Saturday 22/11/2019

Welcome to the University of Canterbury

Dr Shanee Barraclough is the programme coordinator of the Masters of Counselling at the University of Canterbury, and host of the 2019 AASFBT Conference. Shanee will officially welcome us to the campus, and provide an introduction to the work happening in the Masters programme.


Good morning workshop

Alina Klibbel (from Romania) will deliver the opening workshop which will review the conference so far and prepare people for the next one and a half days. Good morning coaching is a short session that helps you to have a good state of mind at the start of the day.  You will find out on what to focus on in order to have a great start.

Alina is a trainer and a solution coach from Romania who is living with her family in New Zealand for 1 year.  This is her 1st AASFBT conference, and the organising committee is excited to having her join us.


Solution Focused Therapeutic Questions: An Affective Neuroscience Perspective

In Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) the therapist helps the client to build positive expectations and hope by means of asking effective solution focused question. It is assumed that solution focused questions can lead to making changes in the cognitive-affective schema and neurocognitive mechanisms. The presentation focuses on detailing the process research conducted to study the effect of solution focused questions when compared to problem focused questions on affective experience, neuropsychological components and psychophysiological state in clinical samples as well as healthy volunteers. The presentation also explains the significance of language in forming therapeutic questions during a therapy session, which have a greater impact on making the change. By the end of the presentation, the audience can learn how significantly a solution focused question differs from problem focused question during a therapy session and the value of focusing on language while asking therapeutic questions.

Jaseem Koorankot, PhD, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist by profession, currently working as an assistant professor of clinical psychology at Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS), India. Jaseem has published many scientific articles in the area of Solution Focused Practice and presented research papers and keynote address in annual conferences of European Brief Therapy Association (EBTA), solution-focused world conferences and many other scientific sessions. Apart from training and practice, he is actively involved in research and won European Brief Therapy Association research grants in 2016 and 2018, as well as a research grant from Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) in 2019. His key research interests are in brief psychotherapy, solution-focused approach, therapeutic language, affective neuroscience, psychotherapy process research, discourse analysis in psychotherapy, and psychometric test development. He is also a trained clinical supervisor of Solution Focused Brief Therapy. He has facilitated several introductory and advanced level workshops on solution focused practice in Europe, India and the Middle East. He has been an advisor as well as an organiser for many international conferences in Europe and India. Jaseem is also the founder of Association of Solution Focused Practices – India (ASFP – I), the only professional body for solution focused practice in India.


Morning concurrent workshops

Workshop #1  John Penny

How to live with our anxieties- strategies for children across all years 4 and 5

In Diocesan wide surveys in was noted that Primary School X had higher than average anxiety levels in Years 4 and 5 in 2018. The School Administration asked the School Counsellor to design and implement an intervention to address these anxiety issues.

The intervention included hour long lessons in week 3 and week 7 of Term 4, 2018. These lessons were planned and delivered by the School Counsellor in the presence of the classroom teachers who were encouraged to join in the lessons as appropriate. A worksheet was given to the students and the teachers were asked to follow up some of the questions between week 3 and week 7.

Students were surveyed before and after the intervention using a repeated measures design. Results were encouraging. Many students reported that they had improved skills in how to deal with their anxieties. The improvements were greater in the classes were the follow up by the class teachers were more faithfully adhered to. Further, some lessons were given to 2 classes together a total of 60 children while other lessons involved one class only some 30 children. The improvements were greater in the single class groups.

John Penny has worked is schools for more than 40 years as a Science Teacher, Assistant Principal and Principal of an Alternative School for Year 9 and 10 students who could not cope with mainstream schooling. He retrained as a Psychologist almost 20 years ago and was the Manager of School Counselling and Behavioural Services in the Parramatta Diocese. At present John works as a School Counsellor in a Primary School in Western Sydney, and he is a Board member of the AASFBT.


Workshop #2   Colleen Hirst

The absence of presence when somebody dies

A solution focused approach can offer hope and possibility for those experiencing grief and loss. Colleen will draw from both clinical practice and personal experience to examine the impact of identifying capacity, exceptions and coping strategies. We will explore clinical presence and our ability to "be with" or "fit" with our client's lived experience. With a brief reference to current grief models, we will highlight how a solution focused approach might offer a different perspective and offer new ways of working.

Colleen Hirst is the director of Merrylands Counselling, a group private practice in western Sydney. She is a clinical psychologist and family therapist. Her counselling career spans nearly 40 years, having worked in correctional facilities, welfare services (including outreach, centre-based and residential), adolescent and family services, training institutes, Sydney Health, and counselling organizations. She has worked from her own therapy practice for 20 years. Colleen is passionate in her journey to uncover and integrate the powerful ways hope, capacity and a focus on possibility and strength impacts our practice.


Afternoon concurrent workshops

Workshop #3  Gary Smith

Using SFBT to treat Sexual Abuse Trauma

Live demonstration using SFBT to interview someone suffering from PTSD. The demonstration will focus on how to assess risk and at the same time develop a positive frame for looking at what will be different when they have fully recovered from the traumatizing event.
While SFBT is not “problem focused” we are still presented with clients and organizations that want us to assess and treat the impact of trauma supposedly related to sexual abuse. The interview will be a mock interview of the first session of an ACC referral for someone who is requesting help for Sexual Abuse Trauma. 
Following the interview there will be discussion groups around the following topics:
1. How do we maintain a SFBT approach and still comply with the requirement of ACC to identify a mental disorder that is caused by a sexual abuse trauma?
2. How do we assess current risk of harm to self and others when interviewing someone who is seeking help related to sexual abuse trauma using SFBT?
3. How do we keep from being drawn into over focusing on the problem when discussing sexual abuse trauma.
4. Does SFBT provide everything needed to successfully treat a sexual abuse survivor or do we need theoretical constructs from other schools? For instance, Yvonne Dolan combines SFBT and Ericksonion hypnosis. 
5. Is it possible to successfully treat a sexual abuse survivor using only SFBT? Why or why not? 

Gary Smith has practiced clinical psychology in NZ since 2005 and in the USA since 1985. He practiced as a marriage and family counsellor in California from 1975 to 1985. He has a broad range of experience working with children, adolescents and adults in outpatient practice, psychiatric hospitals, and in prison. He has treated sex offenders from 1980 until 2014 and has treated survivors of sexual abuse trauma through ACC from 2015 until the present time. He currently is providing brief treatment through Procare in Manukau. He was trained by Michael Durant in the use of SFBT and has been using SFBT both in the prison setting and in outpatient therapy.


Workshop #4  Carey Glass

Adapting SF to Working in Organisations


This is an introduction and exploration around using SF in organisational work.
What's the same, what's different, how do you do it, what great techniques have the organisational folk come up with? How do you get your head around organisations and use SF? 

Carey Glass discovered SF by accident in 2001. She just wanted to go to a brief therapy to adapt to coaching and didn't know "brief" was a thing. Day 1 with Evan George at Brief and it of course changed everything. She is a co-editor of InterAction, the journal for SF in organisations and an organisational psychologist and consultant.


Miracles, creative methods and complimenting sequences: Master of Counselling students present findings from practice-based research

This will be a series of creative presentations drawing on Master of Counselling students' recently completed practice-based counselling research. Nadia will present her research exploring what an integration of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy and Creative Methods might offer primary aged children, in the form pf a play. The play focuses on a single case study which follows six counselling sessions with a 9 year old boy. Clare's presentation will focus on the details of what occurs during Solution Focused complimenting sequences. She will draw on counselling sessions she recorded and analysed with three clients, sharing themes related to complimenting including 1) the therapeutic relationship, 2) long arms, long tails, 3) messiness, and 4) hope arises. Finally, Darryl will present on the miracle of the miracle question and his conceptualisation of the miracle question as a three-part process, drawing also on his own counselling sessions with clients.

Nadia Dick, Clare Vivian-Neal and Darryl Phipps have all recently completed their Master of Counselling degrees at the University of Canterbury. As part of this degree they completed practice-based research exploring in depth a particular aspect of their solution-focused counselling practice. All are currently practicing counsellors in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Nadia is employed in the Mana Ake programme, 'Mana Ake - Stronger for Tomorrow', which provides support for children aged five to 12 years old across Canterbury. Darryl works as a guidance counsellor in a High School in Christchurch and Clare is based in Golden Bay where she works as a trainer and counsellor.


Keynote address.  The flowerpot – a revolutionary theory for making sense of what the heck we are supposed to be doing. 

In the keynote address Ben Furman will present the ground-breaking flowerpot theory, his cherished a brainchild. It’s a proposal for three common factors that are needed in order for therapists and counsellors to succeed in their work with children, teens and families: Hope, Collaboration and Creativity. We will take a sweeping look at what you can do in actual practice – regardless of your therapeutic orientation – to instil hope, to get everyone one board and to ignite the creativity of your clients (and subdue that of your own).