Center for Solution-Focused Training 
Therapist training, supervision, organizational consultation, and therapy

Joel K. Simon, LCSW, ACSW, BCD

Ratings and Comments from Prior Trainings



CHI Professional Development: 1/2 Day Introduction to SFBT: April 22, 2022

Great presentation! I also learned a lot from the video example.
Nice Discussion
I liked the class and I'm thinking more about enrolling in the level 1 training.
Joel effortelssly practiced the working principles of solution-focused therapy in the way he responded to this group of therapists who participanted in this session.
Excellent presentation. I liked that you provided an actual therapy session. Very helpful.
I enjoyed the course and look forward to the 3-day training.
I really enjoyed the intro. and look forward to learning more.
Well done.
Stimulating course. The time flew by.
Great course. I really enjoyed being able to interact.
Very useful.
Well done!
I thought it was great.
Would have preferred a role play as opposed to the video demo. Everything else was great.*
Well done.

*Note: During the workshop, the group was given a choice of either watching a video of a full session or doing a live presentation. In this case, the majority voted for the the video.  

CHI Professional Development: 2-1/2 days Basic SF Training: November 11-13, 2021

Joel was an excellent facilitator; it was a pleasure working with him.
I enjoyed the course but I felt that more time needs to be dedicated to seeing examples of the model to understand how it's applied. In addition, practicing the technique was also helpful but would have been better after more examples.
He did a great job!
This is the most useful class I've had so far. Thank you!
It was extremely interesting
The instructor was well versed and engaging. He did a wonderful job of modeling the techniques while teaching the class. I would definitely take a course with him again
This is the most useful class I've had so far. Thanks for making it available!

CHI Professional Development: 2 days Foundations 2 SF Training: October 22 & 23, 2021

Positive learning experience. Interested in learning more
Thank you so much! I want to learn more.
I really enjoyed the training and would not change anything.
At first I thought no way could Brief Solution be utilized in my work setting the first day. The last day I was looking at ways that solution could be utilized. Nice change process for me.
Training was interesting/engaging.
The training should be extended to 3 or more full days.
Excellent training.
Excellent training, very useful
It was a great class and I have no feedback to make it any better.
Excellent training.
The course was beneficial in my practice.
Mr. Simon is very knowledgeable and passionate about his work and that was evident in his presentation which I really appreciated. I enjoyed watching the videos of him applying the SFBT skills, they were extremely helpful. I would have liked more examples of co-constructive language and examples of SFBT work with young children and adolescents.
Joel is a fantastic instructor - he really makes you think about the concepts, uses engaging techniques and exercises, and expresses great enthusiasm for the subject matter.
Excellent Training

CHI Professional Development: 2-1/2 days Basic SF Training: May 20-22, 2021

Positive learning expereince. Interested in learning more.
Thank you so much! I want to learn more.
I really enjoyed the training and would not change anything.
At first, I thought no way could Brief Solution be utilized in my work setting (DSS) and by the last day I was looking at ways that solution could be utilized. Nice change in thought process for me.
Traning was interesting/engaging.
The training should be extended to 3 or more full days.
Excellent training
Excellent training, very useful.
It was a great class and I have no feedback to make it any better.
The course was beneficial to my practice.
Mr. Simon is very knowledgeable and passionate about his work and that was evident in his presentation which I really appreciated. I enjoyed watching the videos of him applying the SFBT skills. They were exteremel helpful. I would have liked more examples of co-constructive language and examples of SFBT work with children and adolescents.
Joel is a fantastic instructor. He really makes you think about the concepts, uses engaging techniques and exercises, and expresses great enthusiasm for the subject matter.

"General Feedback"

Excellent training. I took the training becaue I was in a crunch for CEU hours and the training fit into my schedule and time frame. The training turned out great.
Took training to complete recertification hours in a time crunch. Glad I picked this particular training.
Enjoyed the training format.
This was an excellent experience.
Excellent training.
This was a great training! Best CEU experience thus far!

Following scales are all 1 (low) to 5 (high)

June, 2018: 2-day Solution Focus Training, Marine Corps Community Services, Quantico, Virginia

The training was attended by 22 clinicians and supervisors.

What I learned here is applicable to what I do: 4.7


"Realizing that there is a way to help clients get to their own answers, goals is much more helpful than what was previously done"
"Training was absolutely applicable to the work I do."

The training held my interest: 4.5


"Towards the end of the day 2 it was difficult to apply the tools with the disconnect of lunch."
"The first day with the spreadsheet play by play was a bit challenging to follow, despite the intent/objective being great. Perhaps reformulating the method."

The material was organized: 4.7


"The roleplays were very helpful."

Presenter is knowledgeable on the subject: 5

"Course was very interactive."
"I really enjoyed how Joel presented the information, gave examples that showed how it works and provided opportunities for us to practice."
Outstanding job!!! Thank you. needs to be presented to command leadership."

What surprised you most?

"That the information began to make sense and I felt comfortable asking the questions."
"The power in the questions."
"The level of use of tools already in use in practice; however, not used intentionally."
"Perception or narratives impact the therapy session. Deconstruct the illusion of being stuck and co-construct the idea of possibilities."
"I don't remember "taking a break" from what I learned in grad. school"
"That it can be used with any population."
"The fact that I was using some of these techniques and didn't realize it. It was a great switch in thought to conceptualize doing things in this way."
"Staff acceptance and excitement."
"The possibility to use this model in the Marine Corps setting."
"How applicable this approach will be to our clients!"
"The technique is more applicable to our population than we originally believed."
"Though I realized it would be focused on finding a solution, I was surprised at the lack of focus on the problem.
"How "easy" the tools are to implement- of course, I need more practice and will be using them daily!"
"The breaks, this was a new concept to me, and the reasons why it's done."
"Pleasantly surprised with the applicability of the material."
"How the model can move a client toward change."
"Our own abilities to find ways to implement it into our own program/practice: being solution-focused."

Additional Comments/Suggestions:

"Would have loved to learn more about how this model is used with trauma survivors. That you for sharing your passion with us. You are extremely knowledgeable. Would love to have had more time to learn more."
"Provide electronic versions of the slides if possible. Fantastic training!"
"Very much enjoyed and found it very applicable."
"Thank you for bringing this valuable modality to Quantico and my practice."
"Very good - I would like to consult on cases more."
"We look forward to seeing you again."
"Good job. Well versed and knowledgeable. Roleplays were helpful."
"Would have liked more examples of what these skills look like with couples."

May 2018: 2-day Solution Focus Training, Florida Parishes Human Services Authority, Slidell, Louisiana

The training was attended by 27 therapists and case managers.

What I learned here is applicable to what I do: 4.5


“I believe I can use this with new clients coming for treatment.”
“Only a bit low because I no longer work directly with clients in my role”
“Hard to use in our system”
“It would be helpful for you to know more about the clinic processes and actual mechanics (i.e. electronic records).”
“Like demonstration that this works for all people & taking diagnosis out of the equation.”
“I would need to put this model into practice to see if it would work with all clients.”
“I have “hard” issues to deal with immediately such as getting lights turned back on, etc. Time would have to be worked in to meet this idea.”

The training held my interest: 4.6


“Definitely, this was completely new to me.”
“Can’t really pinpoint why my attention kept drifting – probably my own issues rather than yours.”
“My interest increased as the training went on.”
“Videos and role playing were helpful.”
“Very much so! Very informative.”

The material was organized: 4.8


“Very organized – followed outline.”
“On day one, you started talking about Insoo and Steve by their first names as if we should know who they were and never really introduced them. The timeline slide didn’t really cut if ro this. Could have their pictures on that slide. More people less dates on that slide.”
“Some of the group activities I didn’t find helpful.”
“Run the video in its entirety so we can see the whole process at once.”

Presenter is knowlegeable on the subject: 4.96


“Very knowledgeable and was a joy to observe.”
“Great job! Learned a lot! Thanks.”
“Practical, interesting – a good start for understanding SFBT.”
“I did not learn in the group roleplay situation. I found your roleplay with a person demonstrating the skills.”
“I felt that you knew the material and was very enthusiastic.”
“Able to reframe questions and take focus off problem.”
“Good training!”
“I am a counselor who has always focused on the positives – but THIS is totally different. It will help the clients do the work.”

What surprised you most"

“How everybody seemed to be receptive to this idea.”
“Taking the focus off problem.”
“It was very engaging”
“That although it will take practice, and getting my “head” in the right place, this is something I know I will be able to do and clients will benefit.”
"How problem focused I can sometimes be.”
“How simple the idea is.”
“How simple solution-focused brief therapy can be, if we open that door to our clients and the efficacy of the program.”
“The flexibility of the approach and how it is not limited to certain “populations.”
“I think I could use this in the housing program as I am not a therapist. It will be very helpful.”
“The focusing on the solution negated the need to discuss the problem.”
“It’s simplicity.”
“The emphasis on not being “the problem.”
“The level of interest and response from attendees (positive).”
“Seeing the tools used and seeing the client change/improve/have hope before my eyes.”
“Nothing really”
“No surprises – like reframing the negative thinking.”
“How well the miracle question worked with the client presented in the video.”
“The words and phrases that can be used to change focusing on problems rather than solutions.”
“The context”
“How hard it is to retrain my mind to not focus on problems instead of the solutions and the thought process of how to implement that moving forward.”
“That you don’t necessarily need a full understanding of the client’s problem in order to lead them to a solution.”
“How simple the theory is but how much I know I will need to adapt my mindset to be effective in this therapy style.”
“How simple the approach is and that it could be used with case managers providing CPST.”
“I am not a therapist but I learned material here that I can use.”
Additional comments/suggestions:

“I very much enjoyed watching those roleplays to see how this works. I would have loved to see some additional roleplays with the expert. Thank you.”
“The training and approach is awesome and I will be implementing it moving forward.”
“Excellent training. Look forward to using some of my new tools.”
“Enjoyed it.”
“Excellent presenter.”
“I appreciated this training and the way it challenged my mind and thinking.”
“Thanks for the introduction.”
“Thank you Mr. Simon. These 2 days have been super-duper fabulous. I will be thinking of the miracle question tomorrow morning.”
“I really learned a lot with the breakdown of the ideas – breakdown of the miracle question, next steps, break use. It made it seem more attainable.”
“I valued the different ways of phrasing questions.”
“Really gained knowledge on what to do with my clients.”
“Thank you for referencing other authors.”
“Presenter was practical – “it made sense.””

January 2018: 2-day Solution Focus Training, NY Office of Mental Health Forensic Unit

The training was attended by 40 clinicians.

The coure objectives were clearly explained: 4.63
The course effectively met its stated objectives: 4.61
The course material helped me to understand the subject matter: 4.50
The instructional methods helped the subject matter's presentation: 4.39
The course content increased my understanding of the subject matter: 4.63
The subject matter will be useful to me in my job: 4.37
The instructor was knowledgeable about the subject matter: 4.87
The presentation skills of the instructor contributed positively to the course: 4.73
The instructor was well prepared and well organized: 4.82
The instructor was responsive to participants' questions: 4.84
The instructor highlighted and summarized key points reinforcing learning: 4.84
The instructor made the course content challenging and interesting: 4.76

Please share your thoughts on the strengths of this course:

Gave us a more positive approach to bring back to facilties. Training Very good.
Examples, role plays, tools
Good ideas and strategies
Facilitator Great.
Presenter's Experience
One of the most beneficial trainings I've been to in years.
Sharing the alternative therapeutic strategy
Trainer was very knowledgeable and interesting.
Excellent Training
Instructor knowledgeable, nice style.
Instructor's ability to engage participants with enthusiasm & knowledge was inspiring.
Great potential to develop an alternative way to treat RCTP patients.
The instructor is very knowledgeable about the material and approach.
Instructor's ability to adapt focus to our work setting. Instructor's knowledge.
Adaptability, good review.
Challenges current status quo and provides alternative views of treatment.
Knowledgeable presenter
Strengths versus problems, takes a non-judgmental approach, encourages rapport, helps the patient be more open,
Instructor knows the material and is open to listening.
Application to our setting. Observing Joel as therapist.
Solution Focused: away from "problem"

June 2017: 2-day Solution Focus Training, Center for Solutions

The training was attended by 2 people.

How comfortable was the training environment: 5, 5
What I learned is applicable to what I do: 5, 5
The training held my interest: 5, 4.8
The material was organized: 5,5
Joel is knowledgeable on the subject: 5,5

What surprised you the most?

"I knew it was likely that the training would be helpful but I was perhaps surprised to realize exactly how helpful it would be! Now I am eager to get back and start using these tools with students!"
" The applicablility of the process. I wanted so to be able to work with my students right away."

Additional comments:

"I only know that using this with students, staff and family."
"I loved the training!"

October 2016: 2-day Solution Focus Training, Albany, NY.

The following are all average responses on a 0 to 5 scale (n=19)

How comfortable was the training environment? 4.63
What I learned is applicable to what I do. 4.63
The training held my interest. 4.7
The material was organized. 4.8
Joel is knowledgeable on the subject. 4.9

Comments from the question "What surprised you most?"

"How difficult it will be to change my mind from problem focus to solution focus."
"How I already use some of the skills without knowing."
"How much I enjoyed the training. It held my interest and I'm excited to try the solution-focused approach."
"My connection to the model and the revitalization it had for me."
"Before coming, I felt that this model would be challanging, and I wouldn't be able to use it. After, I feel as though I will be able to utilize this for the rest of my career."
"How much of solution-focused aspect I use in my field."
"How hard it can be to stay in the "solution room""
"How easy and difficult this is at the same time"
"The chance to apply to any population/situation!"
"How much the solution-focused approach can be applied to all situations. If you get stuck, you can always get out!!"
"The cognitive changes required to use solution focus therapy. The positive vibe that solution-focused therapy provides the person looking for help."
"I was surpised by the nuance and the open ended nature."
"This is more difficult than I expected!"
"Simplistic approach to great healing. Stop, listen and hear."
"How connected the participants became over the 2 days."
"How great this was. I felt as though this was a therapeutic awakening for me and plan to do my very best to adopt this style/model."
"How powerful the interventions are."

Additional comments:

"Great training - keep sharing this information."
"Thanks, Joel. What a pleasure to experience the training."
"Thank you - great training."
"Thank you, Joel. So excited to focus on this with staff!"
"I enjoyed the role playing in a group and bouncing feedback back and forth off each other."
"I liked the way the role plays were done. They did not force too much uncomfortability but still helped to get hands on the model."
"I think there should be some examples on when things don't always work. There has to be times when the clients don't work with this idea as well as Joel makes it seem."
"I think this training was great and really informative. I've learned so much. I have a lot to focus on change with myself."

September 2016: 2-day Solution Focus Training with staff from the State of Nevada Department of Mental Health in Las Vegas

The follow are all average response on a 0 to 5 scale (n=18)

How comfortable was the training environment? 4.06
What I learned is applicable to what I do 3.88
The training held my interest 4.06
The material was organized: 4.33
Joel is knowledgeable on the subject 4.89

Comments from the question "What surprised you most?"

"The simplicity! Awesome"
"Interactive 2nd day"
"How diffrerent it is from my graduate training"
"How almost anything can be turned into a solution"

Additional comments/suggestions

"Learned some great interventions that I can utilize"

"It felt like the presenter "poked" for answers from us as if we had the knowledge. In my opinion, he should allow us to speak if we want to, and not force us to speak. He was very knowledgeable about the subject but it felt as if he was forcing us to answer questions"

[My response: solution-focus training should model the model. One of the assumptions I make as a SF practitioner is that clients are experts on themselves and their situations. If one accepts the main precept of exceptions, then one has to also accept that the client is already to some degree doing the solution and therefore knows the answers. This is also true of training. Since the first day of training is introducing the group to the basic principles, I would assume that the trainees have the capacity, cognitivie abilties and wisdom to use the ideas. This was reinforced for me when showing a video, I stopped it just before the miracle question was asked and had the group divide into pairs to discuss what they would make the miracle. When we went around, it was very clear that they understood the concept and each pair come up with excellent ideas. This was also true when I did the same for the "thinking break." Contrary to the above comment, they in fact did have the knowledge. In terms of "poking" for answers, I'm not sure what that means. I ask questions and I wait for responses. Yes, the silence inbetween while people are thinking can be uncomfortable but we are not sponges that absorb information; knowledge gathering is an interactive process. "Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand". Beside, I don't want anyone to think that I just print positive comments.]

July 2016: Following are comments from a 2-day Solution Focus Training in Tokyo, Japan.

Mr. Simon was humorous with words, and thanks to his lively and easy-to-understand teachings, I was able to stay focused and relaxed for the two-day workshop.

Joel-sensei was such a warm and personable teacher. He created a comfortable learning environment.

Mr. Joel is a determined, gentle, and wonderful teacher.

Mr. Joel’s seminar was very fruitful. It was great to hear him talk of Steve and explain microanalysis. “Road to solution can be led from anywhere”-this made a deep impression on me.

What I remember most from Mr. Joel’s workshop is his original magic. I am proudly boasting it in Sapporo. There were so many other things I learned. I am not good at giving feedbacks, but hearing Joel say that “any comment is ok”, I felt at ease. All this time I’d thought I needed to provide the right answer, but instead of an answer all I need is a suggestion. And if that turned out to be wrong, it still gives the client a chance to think through it.

By the end of the first day, I was at 8 on the scale. I felt fulfilled and satisfied. On the second day I went up to 9, and I’m saving one more point for when I actually put what I learned to practice.

I had been providing compliments throughout the first semester to a student assumably with a developmental disorder. It’s clear that the parents care for the student with love, and with acknowledgment and appreciation for what they do, I was able to build trust with them. I was reassured that I had been on the right path, and I felt comforted, and re-energized.

Words by Mr. Joel that has made a great impression 1. Language game 2. The more we talk about the problem, it becomes real. So don’t put a spotlight on the problem, instead face the future with a solution. 3. One thing that has gone wrong makes people believe everything has gone wrong. 4. Confusion is the seed of learning. 5. Best hope is important.

It was a great seminar. I think I had been trapped in trying to be loyal to the model, which had made me preoccupied. And because I had been distracted, role playing didn’t go well. My interpretation was that we should listen to the client with SFA thinking and minds, and ask questions based on SFA thinking and minds. It must be closer to building a conversation than just asking questions. As for role playing, if everyone has the same SFA mindset, then many questions will pop up at many timings.

It gave me a brimful of confidence to learn that any question is ok with a SFA mind.

I am a total beginner in counseling, but I was swelled with emotions during the workshop. With some unexpected tears…I'll once again read the literatures mentioned. Thank you so much.

It was a wonderful workshop. I was able to pick up on many things from basics to applications. Joel-sensei is a wonderful person. He reminded me of Steve with his gestures, and I felt nostalgic. I was almost in tears during the last role play. Mr. Takenouchi’s role was amazing, and Joel-sensei’s comments were so warm …

Thank you for a great workshop. Learning how deep it is, I realized I shouldn’t “think that I already know”. Joel-sensei’s words rich in nuance. I truly thought I want to keep learning and practicing what I learn. It was a very truly meaningful workshop. I am glad I attended.

What I learned was: Once you have learned the basics of Solution-focused thinking, and reach the level where you are able to teach it to others, “there’s more to it”.

I was able to gain new insights through the easy-to-understand instructions and works, as well as how other coaches and professionals are being creative and deliberating in their own field.

I think that I’ve experienced and know how “staying on the surface” can be difficult, and how that leads to CI power. Watching Mr. Takenouchi cautiously carry out the steps in the interview, I was once again reminded of the basics. I think I was able to apply to my interview I had the next day-simple, but with much care.

It was my first time attending a SFA workshop. And I feel I have wholly absorbed what SFA is all about. What is great is that during the work in the first half of the workshop, Mr. Joel mentioned that the interview can be guided regardless of “what the client’s problem is”. The problem is not important, but what the client wants to do is important. I learned that facing forward and staying positive is what counts. I gained a fresh reminder to deeply learn SFA, and incorporate it into my way of thinking in life, and my practices (on students and my own children).

It was very practical and easy to understand how Mr. Joel introduced work to teach the fundamental thinking of Solution-focused therapy, and using step-by-step methods to teach detailed ways of guiding the interview with basic concepts and techniques. I found many ideas and wordings that I feel I can incorporate. Thank you very much.

April 5 & 6, 2016: Center for Solution Focus Training: 3 trainees.

All scales are 0 to 5

How comfortable the training environment was for you? 5,5,4 (1 comment: "A little far from [New York] City"

What I learned here is applicable to what I do: 10 = totally agree: 5,5,4

The training held my interest: 10 = totally agree: 5,5,5

How organized you think the material was: 5,5,4

Joel's knowledgeability of the subject: 5,5,5

Comments/Suggestions: "I would like the training to be longer - maybe 3 or 5 days" "I love the combination of comments of other researchers with the case examples, It is a great way to learn how the techniques of SFBT work."

What surprised you most? "It reaffirms my interest in this approach, I find it even more consistent." "How SFBT can be applicable for all kinds of psychological treatment." "I very much liked the possible actions. I was surprised about how many possibilties you have in one utterance" [re: presentation on Microanalysis of Opportunities].

Additional comments/suiggestions: "Very good teacher and I got very motivated to learn more." "Thanks so much for the tips about drug issues" [re: suggestions about how to co-construct something useful when clients state that changes are happening mainly because of psychiatric medications.]. "Thanks!"

October 16 & 17, 2015: Albany, NY

"It was very specific in terms of how to try to do this therapy. Very concrete as well as presenting the framework. Roleplays were a good thing to end with."

What was helpful: "Interaction - particiapants energized by the workshop. It was more fun than I'd expected.":

"That therapy can be SIMPLE."

"What was most useful was that the audience asked questions and your answers. Less structured but useful. I feel empowered to do this on my onw. What surprised me was how many possible responses can come out of one utterance [referring to the Opportunities presentation]."

"Joel did a great job keeping it moving, maintaining flow and focus, even modeling solution-focused work. What surprised me was the completeness of this paradigm and the sense of risk if I leave my comfort zone. I enjoyed it nevertheless."

"I was re-invigorated, getting a better sense of how to use the techniques and more importantly, the mind-set. What surprised me was the alacrity with which people picked up the ideas and were able to use them in roleplays."

"I'm doing more of this therapy than I thought."

"Really nice job. Things flowed very nicely and it was helpful to acknowledge that the system can be a challenge. What surprised me was the use of the whole group to ask questions - very informative.".

What was useful: "The role playing, videos and us of humor to keep the atmosphere light and from dragging were useful. I was surprised by how many questions one can truly ask as opposed to the advice we tend to lean towards offering."

What was useful: "that the training was very specific, microanalysis, even with mandated clients the responsibility for customership is the clients, and "go slow to go solution-focused". What surprised me was how much of this fits with what I have always believed truly helps."

"I liked how Joel broke everything down and watching examples. Everyone's questions were great and your answers were interesting and helpful."

"The open dialogue, role plays, the range and variety of experiences in the room were all useful. Also helpful were the discussions of the use of the model within a variety of contexts, different client situations, and the constraints of working in systems/other paradigms. What surprise me was that I think I'm getting it."

"What was helpful were the discusions, roleplays, and the ability to engage participants. I would have liked more training days. I was surprised by how many skills I feel I have now."

What was helpful: "co-construction, The clear focus on goals, very interactive teaching style which addressed issues as raised. I was surprised by how little there was to actually teach/learn."

"What was helpful were roleplays, tools and the (PowerPoint) slides. The presentation on co-construction of reality was surprising and a helpful conceptualization."

"I was surprised by how easily it dove-tails with basic social work philosophy and the potential use with schizophrenics, etc."

What was useful: "new way of thinking about counseling and shifting practice. The training energized me to try a new approach. There were many useful conversations and I appreciated hearing other perspectives. I was surprised by how difficult it is to make the shift, to frame questions to arrive at solutions and how a problem-focused conversation is so hard to interrupt."



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