Goal Setting That Works

30 Tips to Increase Your Impact

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Therapy is a powerful vehicle for change. But there's no point in having a vehicle if you don't know your destination. Whatever your theoretical or therapeutic orientation might be, and whichever client population you see, goal setting is almost certainly a part of the work that you do. Yet goal setting is often done haphazardly, without the attention to technique and detail that it deserves. As a result, this primary tool of therapy is weakened and often proves ineffective.

This course is designed to sharpen your technique for maximum impact with the clients you serve. We'll examine:

  • The nature of therapeutic goal-setting and behavioural activation - and why they're so important for outcome.
  • The client populations that benefit (spoiler alert: almost everyone) and strategies for tailoring goal setting to the needs of different groups (for example, depression versus anxiety disorders).
  • Methods of integrating goal setting with the client's stage of change.
  • Strategies to help clients identify their own Ultimate Goals - for the therapy, and for their lives.
  • Methods of breaking down Ultimate Goals to form Immediate Goals: goals that can be carried out before the next session.
  • A series of rules governing effective and achievable Immediate Goals, designed to increase the likelihood of them being carried out.
  • The role of the clinician in assisting clients in finding their path forward.
  • The optimal timing and structure for goal setting within the therapy session.

Along the way you will receive clear recommendations about the use of 30 specific tips to sharpen your technique and maximize your impact. Each is designed to enhance client change in the only environment that counts: outside your office.

This course provides 5 hours of video content, plus a series of downloadable forms that you can use with your clients to develop goals and monitor progress.

Get CE Credit: Upon completing the course you can submit a brief quiz and a feedback form, and we will provide you with a certificate of completion for 5 CE hours. Changeways Clinic is an approved provider of Continuing Education under the Canadian Psychological Association (see note at the bottom of this page).

Learning objectives: By the completion of this course, qualified and trained mental health professionals should be able to:
  • Help clients select their own goals, rather than adopting goals imposed by the therapist.
  • Implement strategies to help clients identify and share their Ultimate Goals.
  • Describe to clients the important distinction between Ultimate and Immediate Goals.
  • Help clients generate Immediate Goals that are realistic and measurable.
  • Make use of goal-setting strategies in their own lives, both for their own benefit and to enhance and inform their work with clients.


"In all honesty, my frustration as I watched it was 'Why did I not know about these presentations before?'"

"Very practical course - all psychologists would benefit from this."

"I really enjoyed how the instructor focussed on the 'basics' and emphasized that this was the most important! The instructor was also very engaging and I liked how he brought in real-life examples."

"Being a psychologist for over 30 years, there were new methods and information aspects, as well as good review of past learning."

"I thoroughly enjoyed this course. Very practical and engaging. Thank you."

"Love the metaphor of turning cliff faces into stair cases. Really helpful visualization for clients."

"Very engaging instructor. Examples and material that were easy to relate to and relevant for a variety of clients. Relevant to managers of mental health teams. Good strategies for teams to adopt for goal setting."

A Note Regarding CPA Approval: The Canadian Psychological Association's approval of an individual, group, or organization as a CE Sponsor or Provider is restricted to the activities described in the approved application or annual report form. The CPA’s approval does not extend to any other CE activity the Sponsor or Provider might offer. In granting its approval, the CPA assumes no legal or financial obligations to Sponsors, Providers, or to those individuals who might participate in a Sponsor or Provider’s CE activities or programs. Further, responsibility for the content, provision, and delivery of any CE activity approved by the CPA remains that of the CE Sponsor or Provider. The CPA disclaims all legal liability associated with the content, provision, and delivery of the approved CE activity. This program adheres to the ethical standards of the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists.

Your Instructor

Dr Randy Paterson
Dr Randy Paterson

Randy Paterson is the Director of Changeways Clinic, a private mental health center, and author of How to be Miserable, The Assertiveness Workbook, Private Practice Made Simple, and Your Depression Map. He is also the lead author of the Changeways Core Program, one of the world's most widely used group therapy treatment protocols for depression. He presents workshops for professional mental health providers across Canada and internationally.

Course Curriculum

  Boiling it Down to Action
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days after you enroll
  Coping with Success and Failure
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days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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