Dear colleague,

This email is to give you news from The Brief Therapy Institute of Sydney — at the end of the holidays, to remind you about upcoming training events and to alert you that the discounted rate for the first round of 2019 training finishes NEXT WEEK.

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Einstein cartoon Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) represents a very different way of reaching solutions. Rather than more-of-the-same problem thinking, it embraces a future-focused emphasis on what will be different — practical different thinking and achievable different behaviour that will help the client to the kind of future they would prefer to have. The focus is then on the client's strengths and resources and on aspects of the desired solution that are, in fact, already present.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is an evidence-based approach — there is ample and growing solid research evidence of its effectiveness and of the sustainability of the changes achieved.

Further, the evidence shows that SFBT is effective in 65-83% of cases in just 4-5 sessions. Some research shows that SFBT has similar outcome results as other evidence-based approaches, but in a shorter period of time (or number of sessions).

This 'flagship' workshop has been the introduction to Solution-Focused Practice for many of the Australia's leading practitioners. Comprehensive, thought-provoking and inspiring, many participants can't wait to get back to their workplace to practice.

Michael Durrant is Australia's leading trainer/presenter in Solution-Focused work. As well as having had a personal/professional relationship with the founders of the Solution-Focused approach, he has previously given invited keynote addresses at a Singapore Solution-Focused Practice Conference, the 2017 New Zealand Solution-Focused Practice Conference, the European Brief Therapy Conference on a number of occasions, the "special" American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Conference devoted to Solution-Focused therapy and the Australian and the New Zealand Strengths Conferences — as well as at school principal and deputy principal conferences in Australia and New Zealand. He has presented Solution-Focused training on more than 600 occasions to professional counselling, mental health and welfare audiences in all states of Australia, various cities in New Zealand, Singapore, London and elsewhere in Europe and North America. For a number of years, Michael had an academic appointment at the University of Sydney, where he was involved in training school psychologists.

While the training largely uses counselling/therapy examples, it includes some consideration of coaching and leadership contexts. Previous participants whose work is largely in coaching have reported the training useful — and Michael has presented training thatis essentially the same to coaching organisations, including The University of Sydney Coaching & Mentoring Alumni.

Nearly 150 people (mental health practitioners, school counsellors, other welfare and counselling professionals) completed this training, either with us in Parramatta or with Michael in their workplace, last year.

100 have completed an anonymous online questionnaire.

Overall, how would you rate this training?


How much will the ideas from the training make a difference in your work?


Two-day training in Sydney (Parramatta), Melbourne and Adelaide in March with Michael Durrant. Parramatta training and Adelaide training almost full. HURRY. Melbourne training filling.

EARLYBIRD rate — 16% discount — ends 6 February.

Compass logo
Michael will also be presenting the same Solution-Focused training in Hobart, Perth, Newcastle, Townsville, Brisbane and Ballina later in the year. These courses are organised by our colleagues at Compass Seminars and registrations are on their web site.

Harry Potter quote
Post-Traumatic Success

At the recent Invictus games, a returned soldier was being interviewed about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In the background, Prince Harry is gesticulating, saying "We have to get rid of the D". He advocates the term PTSI (Illness) rather than PTSD, because "An illness is something you can recover from!".

The words we use in discussing trauma make a difference. The term "survivor" is more hopeful than the term "victim" ... the term "thriver" means you are no longer defined by the trauma.

Dr George Bonanno, from the Clinical Psychology Program at Columbia University in New York, concludes "Recent research indicates that the most common reaction among adults exposed to [traumatic] events is a relatively stable pattern of healthy functioning coupled with the enduring capacity for positive emotion and generative experiences". Prof Sandy McFarlane, from the Centre for Trauma Stress Studies at the University of Adelaide comments that, "The typical pattern for even the most catastrophic experiences is resolution of symptoms and not the development of PTSD".

CS Lewis quoteThus, Post-Traumatic Success may be an expected outcome. This does NOT mean ignoring the reality of pain and trauma — however, this perspective requires a therapeutic approach that builds on, and values, hope, possibility and strength.

This course will contrast notions of ongoing damage with the idea that people who have suffered abuse and trauma can build new views of self and possibilities for a successful future. Looking forward will be suggested as a more useful focus, although ideas for looking back in creative, helpful ways will also be addressed.

The course will focus on adolescents and adults who experienced sexual abuse, violence, natural disaster and other kinds of trauma and who present with difficulties of guilt, depression, poor self-esteem, relationship problems, etc. It will offer a practical framework for therapy derived from the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy approach and recent Strengths perspective and resilience research and a more hopeful and positive way to approach post-traumatic stress. The course includes practical exercises that can be used with individuals or groups that assist in identifying and strengthening personal strengths and resources.

Two-day training in Sydney (Parramatta) in June with Michael Durrant.

Colin Powell quoteSolution-Focused Supervision and Leadership


Many organisations embrace Solution-Focused and/or "strengths-based" principles in their work with clients. "Strengths-based" has become the most popular description of current approaches. This course explores the implications of this thinking for supervising, coaching and managing staff. What might it mean to use the same philosophy and process in supervision and leadership? If we are serious about trying to treat our staff in a way that is consistent with how we treat our clients, what difference might this actually make?

The course will draw upon Solution-Focused principles AND from the broader literature about "best practice" in supervision and leadership. Participants will gain practical methods for working with staff in ways that enhance their sense of competence and effectiveness.

A framework for supervisory and leadership conversations will be offered and its use in a variety of contexts explored — including using "strengths-based" conversations in potential disciplinary situations — as well as coaching conversations that help staff see a way forward.

Two-day training in Sydney (Parramatta) in August with Michael Durrant.

Michael is an Approved Supervisor with the Psychology Board of Australia, was engaged by the (then) NSW Psychologists Registration Board to train supervisors and has provided supervision training to organisations in Australia and overseas. Michael has presented leadership training for a number of NGOs in Australia.

schools logo Strengths and Solution-Focused applications in schools

The Brief Solutions Strengths in Schools project has been exploring the application of Solution-Focused and strengths-perspective ideas in the day-to-day school context.

We have consulted to schools on how to have different kinds of conversations with students (conversations that open possibilities) and how to do discipline in a Solution-Focused way.

schools logoFar North Queensland Solution-Focused schools project

Following a number of Solution-Focused training events for guidance officers and for Deputy Principals in Far North Queensland, the Regional Director is funding a number of innovative Solution-Focused projects in schools across the region. Teams of school personnel — DPs, guidance officers, welfare staff and classroom teachers — have designed Solution-Focused projects unique to each school context ... from using Solution-Focused ideas to orient all students entering Year 7 and help them set "goals" for their high school involvement through to using Solution-Focused ideas to support vulnerable, indigenous students. Michael is privileged to consult to this endeavour.

For full details of what we can offer your school — and information about various Solution-Focused projects in schools in Australia and overseas — please see our Schools web site.

Go to main Brief Therapy Institute of Sydney web site.

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THANK YOU for your support of the Brief Therapy Institute of Sydney ... and for reading this far!

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