 80% on the test to pass the course. You may take the exam multiple times until you pass the exam.

Course Certificate of Completion

After you have passed the exam, and complete the course evaluation, you will receive your certificate of completion for the course. You will be able to save the certificate as a PDF file, from which you Will also be able to print it.

Instructional Hours

3 Instructional Hours

Course Cost

$75.00 US

Continuing Education

Continuing Education credit information will be available when the course is launched, in Fall 2020.

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.


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 currently practices as a child and family psychiatrist  at Doctor Franklin Perkins School and 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 online and blended learning course entitled “Solution-Focused Fundamentals and Practice.”

Terry S. Trepper, Ph.D., is Research Advisor and Co-Founder of the Institute fo Solution-Focused Therapy, and is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Purdue University Northwest. He was the Editor of the Journal of Family Psychotherapy for 30 years, and has authored/edited seven books and numerous academic articles and chapters on the SF approach. Terry’s scholarly and training interests include the evidence-basis of solution-focused therapy, systemic and solution-focused approaches to treating substance abuse, and positive psychology.

Terry has authored or co-authored books include Systemic Treatment of Incest (1990, Brunner-Mazel); 101 Intervention in Family Therapy (1998, Routledge Press);  Family Solutions for Substance Abuse (2001, Routledge Press); more Than Miracles: the State of the Art of Solution Focused Therapy (2007, Routledge Press); and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy: A Handbook of Evidence-based Practices (2012, Oxford Press).

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).

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

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

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

 General Information

Continuing education information will be provided for each course when the courses are officially launched in Fall 2020

If a live program must be cancelled for any reason, an alternative date will be selected. If the program cannot be rescheduled, a full refund will be issued. If a registrant must cancel, he or she must cancel at least seven (7) business days before the event in order to receive a refund, minus a 20%  administrative fee. If in the unlikely event a self-paced, asynchronous online course is canceled or removed after a student has enrolled but before the student received his or her certificate of completion, a full refund for the course will be given to the student.

All courses offered by the Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy are offered in English, and it is assumed that students enrolling in courses are proficient in the English language.

To be accepted into the Level 1 Solution-Focused Practitioner Certificate Program, non-native English applicants must demonstrate a high level of written and spoken English proficiency. More information about this requirement will be given on the application for that certificate program.

All courses offered by the Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy require a moderate professional level of computer proficiency.  All courses require high-speed internet with reliable access. While the Institute’s online courses can be taken using a tablet or other large-screen mobile devices, the educational experience will be enhanced by taking the courses on a desktop or laptop computer.
A registrant who is dissatisfied with any aspect of a course may contact the Institute’s Executive Director Dr. Anne Bodmer Lutz at  Every effort will be made to address the matter to the registrant’s satisfaction. If the registrant is not fully satisfied, a course refund will be provided. Please note that the Institute’s liability is limited to and cannot exceed the course registration fees.
All courses offered through the Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy LLC are solely educational. The clinical, educational, social service or business consultative work performed by trainees/students is the trainee’s sole responsibility. The courses offered are not to be considered clinical supervision and are not intended to supplant the required degrees and certificates required to legally practice in a given jurisdiction. It is the responsibility of the trainee to obtain supervision, both clinical and administrative, from appropriate professionals. The Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy LLC assumes no responsibility for the clinical, educational, social service, business consulting, or any other professional work of those professionals who received educational training from its staff. All responsibilities and liabilities rest with the professionals providing those services. The Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy LLC's liability does not extend beyond student course fees.