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I am passionate about helping people to discover and build on what is working in their lives in order to create the changes they most desire. Here are some of the experiences that have led me to solution focused life coaching.

Ellen Quick, Ph.D., BCC

Board Certified Coach and Founder,

Ellen Quick Life Coaching

My formal education includes a B.A. in Psychology from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.

Solution-focused practice 
I had the privilege of being trained in the foundations of solution-focused practice by the two individuals who developed the approach, Insoo Kim Berg (co-author, with Peter Szabo, of Brief Coaching for Lasting Solutions) and Steve de Shazer. From them I learned the power and elegance of the solution-focused model. 

I also studied brief strategic therapy, training with the therapists who created the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, primarily Dr. Richard Fisch. From Dick I learned that when commonsense solutions don’t work well enough, it can be valuable to do something very different and that solutions often include elements of the unexpected and the counterintuitive. 


I am grateful for my opportunity to receive training from Dr. Milton Erickson, psychiatrist and master hypnotist. From him I learned about the power of noticing tiny details that can be amplified to become ingredients of solutions. 


And I have learned so much from my colleagues in the Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association (SFBTA) and European Brief Therapy Association (EBTA).


I have been a therapist for many years, and I use a flexible solution-focused approach with individuals, couples, and groups. I developed the “doing what works” approach to solution-focused practice and established the Doing What Works Group, a group that combines group process, solution-focused practice, and education about solution-focused principles. 


In many important ways, my clients have been among my most influential teachers. Over and over I see their courage and ability to create change even in the presence of formidable obstacles. As a California licensed psychologist, I continue to practice psychotherapy, separate from my coaching practice.


As a trainer, teacher, and supervisor, I have had the privilege of training pre-doctoral clinical psychology interns in solution-focused practice at Kaiser Permanente, San Diego. I've taught workshops on my “doing what works approach” to solution-focused practice in the USA and abroad. 

As I practiced and wrote about solution-focused practice, I increasingly noticed something that concerned me: Too often, the only way people can participate in solution-focused conversations is through solution-focused therapy. And “going for therapy”—solution-focused or any other kind—means having a psychiatric or psychological problem!

I thought, “Hmm, something’s wrong with this picture. Psychologically healthy people who are facing a dilemma or who want to create change in their lives should be able to access solution-focused conversation too!”

Thinking about how I might make that service available to more people led me to the profession of life coaching.

My coaching training has been through MentorCoach, a program that integrates evidence-based coaching practice with the science and practice of Positive Psychology. I am grateful Dr. Patricia Hinton Walker, my teacher in the MentorCoach Foundations program, who has shared so many “pearls” of coaching wisdom. I have learned much from my MentorCoach colleagues as well. 

I am a Board Certified Coach (BCC). This credential is a mark of distinction for credential holders and a source of credibility for their clients. As a BCC, I have met professional coaching competency standards established by the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE) and subject matter experts.

I also have a Certificate in Coaching and Psychotherapy from the Zur Institute.

Through workshops at the SFBTA and EBTA, I have had the opportunity to learn from solution-focused colleagues who have expertise in coaching. For the wisdom they have shared, I am grateful to Haesun Moon (Program Director of Solution Focused Brief Coaching Program at University of Toronto) and to Evan George, Chris Iveson and Harvey Ratner (faculty of London-based BRIEF’s training in solution-focused coaching and authors of Brief Coaching: A Solution Focused Approach).

My coaching clients, like my therapy clients, are also among my most important teachers.
All of these people and experiences, along with many others, have left their imprint on the solution focused life coaching I provide. All have demonstrated to me that solution-focused tools and collaborative conversation absolutely can help people to turn their best hopes into reality. It continues to be a privilege to assist people in their journeys toward their destinations.

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