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Vision and Goals

We aim to create a prevalent and enduring culture of humanistic healthcare by reinforcing approaches and skills consistent with client-centered care. Our programs support and equip healthcare providers with the skills to work collaboratively and synergistically with each other and their clients to emphasize, amplify and reinforce agency, strengths and resources already present in all stakeholders.

Humanistic, solution-focused communication supports a culture of collaborative, interdisciplinary practice, while safeguarding the wellbeing of healthcare providers/workers.

Program Description

The SFHCC program is an intensive 12-month coaching program with a humanistic approach to healthcare that is made practical through solution-focused skills and strategies. Monthly classes include formal and informal learning contexts where participants will engage with their peers and instructors to create experiential learning opportunities.

From our first, highly engaging class, emphasis is placed on supporting the participant’s implementation of solution-focused communication within their unique healthcare context.

What makes the SFHCC program unique is the integration of coaching hours and supervision into the practitioner’s current role/practice—learning and placement as one seamless structure.

Intended Participants
  • Clinicians, including therapists, nurses, physicians and social workers

  • Current healthcare profession students

  • Healthcare administrators, practice leaders

  • Healthcare educators

  • Healthcare knowledge brokers

  • Healthcare students

  • Social workers

  • Mental health workers

Registration Requirements
  • Post-secondary education in a healthcare profession or domain

  • Member of a regulated healthcare college

  • Student in a healthcare domain

  • Social workers/mental health workers

Program Delivery

(Program delivery is only in English at this time)

  • Currently all program elements are virtual

  • Typically there is a combination of classroom, in-person and virtual learning

Program Elements
  • 70 instructor-led learning hours that include formal and informal

  • 10 self-directed learning hours

  • 10 peer supervision hours

  • 12 supervision hours

  • 10 supervisor training hours

  • Case presentation and evaluation

Coaching Hour Requirements
  • Solution-Focused Health Care Certificate (SFHCC)

    • 55 coaching hours

  • Certified Solution-Focused Healthcare Coach (CSFHC)

    • 125 coaching hours

      • 25 of those hours are facilitation hours

    • The SFHCC case presentation and evaluation are a prerequisite for the CSFHC case presentation and evaluation

The SFHCC designation permits graduates to practice as a healthcare coach, while the CSFHC designation qualifies graduates to provide the training to others.

Sample Program Topics

These topics are representative of what will be covered, however topics may change depending on the needs of the class.

While COVID-19 restrictions are in place, virtual classes will occur via Zoom on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. There is also the possibility to hold classes from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. one morning a week.

For information on tuition, please contact Elaine Cook, PhD, at

Solution-Focused Fundamentals

Workshop participants will be exposed to important theories that have shaped the evolution of solution-focused coaching and communication as well as its implications for practice. Theory is presented through experiential exercises that amplify and concretize learning. These encompass humanistic psychology, cultural psychology, discourse and communication theory.

Significant skills that are emphasized include:

  • An understanding of solution-focused principles that guide behaviour
  • An understanding of the importance of language and words, with respect to psychological, emotional and social wellbeing for practitioners and clients
  • An understanding of communication competence and how communication practices influence behaviour
  • How these skills and principles are specifically applied within healthcare contexts as well as the learner’s clinical/therapeutic role, if applicable
Rapport Building and Curiosity – Not Knowing
  • Participants will learn the significance of rapport in healthcare contexts and roles
  • How to effectively and authentically build rapport, even with time constraints
  • How to adopt a stance of curiosity and not knowing
Goal Setting and Key Words
  • Participants will learn solution-focused goal setting skills to help facilitate clinical and therapeutic goals
  • A coaching model of conversation and communication
  • Solution-focused key words that guide and facilitate humanistic conversations, client agency and autonomy
Scaling, Exception Questions and Outcome Questions
  • Participants will learn how to use and engage with these solution-focused questioning skills in ways that amplify client and family outcomes
Re-framing and Miracle Question
  • Participants will learn how to re-frame problems, concerns and challenges, helping clients and families to discover and enhance their strengths and resources – what they want instead of the problem
Difficult Conversations, Conflict Resolution
  • Participants will learn to confidently navigate difficult conversations, deliver challenging news and help to resolve conflict using solution-focused principles and language skills
The Thinking Break
  • Participants will learn how to introduce and facilitate client as well as clinician benefits from the Thinking Break
Group/Family Coaching
  • Participants will learn how to facilitate a group/team/family coaching session
Virtual Coaching
  • Participants will learn skills to facilitate a virtual clinical appointment
Case Presentation and Evaluation
  • Students will present a case study to peers and external examiners demonstrating course competencies


When I first encountered solution-focused coaching, it was an “Aha” moment. The idea that the client is the expert in their own lives, and that it is our job as healthcare professionals to amplify the strengths and resources of our clients in order to develop their agency as the author/authority of their own healthcare journey, was a paradigm shift for me. It has helped me to be a better listener, and to create goals and strategies collaboratively with my clients that are more in alignment with what is important and meaningful to them.
- Amanda Musto, OT

In signing up for the SFHCC certification, I was hoping to grow my clinical interviewing and goal setting skills. I am grateful that I have been able to take so much more from my learning. The growth of my general conversational skills, my appreciation for curiosity, my ability to help myself and others remove our focus from the obstacles in life to see the routes around them, and my facilitation skills in general have been exponential. I now feel like a more valuable contributor to meetings, more willing to approach problems with curiosity and realistic optimism, and safer in relating to clients, colleagues, and even my own family and friends. The evidence- and theory-based approach of the curriculum has guided me beyond a formula for solution-focused conversations towards principles for navigating life situations with a solution-focused approach.
- Laura Hartman, researcher

Having the opportunity to connect with peers of service providers who are passionate about learning and using solution-focused communication in their frontline practice has been foundational to forming the type of occupational therapist I am today and hope to become tomorrow. I leave every group session with a new word and/or question I am curious to explore in my next clinical session. This program has been instrumental to forming not only ‘what’ I say to my clients, but ‘how’ I see the world of healthcare and my place within it.
- Eric Smart, OT 

I will be one of the first cohorts to be nationally accredited as a solution-focused healthcare coach after going through the program developed by Elaine Cook at Holland Bloorview. The program has completely transformed my approach to my work as a nurse supporting families with children with Autism, shifting my focus from what can I do to fix a family’s problems, to how can I work with families to access and activate their own strengths and resources, so they can become confident, engaged participants in their healthcare journey with their child and family. I cannot recommend this program enough.
- Cathy Petta, nurse


To inquire about upcoming dates, to register for a course or for more information, please contact:

Dr. Elaine Cook, PhD
Mailing address

Holland Bloorview Kids
Rehabilitation Hospital
150 Kilgour Road
Toronto, ON M4G 1R8

Learn More

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For more information and to access the full offering of programs and workshops, visit: