Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
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Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

Learn SFBT skills for creative conversations and better outcomes. With video of live sessions.
Best Seller
4.5 (69 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
792 students enrolled
Last updated 7/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $75 Discount: 87% off
5 hours left at this price!
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  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 10 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Use solution-focused techniques and ideas to shape outcome oriented conversations with others.
  • Understand the purpose of a variety of techniques associated with the solution-focused approach and apply them.
View Curriculum
  • No special materials or prior knowledge necessary - everything is provided.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is an approach to conversations that empowers both helpers and those they help. The approach brings with it a wealth of easily learned and adaptable techniques that will enhance your skills, in any professional context.

This course uses video lectures and will be of use if your work involves helping people tackle some aspect of their lives that has become problematic.

The concise video lessons in this course are supported by 'live session' video clips that both illustrate the techniques and demonstrate the effectiveness of SFBT in action. Each section is supported by a quiz to consolidate your learning, and there are downloadable PDFs and exercises to help you become more practiced and confident in using solution-focused skills in your conversations.

Who is it for?

Maybe your job is formally recognised as part of the helping professions because it involves supporting people (e.g. HR, social work, counselling or psychiatry).

Or perhaps you work or volunteer in a wider group which includes roles like advocacy, charity and aid work, the law, mediation, medicine, occupational health, probation, physiotherapy, social work, teaching, and many others.

Your primary role is not seen as caring or support, but your daily routine inevitably involves helping people in crisis or distress. You are one of many ‘informal helpers’ who use the same skills as the first group – essentially these are the skills of counselling – yet you have had little or no training to develop their helping skills.

Who is the target audience?
  • People who support, guide, coach or mentor others. This course is aimed at what is broadly called the 'helping professions'.
  • Social work, human resources, teaching, counselling, psychotherapy, nursing, therapy, advocacy, mediation, support work.
Compare to Other Psychotherapy Courses
Curriculum For This Course
21 Lectures
1 Lecture 04:24

Welcome to this course on using solution-focused skills in your conversations. Learn how to distinguish creative 'solution talk' – which opens possibilities – from the more often used 'problem talk', which can have the opposite effect.

Preview 04:24
Getting started
1 Lecture 01:39

A solution-focused conversation is a collaborative process. It is important to set the right tone, and to encourage equal participation. One of the hallmarks of solution-focused conversations is the relaxed, conversational style that practitioners adopt.

Preview 01:39

Use this introductory quiz to test your understanding of a few key points so far.

Introductory Quiz
2 questions
1 Lecture 03:40

We all tend to see our problems from our own unique perspective. Clients can be helped enormously when we start to open up the possibility that there may be other ways of seeing things.

Preview 03:40

Normalising - Check your understanding.
2 questions
1 Lecture 06:24

To reframe is to offer a new interpretation or viewpoint for an experience. It has the effect of challenging and introducing doubt into old, unproductive beliefs. By offering a reframe you demonstrate that you see the client’s situation and ideas as something other than fixed, rigid conditions.


Check your understanding of reframing as it was explained in this lecture.

Reframing - Check your understanding
3 questions
1 Lecture 06:03

When listening to a client's narrative about their problem or concern, it is easy to get swept up, just as they do, in the belief that the difficulty they are facing is ever-present and unmoving. In solution-focused conversations, however, the practitioner is listening for something more than information which simply confirms the client's beliefs about their problem. Listening for exceptions means being alert for 'problem-free' times.


Review your understanding of the lectures on Exceptions and their purpose in SFBT.

Exceptions – Check your understanding
2 questions
1 Lecture 05:43

In a world that tends to deal in polar opposites and ‘either-or’ thinking, it is useful to remember that few aspects of our lives are either totally one thing or completely another.

Scaling introduces the notion of increments or degrees into a conversation, and it has practical applications which go far beyond the simplicity of the idea.


Review your understanding of Scaling and its application in a SF conversation.

Scaling – Check your understanding
2 questions
The Miracle Question
1 Lecture 06:44

The Miracle Question is one of the most powerful interventions there can be when used properly, yet it's possibly one of the most misunderstood aspects of SFBT. 

The idea is to invite the client to step into a future that is problem free. In effect, this a mini-visualisation process – the client ‘goes somewhere else’ – and in order to respond, they must immerse themselves in their imagination.

Miracle question

Use this quiz to check your grasp on the Miracle Question.

The Miracle Question - Check your understanding
2 questions
Goal setting
1 Lecture 04:52

Goal setting in SFBT is the keystone of the approach. Many of us are familiar with the concept of setting goals - if not in our daily lives, then certainly in our professional activities. Most of us can also vividly recall a time when we failed. Solution-focused goals have to be designed with precision, and by the client. It is not in the nature of the approach to choose or impose their goals for them.

Goal setting

Goal setting - Check your understanding
2 questions
2 Lectures 04:50

Summarising is a good rapport-builder and it tends to encourage openness and a free-flowing conversation. It also plays an important role in solution-focused conversations as it provides as an opportunity for you to normalise, reframe and even anticipate a positive outcome.


We have provided a series of practical exercises to enable you to practice the various skills described in this course.

These exercises will help you with the process of adapting to thinking in a solution-focused way. They work best when you DO them, rather than thinking about them or trying to understand them.

Concentrating on the action and observing the results, thoughts and any other questions they provoke also prevents you from becoming overly analytical (and slipping into a 'that-wonʼt-work-because' frame of mind, for example).

They can also be given to clients as tasks to continue with their own development following the conversation (but don't overload them - just try one exercise at a time). The client themselves must also be willing to try this. They should not be imposed.

You should try these exercises for yourself to get a sense of how they feel and work. You may then find that you can then use them with clients, though they should not be used indiscriminately as a one-size-fits-all tactic.

Taken one step at a time, the ideas quickly become more familiar and integrated into a working repertoire.

There is also a list of SFBT books for suggested reading, and references. Finally, we have also included brief guide How to Avoid Getting Stumped, on what to do to avoid a conversation getting 'stuck'.

Closing comments

Summarising - Check your understanding
2 questions

This is the final quiz in the course will allow you to affirm your understanding of SFBT. Take your time in answering the questions, and re-visit the relevant video lectures if there are any points you are unsure about.

Concluding SFBT Quiz.
7 questions
Putting what you've learned into practice
11 Lectures 40:32

Deena is a single mum who doesn't much like the idea of asking for help. At the start of the session she is a little tense, but she quickly settles into the conversation. See how, in under five minutes, the practitioner builds rapport and starts to establish trust. 

Watch out for:

  • Normalising
  • Rapport building
  • 'What brings you here'
  • Summarising and checking understanding.
Preview 04:28

What triggered Deena to ask for help? Watch how her fears are supportively summarised and reframed. At the close of this clip, Deena explains what she needs from the session.

Watch out for: 

  • Reaffirming the client's identity
  • Reframing the 'problem'
  • Normalising
  • Attempts to elicit a goal.
What needs to happen

Watch how, conversationally, the process of SFBT is explained. Reaffirming expectations and pre-supposing success, the practitioner explains how they will work collaboratively on identifying resources and building on strengths.

Watch out for:

  • Reaffirming
  • Complimenting
  • Normalising
  • Setting expectations
  • Spontaneous humour.
Preview 02:07

So far, no clear goals have been established. Clients often need help clarifying their aims.

Watch out for:

  • Clarifying goals
  • Resources
  • Reframing
  • Normalising
  • Reaffirming positive identity
  • Strength-building.
Identifying the problem

As Deena explains possible sources of help and support, she is also revealing something about the decisions she is making in the interests of her children. This provides an opportunity for the practitioner to identify and reaffirm her decision-making strengths.

Note how Deena's demeanour and engagement have changed since the first clip, 10 minutes earlier in the session.

Making choices, asking for help

As the conversation progresses there are still no clear goals, but that doesn't hinder progress.

Watch out for:

  • Scaling
  • Normalising
  • Highlighting success
  • Spontaneous humour
  • Summarising.
Exceptions, scaling and normalising

The summary at the start of this brief clip enables the practitioner to reframe Deena's situation and her expectations of herself. This, in turn, offers Deena another image of herself, which she seems to accept.

Preview 01:46

Continuing the theme of Deena's strengths as a mother, and the sensible choices she has made, the practitioner enquires about what 'help' means to her, simultaneously reframing it as an exchange of favours.

Watch out for:

  • Reframing
  • Normalising
  • Creating positive expectation.
Reframing 'help'

In this part of the session Deena really seems to 'get' the idea of scaling in relation to stress. The practitioner then builds on this new understanding to reduce her original worry about how 'losing the plot' signals that she is an unfit mother.

Problems to solutions

Having normalised some of Deena's worries about her behaviour as stress ("The fact that this is normal doesn't mean don't do something about it"), the next step is to discuss how Deena might relieve the pressure by asking for help (framed as 'an exchange of favours').

The use of scaling allows the practitioner to link positive times with the kids ("60% of the time") to choices, rather than chance. Having explained the stress cycle, the next step is to check with Deena that it fits with her experience. The conversation then turns to her trigger points.

Watch out for:

  • Scaling
  • Exceptions
  • Explaining (and normalising) the stress cycle
  • Practical application of scaling as a life skill
  • Developing a strategy for stress.
Scaling the stress cycle

Deena is positive about how the session has helped her. She is clearer on a number of points, and is starting to plan. The practitioner summarises the main steps she could consider.

There is one final point that needs to be covered, and that is how can Deena give herself the best chance of integrating the learnings from the session into her daily life.

Watch out for:

  • Anticipating positive change
  • Positive affirmations
  • Summarising
  • Applying the ideas in life.
Concluding the session
About the Instructor
Skill Boosters
4.5 Average rating
561 Reviews
6,260 Students
19 Courses
Courses for inclusive, productive and healthy workplaces

At Skill Boosters we work with leading subject matter experts to design, develop and deliver training for the workplace.  We are passionate about delivering behavioural training which helps to build productive, tolerant and inclusive individuals, teams and workplaces and which improves lives and life chances.

Our courses combine video drama, expert analysis, documentary sequences and interactive study to provide flexible, cost-effective training that engages, informs and inspires our learners.

Skill Boosters courses and resources are trusted by many of the world's leading organisations to develop and improve the skills and behaviours of their people.

Barry Winbolt
4.4 Average rating
231 Reviews
2,364 Students
4 Courses
Training good people to be great

BARRY WINBOLT MSc. is a trainer, mediator, psychotherapist and writer.
For more than 25  years he has advised people in many cultures on how to
improve their working relationships and enhance the quality of their
lives. Over the same period he has provided professional training in
conflict management, communication skills, Solution Focused Brief
Therapy, workplace mediation and related topics.