I was born (1953) and raised in Helsinki Finland. My parents were born in Finland, but my grandparents were immigrants, on my father’s side from Poland and on my mother’s side from Ukraine. I graduated from high-school (gymnasium) in 1972 and went on to study medicine at the Helsinki University medical school.
I am grandfater with two daughters and two grand-daughters. I live together with my current partner in Helsinki.
I graduated from medical school in 1979. Thereafter I worked for two years as a general practitioner in Lapland, the northern part of Finland. I returned to Helsinki in 1982 to start my specialization in psychiatry. The specialization consited of woring with psychiatric patrients in both inpatient and outpatient settings as welll as in child psychiatry. I was accredited by the Finnish ministry of health as “specialist in psychiatry” in 1986.
While I was specializing in psychiatry I also participated in a 3-year-long training program on family therapy and was certified by the Finnish Ministry of Health to be allowed to use the government-protected label “psychotherapist” in 1995, and the protected label “senior psychothrapist” (trainer) in 2007.
My books have been translated to over 20 languages and over the years I have taught on five continents and according to my calcculations, in some 40 countries around the world.
One of my long-time hobbies or interests has been to design and develop solution-focused mental health apps. For example, I have created together with Lorenn Walker a website called Apology and Forgiveness website which offers free apps related to apology and forgiveness; I have designed what I call the Kids’Skills App, which is can be downloaded to mobile phones and serves as a solution-focused handbook for parents, teachers and other peple who work with children. I showcase a collection of my multilingual Self-Helper Apps that you can find by clicking on the link.
Helsinki Brief Therapy Institute
I established together with Tapani Ahola the Helsinki Brief Therapy Institute in 1986. The institute is an IASTI-certified and provides training in solution-focused therapy and coaching. It also publishes books and other materials related to the solution-focused approach. I still collaborate with the Institute but since 2022 I’m no longer a shareholder and have been operating through my own company which is called Furman Consulting.
I have developed over the years together with Tapani Ahola several applications of solution-focused therapy and coaching. These include the 12-step solution-focused coaching and team-building method reteaming; a solution-focused approach to helping children overcome challenges and difficulties called Kids’Skills, and Cooperation, a training program for teaching solution-focused communication skills to managers, teams and staff of organizations.
Work in media
During my medical studies in the 70s I wrote articles to the Helsinki University’s medical students’ journal “Medisiinari” and was subsequently invited to act as the editor of the journal for two years.
In 1984 I was invited by the Finnish Association of Mental Health to be the founding editor of the Finnish Journal of Family Therapy in which role I worked for several years.
In 1998 I was invited to host a weekly psychological talk-show on Finnish national TV channel 1. The show was simply called “Ben Furman” and it aired on-and-off for 8 years covering some 200 episodes. The video below is the original intro of the show.
In 2009-2010 I worked for the national public radio hosting a live weekly late-night call-in program entitled “Radio Therapist” where I interviewed guests and talked with callers about issues related to theme of that particular evening.