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

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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.

Continuing Education Credit/Clock Hours 

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

Course Cost

$75.00 US

(Once enrolled, you may begin your course at any time and it does not expire)

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Continuing Education

The Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy, LLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content. 3 CE Credits or Clock hours are available for this course.

The Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy, LLC has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7049. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy, LLC is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. This program is approved for 3 NBCC Clock hours.

This course is approved for 3 credit hours by the National Association of Social Workers – Massachusetts Chapter. NASW-MA Approval #: D 90055-2

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.

 Instructors/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 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.”

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).

Terry S. Trepper, Ph.D. is Research Advisor and Author at the Institute for Solution Focused Therapy.  His 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 was the Editor of the Journal of Family Psychotherapy from 1990 to 2016. He is the co-editor of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy: A Handbook of Evidence-Based Practice (with Cynthia Franklin, Wallace Gingerich, and Eric McCollum) Oxford University Press; co-author of More than Miracles: The State of the Art in Solution-Focused Therapy (with Steve de Shazer, Yvonne Dolan, Harry Korman, Eric McCollum, and Insoo Berg); co-author (with Mary Jo Barrett) of Systemic Treatment of Incest: A Therapeutic Handbook, published by Brunner/Routledge; Treating Incest: A Multiple Systems Perspective, published by Haworth Press; 101 Interventions in Family Therapy (with Thorana Nelson), published by Haworth Press, 1993, 101 MoreInterventions in Family Therapy (1995); and Family Solutions for Substance Abuse (with Eric McCollum) published by Haworth Press, 2001. Terry has been actively involved in the area of computer-assisted instruction and online teaching research and pedagogy since 1975.