In 1985 Ben and Tapani founded their company Helsinki Brief Therapy Institute (Lyhytterapiainstituutti) where Ben works as a trainer of solution-focused therapy, coaching and organizational development. Ben has been also an active media personality. He used to host his own TV-program (200 episodes) and has also run his own call-in radio program, both on Finnish National Broadcasting Company YLE.
Ben has written some twenty books many of which have been translated to a number of foreign languages. He is renowned internationally as a trainer of solution-focused psychology and an active innovator of solution-focused methods and tools such as Kids’ Skills and Steps of Responsibility for helping children overcome problems and Reteaming, Twin-Star and Cooperation for teaching solution-focused psychology for leaders and staff of and organizations.
One of Ben’s special interest is designing and developing solution-focused apps. Click on the main menu to see an up-to-date catalogue of his apps, most of which are free to use, or download from the net.
Ben works widely internationally. Countries where he teaches regularly or has been teaching include Holland, Belgium, Canada, Sweden, Bulgaria, Estonia, England, Scotland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Taiwan, Singapore, Malesia, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, Egypt, India, Azerbaijan, Germany, USA, Mexico, New Zealand, Israel, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Slovakia.
The long story
Ben has been interested in psychology and psychiatry since his youth. During the time he studied medicine in the 70′s he participated in gestalt therapy training. In 1977 he was a work study scholar during the summer break for a month in Esalen institute in California where he became acquainted with a number of newer methods of therapy and personal growth. During this time he also worked as the editor of ’Medisiinari’, medical students’ journal.
When Ben started his internship in psychiatry he intended to become a psychoanalyst. He started his personal analytic treatment in early 80′s. After only a year of intensive therapy he migrated to analytic group therapy which he attended for two years (1982-1984).
Ben’s interest in newer forms of therapy, particularly family therapy and brief therapy, made him change his course. In 1984 he went to study systemic family therapy for two weeks in Italy with Luigi Boscolo and Gianfranco Ceccin. He started to apply family therapy ideas in his work, attended congresses and workshops, participated in a family therapy training course in Finland (1984-1986) and became the founding editor of the Finnish journal of Family Therapy (1984-1988) which is published by the NGO, Finnish Association of Mental Health.
In 1984 Ben was invited by Mannerheim Child Welfare League to act as trainer, together with Tapani Ahola, in a brief therapy training program. Collaboration with Tapani intensified Ben’s interest in brief therapy in general, and solution-focused brief therapy in particular.
In 1986 Ben and Tapani established their company Helsinki Brief Therapy Institute.
Ben graduated as a medical doctor (licensed physician) from Helsinki University in 1979. Thereafter he worked for two years as a general practitioner, or primary health care physician in Lapland, northern part of Finland. In 1982 he started his specialization into psychiatry working among other things in outpatient psychiatry, outpatient child psychiatry, liaison psychiatry and different hospital wards. He was accredited his specialist designation in adult psychiatry in 1986. During his specialization he studied psychotherapy, family therapy and brief therapy. He was certified by the accrediting body of the ministry of health as a psychotherapist in 1995 and as a trainer psychotherapist (advanced level specialist psychotherapist) in 2007.