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Digital Seminar

Solution Focused Therapy: Building on What Works to Create Change and Get Results

Seth Bernstein, PhD
6 Hours 20 Minutes
Audio and Video
Jan 30, 2019
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar
Never expires.


Pain brings a client to therapy. Hope keeps them coming back.

But that hope can be lost when sessions are focused primarily on problems and pathology, leaving clients (and therapists) overwhelmed and discouraged. Solution-Focused Therapy changes that dynamic by giving you the tools you need to show your clients that solutions are possible … and they don’t need to wait very long to see meaningful results!

Designed to complement any theoretical framework, Solution-Focused Therapy engages and activates clients to make change, whether they are new to therapy or have found themselves “stuck” in the therapeutic process. Unlike traditional problem-driven approaches, Solution-Focused Therapy helps clients recognize their internal resources, identify personal strengths and build on what is already working for them.

Packed with case examples, video and film demonstrations, discussion and practice, this workshop is engaging, informative and immediately useful to clinicians at any training level.

In this recording, you'll learn practical, innovative ways to:

  • Quickly engage and activate clients in their treatment
  • Retain clients who might otherwise drop out of therapy
  • Improve clinical outcomes for even the most “stuck” clients
  • Use between-session assignments to enhance the work you’re already doing
  • Empower clients to continue to make progress once therapy ends


Continuing Professional Development Certificates
- PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 6.25 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Seth Bernstein, PhD Related seminars and products

Seth Bernstein, PhD, is a practicing clinical psychologist who has been leading professional workshops since 1990, most recently on the principles and practice of brief therapy, motivational interviewing, and solution-focused therapy. Originally trained as a psychoanalytic therapist, his practice has diversified to include a wide variety of effective, evidence-based techniques used within the solution-focused framework to maximize his clients’ strengths and motivation to change.

Dr. Bernstein is a contributor to the newsletter for the Institute for Solution Focused Therapy and maintains a private practice and consultation service. He has authored several articles on the subject of psychotherapy and recently published a book entitled Emotions, Meaning and Management. In addition to playing music, Dr. Bernstein loves movies – he finds therapeutic value in film and often incorporates clips into his presentations to add richness to the learning process for professionals.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Seth Bernstein maintains a private practice. He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial: Seth Bernstein has no relevant non-financial relationships to disclose.  


  1. Ascertain how a “successful outcome” in therapy is defined when utilizing a solution-focused approach.
  2. Utilize specific solution-focused techniques to improve client engagement in therapy and improve clinical outcomes.
  3. Explain the importance of focusing on clients’ values in order to increase motivation and elicit therapeutic change.
  4. Develop a solution-focused treatment plan that incorporates attainable, client-driven goals.
  5. Implement clinical interventions that improve clients’ sense of agency and control over their treatment.
  6. Utilize scaling and the concept of “positive differences” to assist clients in recognizing their competencies and therapeutic progress.


Do More of What’s Working: Integrate Solution-Focused Therapy Into Your Current Approach
  • Redefine “successful outcome” in therapy
  • Find the exception to the problem
  • Who is the expert?
  • Stay in the present
  • Change language and interventions to be strengths-based
  • A new perspective on goal setting
  • Limitations of the research and potential risks
Quickly Engage Clients in Treatment: Get Buy-In and Instill Hope During the First Session
  • Build the therapeutic alliance
  • Decrease resistance and defensiveness
  • Integrate Prochaska’s Stages of Change
  • Emphasize client competence with the “Yes Set”
  • Help clients recognize existing support
    • Exercises to identify personal VIPs
    • Relationship “deposits”
    • Utilize evidence-based compliments to reinforce strengths and coping skills
Behavior Management Plan Development
  • A Comprehensive Step-By-Step Guide with Worksheets and Checklists
    • Explicitly describe the behavior
    • Assess impact of cognition, emotion, medical status, personal history on behavior
    • Identify the cause of the behavior
    • Interventions to address causes of behaviors
      • Environmental changes
      • Communication changes
      • Schedule changes
      • Medical changes
      • Staff changes
    • Write a thorough behavior intervention plan for the entire care team
    • Evaluate the success of the behavior management plan or reasons for failure
Gain Therapeutic Momentum: Activate Change Through Collaboration
  • Gain a motivational edge by tapping into client values
  • Interventions that emphasize client strengths and competencies
  • Identify clients’ preferred future with variants of the “Miracle Question”
  • Nurture clients’ sense of agency by highlighting:
    • Successes
    • Coping skills
    • Positive differences
    • Progress in treatment
  • Elicit change with solution-focused goal setting
Putting It All Together: Combine Strengths and Skills to Create Lasting Change
  • Strategies that facilitate therapeutic change
    • Incremental learning
    • Between session assignments
  • Continue building on the positive
    • Resource activation
    • Expanding personal VIPs
  • Utilize “scaling” as an outcome monitoring and motivational tool
  • Work through transference issues that may impede progress
  • Termination considerations

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Therapists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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