The Centre for Solution Focused Practice

BRIEF Solution Focused Certificate

The Certificate is a first level qualification which recognises

  • A foundation level familiarity with Solution Focused Practice
  • That the holder has demonstrated, through a written account, knowledge of the Solution Focused approach and the ability to put the learning into competent practice.

The Certificate is awarded to professionals from health, education, social care managerial and organisational settings such as coaches and mentors provided they can demonstrate sufficient competence in the use of Solution Focused skills.

Application requirements

All applicants must have attended at least eight days of training, including a two or 4 day Foundation Course with members of the BRIEF team irrespective of where the courses are held - this includes agency-based training.

International Presentations will not normally be counted towards the Certificate

Course requirements for the Certificate in SF Practice;

          At least one of the following four courses:

  • Foundation course:  2 – day
  • Foundation course:  4 – day
  • London Summer School:  5 – day
  • 2 Day Solution Focused Practice for Education Professionals

    The remainder of the required number of days from:

  • Staying Brief with Children & Families: 2-day
  • Staying Brief with Adults: 2-day
  • Solution Focused Supervision: 2-day
  • Brief Coaching: 2-day
  • Solution Focused Leadership: 2-day
  • Solution Focused Groupwork: 1-day

Any other BRIEF course that may be added to the BRIEF training programme or conducted in-service for another organisation (e.g.Team Coaching, Conflict Resolution, Building Cooperation, Couple Therapy etc.) by a BRIEF trainer.

Essay Guidelines

Complete an essay of 3000-3500 words demonstrating an understanding of the solution focused approach, how it is used in the applicant's work setting and including a detailed case example from the applicant’s current work. The essay is to be divided into a number of sections as follows:

  • A brief description of workplace and description of your job 100-150 words
  • Description of the solution focused model as you interpret it 400-500 words
  • Description of the way you use solution focused ideas at work 800-1200 words
  • Description of a recent piece of work which will illustrate your ability to put solution focused skills into practice 1500 - 2000 words

The essay should be emailed to BRIEF and cite references where appropriate.
Please include the dates and names of programmes attended.


Detailed additional essay guidelines

A brief description of work sedtting/agency and description of your role 100-150 words

Description of the Solution Focused model as you interpret it - 400-500 words

The approach can be successfully described in a number of ways - either in terms of a set of techniques or a specific range of assumptions or indeed a way of thinking about how change happens.

What is NOT required is a history of the development of the approach, where the approach originated and who the key figures are. 

Description of the way you use Solution Focused ideas at work - 800-1200 words

This section invites applicants to give evidence of using the ideas and techniques in more than one area.
For example, the approach might have been used in work with service-users/clients but perhaps also in delivering supervision, in meetings, in consultation to colleagues, even in case reviews or as a part of assessment processes.
The techniques may have proved useful with individuals, with couples, with families and maybe in group work or residential settings.

Description of a recent piece of work which will illustrate your ability to put Solution Focused skills into practice - 1500 - 2000 words

Essays should concentrate on giving a detailed description of what applicants themselves did to apply solution focused principles and techniques rather than detailing the case itself. A case history is NOT required and uses up unnecessarily the limited number of words where otherwise applicants could be demonstrating their competence.

The strongest case studies describe more than one meeting with the service-user/client (unless of course the applicant’s job involves meeting clients only once).
The strongest case studies recognise that solution focused practice is determined by the contract that the worker establishes with the service-user/client in terms of the best hopes from the work.

The strongest case studies recognise that central to the solution focused approach is a detailed description of the ‘best hopes happening’, the client’s preferred future, rather than a focus on what a client has to do to achieve certain goals. The emphasis therefore is on ‘how will you know’ not ‘what do you have to do?’

When they describe the use of scale questions, the strongest essays show that the worker has carefully anchored the scale in terms of both what '10' means and '0' means.
They show that they have enabled the client to detail what is already happening that puts the client where they are on the scale; questions about how clients will know that they are moving up the scale had been less emphasised in the work.

They show that the techniques are used sensitively in a way that enables the client to move forward in some way.

And finally, where relevant, successful essays must indicate that the safety of the service-user/client and others in the family/network has been appropriately considered.


Solution Focus in 8 minutes: 5 key features

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Solution Focus in the Classroom?

Solution Focus has been adopted with enthusiasm in schools and education more broadly. Our friend Yasmin Ajmal gives us a host of examples to show how SF can be used by teachers in the classroom. Yasmin and Harvey Ratner have recently published Solution Focused Practice in Schools: 80 Ideas and Strategies and Harvey will be delivering a two-day programme Solution Focus in Education on 16th & 17th March in London.

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