Page 1

Solution News

ISSN 1758-4388

United Kingdom Association for Solution Focused Practice Volume 4 - Issue 2 - September 2009

Articles in this issue: Solution Focused working with young children Jocelyne Pouliot Relationships for Dummies Paul Hackett Also in this issue:

Pedagogy, Power and Prevention


Geoffrey James

Association and Member News Details of what the UKASFP sub­ systems and members have been up to Conference 2009 A reminder for those who were not able to be there ­ just what did you miss? Accreditation Paul Hanton brings us up to date on what UKASFP is doing about accreditation

Solution News ◊ Volume 4 Issue 2 ◊ September 2009

From the Chair Things have changed.

Welcome to Solution News! From the Guest Editor: Welcome to the Autumn edition of Solution News. The year is going by very quickly and this is the pentultimate edition fo 2009. As with the last few editions, we have our own Barry White, UKASFP Chairman, to thank for tickling the keyboard and coaxing all our contributions into a coherent form. Thank you Barry, from the bottoms of our hearts and paws. In this edition, we have a round up of the 2009 UKASFP conference which was held at Keele University in June. We also have contributions from some of our members and news from some of the local groups. We are grateful for all submissions and support our contributers give us. Keep the input coming. Our next edition will be in time for Christmas, all being well. We will need articles submitted by 1 November so we have time to get them edited and typeset in time for the holidays.

At Conference this year Paul stood down as co‐chair and now there is just me! Other changes have happened since so that the Committee is depleted somewhat. My thanks then to Paul Hanton and Carl Plant for all the work they have done for this association. Paul continues to work on accreditation ( see the article in this newsletter ) and Carl amongst his many activities is studying at Masters level. As commented in the last issue we are having to prioritise our demands as a committee and that will continue ‐ even though we have been joined by Paul Avard and Emma Griffiths, both worthy additions who have already proved their worth! Thanks to them both for their willingness to help out and for the energy that they bring. The first quarter of this year following Conference has been quiet in terms of activity on mailing lists, although no doubt people are going about their business as usual where life takes over. We look forward to a resumption in activities soon as autumn fades and winter begins. Finally my thanks to all members for making this organisation what it is ‐ without you there is no organisation. Barry White

Vicky Bliss

2 ◊

Solution News

Solution News ­ Credits:

Solution available at:­ SolutionNews Newsisisfreely freely available

at:­ www.solution­


Editing of articles in this issue:

Editing of articles in this issue: Vicky Bliss.

UKASFP Committee.

The opinions presented in Solution News are those of the relevant The opinions presented in Solution authors and do not represent the News of are those of the relevant views the UKASFP.

authors and do not represent the views of the UKASFP.

National Committee Members Chair

Barry White


Paul Avard

UKASFP membership is only £25 per annum. To join, visit UKASFP membership is only £25

per annum. To join, visit

National Development Officer Greg Vinnicombe Treasurer Beverley Cameron Young Membership Dorota Rospierska Other Committee Posts Becky Simm Janet Turner Emma Griffiths Vacancy Web Manager

Barry White

If you wish to contact the National Committee please email us at

Copyright to the articles published in Solution News is vested in the relevant author(s) whose permission Copyright to the articles published should be sought reproducing in Solution Newsbefore is vested in the their article elsewhere. A copy may relevant author(s) whose be made for should your personal reference. permission be sought If you would like to contact any before reproducing their article author the editor will forward your elsewhere. A copy may be made request.

for your personal reference. If you would like to contact any author Design andwill layout the editor forward your request. © 2009 United Kingdom Association for Solution Focused Practice. All rights reserved. Design and layout

© 2008 United Kingdom Solution News be distributed Association formay Solution Focused freely in its entirety. Practice. All rights reserved. Please tell others about us!

Solution News may be distributed freely in its entirety.

Accreditation Officer Paul Hanton



Solution News ◊ Volume 4 Issue 2 ◊ September 2009

Solution Focused work with very young children Jocelyne Pouliot Before retiring from pre‐ school & primary teaching in 2006, I was looking for some specialized training that would allow me to stay in touch, on an individual basis, with children aged 3 to 7. Jocelyne Pouliot has a diploma in Community and Social Services from Centennial College (Ontario), a B.A. in Linguistics from Glendon College (York.U.), a B.A. in Education and a Master of Arts (U. of Toronto). She taught for 26 years in both French and English languages in Ontario and Québec. She has taught at the kindergarten & primary levels and also to adults in summer language programmes She is pleased to offer this article for Solution News ‐ our thanks to her for sharing with us here in the UK.


I had seen so many needy children, in the school system, not getting any attention due to lack of resources and materials. I wanted to try another route that would allow me to work on their self‐ esteem and make them feel better about themselves. My passion for children was always there but I needed to refocus my energy into some kind of rewarding “hobby”. Now, after years in private practice, let me say that my so called hobby has become a full‐time mission and I love every minute of it. ◊

Our Québec school system usually does its best to deal with most “major problems” related to behavior and learning disabilities. However, this special attention is perceived as rather negative since children are often labeled or are seen as being different which adds to their already low self‐esteem and ever growing guilt. And their parents usually blame themselves for their child’s difficulties or feel very defensive when faced with the school policies. And what about the other children whose needs are too often ignored and would also benefit from some short term counseling? For example, as teachers we have very little training to deal with a very shy or anxious child entering preschool, a depressed child going through his parents’

Solution Focused Approach to working with very young children

separation or divorce, an upset child facing death for the first time at the age of 5, a child coping with the serious illness of a family member, etc.

having it laminated so the child could use it as a place mat at meal times. This would become a regular reminder of his success to family and friends.

How could I make a difference in the life of these” forgotten” children since it could not be done in the classroom setting? My answer came, one night, while navigating on the Web. In Montréal, the Centre de psychothérapie stratégique was offering a two‐day workshop on what seemed to be a very positive approach to solving children’s problems. I like what I read and registered early for a workshop called JE SUIS CAPABLE (KIDS’ SKILLS). I then realized I had ideal solution focused method that could help me work at building any young child’s self esteem while hoping to reduce, at the same time, our ever growing number of high school outs. However, I had to go through a few obstacles before this dream could become a reality.

Second obstacle

First obstacle The children I wanted to work with the most could not read nor write. But I knew they loved getting stickers on a regular basis which I consider great self‐esteem boosters. So, on my way back home, a 7‐hour bus ride, I had plenty of time to think. How can I best adapt this great method for these little children coping with their own problems? Pencil and notebook out of my handbag, I started drawing pictures representing all Kids’ Skills steps and finally designed a brand new tool: a poster that would be printed on both sides and on which children would place mini‐stickers given on a daily basis for a period of two to three months. Then, the adult in charge would have the option of

I had to get the author’s permission to have my poster approved and in French. Since the author and his Institute were in Finland, I had some doubts about outcome due to a possible language barrier. My first language was French and English was second one. The fact that he had an English website told me that I should try to contact him in English. Surprise! A few days later, Ben Furman, expressed his interest in my project and wanted to know more about it. And the rest is history. If you visit the Kids’ Skills website, you will find this new tool available in French and in English for now. And that is thanks to Dr Ben Furman from the Helsinki Brief Therapy Institute who has kindly offered his precious time to finalize this project and help with the instructions.

Now, here is a good example of a very young child who benefited from working with a solution focused method and using the Kids’ Skills place mat. Also, a few more examples are available on my Canadian website



Solution News ◊ Volume 4 Issue 2 ◊ September 2009

An obsessive fear of making mistakes A 4‐year‐old boy named “Antoine” had an obsessive fear of making mistakes and used crying as a defense mechanism when faced with stressful situations at home and at his babysitter. For example: at home, his parents had to prepare him days in advance for any outings that were out of his regular routine; at his babysitter, any new activity introduced to him like trying to draw the weekly letter, attempting to learn an unknown song, answering a question following the story reading period brought a stream of tears to this very intelligent, artistic but sensitive child. For our first meeting, I suggested that Antoine brought over his favorite stuffed toy since I had my own collection in my office. He was all excited to introduce me to Diego (Dora’s friend), a recent birthday present. He fully enjoyed our little talk and could not wait trying to win stickers to put on the treasure chest every time he was able to control his crying. He also learned to take deep breaths and think about his friend Diego who would be there to encourage him and show him how to be brave just like him. Since he had answered my questions so well, I made him choose his first sticker before leaving. What a proud little boy! His family had to learn to make mistakes and not take them too seriously. For example, I suggested to his mother to draw a picture all crooked. Who could do better in this family of four? The older sister had to dress with her clothes inside out and ask who could do better? Dad would speak by mixing up his words to make everybody laugh and suggests that they all try to do this fun game.

6 ◊

And when Mom would drop something on the floor, everybody would learn to say: “Don’t worry Mom! Can I help you?” Avoiding anticipation stress was also worked on at home and at the babysitter. At both places, the adults had to present as often as possible some unexpected situations: e.g. surprise outings, sudden visitors, new games, etc. Also, the babysitter had to learn not to expect, after reading a story, that all children felt at ease answering her questions. She had to adapt to each child’s rhythm. And if a child made a mistake, the adult would make one too in order to make all the children laugh and then say: “ That’s all right! It was just a mistake. Let’s try again.” Within three months, Antoine had learned his new skill. On his last visit, he came running into my office to show me his brand new place mat filled with colorful stickers. His parents and babysitter were all so proud of his progress and his new way of coping with stressful situations. And, last October, Antoine’s mother called my office to thank me again and to express her surprise at her son’s easy adaptation to preschool with all its new activities. As suggested to his parents, they had approached the school to make sure Antoine could be in the same class as some of his babysitter’s friends. The school took this matter very seriously and made sure that two of his best friends were in his class. As a result, I had proud parents who felt so happy to have worked on their child’s self‐esteem with the Kids’ Skills method and place mat before he entered school. What a wise decision! And, Antoine has since become as brave as Diego.

Book Review ­ The Spirit Level

The Spirit Level: why more equal societies almost always do better.

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. Allen Lane, 2009, 331pp, £20.00

Suppose we could abandon most of our charities, therapies, addiction treatment centres, prisons, healthcare, and replace them with a collaborative, contented, healthy and trusting society of communities in which people treated each other as respected equals, everyone contributed to the common good, and the gap between rich and poor was narrow. Unlikely? Of course we're adults here ‐ but – take a look at this book and wonder. The epidemiologist/economist authors studied 33 rich countries, as well as the 50 separate US states, composed an index of health and social care problems. Which countries or States would have the highest levels of problems such as violence, mental illness, addictions, obesity, educational underachievement, teenage births, imprisonment? Not, it seems, the least wealthy, but consistently the least equal, measured in terms of the economic gap between rich and poor. This book reviews the research and finds, time after time, that the more equal a country is, the better their showing in terms of problems, and the healthier all the levels of society are ( the extremely rich, a minute proportion of whole populations, excepted). The 'best' countries – or perhaps we might use Layard's term 'happiest' – were Finland, the Scandinavian countries, Japan, Belgium. The highest problem levels existed in the USA, the UK, Portugal, New Zealand.

The authors add some layers to Layard's 'Happiness'. Layard investigated what government might do to promote individual happiness, including advocating cognitive behavioural therapy for individuals. Wilkinson & Pickett move up a level. They point out that in less equal societies people value status more, and make great efforts to maintain their place in the social order. Wealth, profit and economic growth do not, apparently, contribute much to building supportive communities, physical and mental health, and contentment in general terms. This may be a helpful message in times like these. Why should solution focused thinkers be interested in this book? The authors establish that societies which facilitate justice, equality and community are likely to have fewer health and social problems than those which are individualistic, competitive and status‐hungry. Solution focused practitioners and those they work with are, like everyone else, affected by historical, political and societal influences, and an awareness of the influence of the society we live in can help us to understand the the struggles of our clients and colleagues (and ourselves) better. To know that we exist in the context of a materialistic, unequal society can give us an even greater appreciation of our clients in, say, addiction or homelessness services. Perhaps we might think more carefully about the concept of individual responsibility in a toxic society. Could changing our society be as important as working with individuals? And since I happen to be English, this book has alerted me to my own need for status and the moves I make to maintain it. The anthropologist Kate Fox's 'Watching the English' further



Solution News ◊ Volume 4 Issue 2 ◊ September 2009

illuminates just how carefully we English maintain our class and economic stratifications. Since respectfulness, collaboration and the 'onedown' position are key to solution focused thinking, this comprehension of context may help all of us work in this way to be aware of, even though it may be impossible to entirely avoid, the economic and status behaviour around us. This book is clearly written, comprehensively referenced, and even for those of us who shy away from statistics, easy to understand. Oddly heartening, it reminds us of the invisible influences around us that we normally take for granted, and suggests ways we can move forward. So how can we move on? One criticism of this book is that most of it lays out the problems; there is less about solutions. But some suggestions are made: tax adjustments towards greater fairness, employee owned businesses and other collaborative projects, freeware on the Internet, a refusal to be intimidated by wealth and hierarchy. We might learn more from the more equal countries (notably Japan, Norway, Sweden and Finland). Many of us live in highly unequal, hierarchical, capitalist societies that affect our physical and mental health with all that implies. But we can, it seems, take small, everyday steps to do something about it.

Your suggestions for the future There are so many ways in which this organisation could develop. We have around 250 people on our mailing list, and all of you with an influence as much as any other. It is your voice we need to help shape this organisation ‐ it is not wise to leave any organisation in the hands of a few people With all that is happening in society around us both in terms of society and professionally we cannot afford to stand still I believe. The committee has limited energy and resources ‐ we need more willing volunteers to join us, without which we will have limited options and not so much will get done Please consider helping to shape the organisation and volunteer for the committee! Simply send an email to me at if you have a desire to help out ‐ I look forward to hearing from you Warmly Barry White

Carole Waskett 2009 References: Layard R (2005) Happiness: lessons from a new science. Penguin. Fox K (2005) Watching the English: the hidden rules of English behaviour. Hodder.

8 ◊

Guide to UKASFP Membership ­ Why Join?

Why Join UKASFP? We believe there are some compelling reasons for joining the United Kingdom Association for Solution Focused Practice. Members We are privileged to count among our members leading figures from different solution focused traditions. The organisation is shaped and formed by the ongoing thinking and ideas that members regularly share. It is a very fluid process as we apply our approaches to developments both internally and externally ‐ for example in creating responses to the many different government initiatives. Annual Conference We have now been holding an Annual Conference for the last six years ‐ 2010 to be our seventh. Each of the conferences has allowed us to share face to face in both an educative and fun way ‐ developing and cementing friendships that have often been created in on line exchanges between members. We always welcome new visitors to Conference as well as those who attend regularly

There is a reduction in the conference fee which is normally equivalent or greater to the membership fee for all members. This is just one way in which you can benefit. Sharing Along with discussions via email list members share freely and often in very practical terms, sharing documents, dissertations and other written material for the benefit of others. We are also continually looking to find new ways of using technology to share amongst a membership that is geographically very dispersed.

How to join Click on this link to be taken to our main site. You can sign up to the Association from the main page. The current cost is £25 per annum. That gives you access to

Wider representation

We are also continually looking to influence the wider picture by writing to different bodies and where possible taking part in consultations to ensure that solution focused approaches become even more widely known.

A further site for members, including forums and other means of sharing informally

The missing part of the jigsaw That would be you if you are not yet a member! A wider membership is vital to our growth and we invite you to join us .

www.solution­‐ focused

This is a discussion list for members only and is a great way of keeping in touch with the members as a whole ‐ please post and share your solution focused ideas with us1


Solution News ◊ Volume 4 Issue 2 ◊ September 2009

Relationships for Dummies Paul Hackett I was intrigued when I read Chris Iveson’s article on ‘the death of relationships.’ I hoped it would provide me with the razor to cut away all I did not need.

Paul Hackett is a Social Worker and long time user of solution focused approaches He writes in answer to an article written by Chris Iveson from BRIEF in London.

The trouble was that for me at least it beautifully highlighted the difficulties in the The beauty of solution focused reification of ‘the thinking for me is that if one relationship,’ but that is is, to use Chris’ words‐ distinct from courteous, friendly, the value of a e shows a genuine y do w h w o relationship in S he interest in answers, i de r t s n o c which a ip tionsh pist engages the client in a l e r conversation will ra n the e so a conversation‐ e e w t have the be ob more often than l i e n t t t? c d n a n potential to be a t not a relationship i m po r useful. I found will develop which that Chris’ article will be useful for shined a light on the the client in ‘discover[ing] a requirement of a possible way forward.’ relationship rather than That is the questions in a burying it. solution focused tool box If as Chris suggests he can see the importance of a relationship ‘if the therapist is asking the client to entrust difficult information to them, such as problems’ it seems to me that given the value we place on clients’ competences, resources and future hopes the importance of a relationship is multiplied. I do not want to


entrust my hopes, dreams, and hidden abilities to someone I feel is bored, ambivalent, untrustworthy and/or lacks social grace. These things speak to the core of my being and really I don’t want share them with an ignoramus. ◊

asked from the statements above are relationship building.

s an experiment just ask the questions of a colleague in the most disinterested, rude fashion you can, early on break conversational rules by talking over someone and de listen to the extent that you

Relationships for Dummies

constantly get their words wrong. The further beauty is that the can act as a rapid relationship builder‐ so much so that we can view it as a given. It is a small step from viewing it as a given to viewing it as unnecessary. So I think a relationship is a necessity, something which Chris acknowledges at the end of his article, the question, and it is a good one, is what status do we accord it? Given Chris’ courage in trying to highlight the confusion that putting the relationship on a pedestal causes I wanted to challenge myself to demystify something. If I was to try and demystify something‐ and I think someone of Chris’ stature could really help me here though I am not sure it is something he would agree with me on‐it would be the viewing of Steve de Shazer’s work as the gold standard. The difficulty is that it becomes unavailable to (public) critique. Often times critique of Steve’s practice was disguised in statements like “that was just Steve’s way” or attending to fuzzy, confused practice through the veil of greatness. I am not sure that Steve de Shazer would thank us or be comfortable with the deification of his practice. Indeed I am reminded of the story of Milton Erickson, visibly ailing and failing asleep. Practitioners would take this as a message from the great man rather than tiredness after a life spent fighting a debilitating medical condition (Cecchin, Lane & Ray, 1992).

brilliant and I would hope that they would be the first to acknowledge this. If we could generate a proper, honest debate about the fit of their legacy into the systems most practitioners find themselves working in, that does not obfuscate the debate by tautological appeals to their work, I think we will be in a healthier position to challenge the reification of ideas like “the therapeutic relationship.” The test of a historian’s life is whether he or she can ask and answer questions, especially ‘what if’ questions about the matters of passionate significance to themselves and the world, as though they were journalists reporting things long past‐ and yet not as a stranger but as one deeply involved. (Hobsbawm, 2002 p417). For historian read practitioner. References Cecchin, G., Lane, G. & Ray, W.A (1992) Irreverence: A Strategy For Therapist Survival, Karnac, London. Hobsbawm, E. (2002) Interesting Times: A twentieth‐Century Life, Allen Lane, London.

I am not doubting the brilliance of Steve de Shazer or Insoo Kim Berg (they through Guy Shennan altered my life) rather I am suggesting that not everything they did was www.solution­


Solution News ◊ Volume 4 Issue 2 ◊ September 2009

UKASFP 7th Annual Conference "Title to be announced" Thursday June 10th PM 2010

Annual General Meeting and Musical Extravaganza

Friday June 11th 2010 all day ‐ Conference Keele University Staffordshire Prices to be announced A date for your diary ‐ after the success of Conference 2009 we would like to invite you to book ahead for next year's conference. Don't miss the event of the year!

12 ◊

Pictures from Conference 2009



Solution News ◊ Volume 4 Issue 2 ◊ September 2009

Pedagogy, Power and Prevention Dr Geoffrey James The ‘Every Child Matters’ agenda emphasises the future‐focused model of the preventative work of Children’s Services, where the purpose of Services is written in terms of the improved outcomes for children and young people. As a theoretician and practitioner in a regional Children’s Service, I carry the shared hope that we can create coherence in planning to match the outcome focused purpose of the Service to the actual support we provide for children and young people, who experience barriers to participation, learning and achievement in school and in the wider community. In the East of England a broad range of services has grown up over the last decades, in separate agencies, each with their own distinctive nature. Within each agency there is a culture that tends to focus on skills, taking theoretical issues for granted or actively marginalising them. In order for agencies to work together coherently whilst maintaining

14 ◊

the focus on outcomes there is a need to unpick and reinstate some of these theoretical issues. A coherent approach stands on firm foundations. Underlying each sort of practical work to support children is a set of values and principles from which the work springs. Coherence can be created through establishing Children’s Services’ values and principles, the values and principles that underlie each specific program of work and in a general sense Coherence throughout the complex structure that is a regional Children’s Service requires a robust, simple, outcome focused organising framework. Where do we talk about pedagogy? In the UK pedagogy is a term that some people in University Departments of Education may have heard of. In Government, it’s newly arrived in the lexicon of Departmental missives. In teacher training

Pedagogy, Power and Prevention

courses it’s barely spoken of. In the UK we are beginning the dialogue on pedagogy and are at the stage of considering the existence of pedagogy at all, of multiple pedagogies and their natures (Watts, Bridges and Eames 2008). Meanwhile in Norway student teachers spend two years studying pedagogy before they move onto to other aspects of the professional practice of a teacher (Noralf Mork pers. comm.). In Germany, pedagogy is read as social pedagogy. In Europe in general, the discourse has matured; ‘In England we do not often use the term ‘pedagogy’ except in the context of the classroom and formal education. Our European neighbours often apply it to a much broader set of services … the word ‘pedagogy’ relates to the overall support for children’s development. In pedagogy care and education meet.’ (Petrie et al 2005) In the mature European discourse, in Nordic and Germanic countries, a specific ‘pedagogy’ has been agreed as ‘a foundation concept that informs many sorts of services, providing a distinctive approach to practice, training and policy … (that implies) work with the whole child; body, mind, feelings, creativity. Crucially the child is seen as a social being, connected to others and at the same time with their own distinctive experiences and knowledge.’ (Petrie et al 2005) ‘In Sweden the employment of pedagogues in schools has been central to recent educational reforms. Policy addresses the whole child, rather than the child conceived

in narrow educational terms. Around one third of school heads have a background in pedagogy, rather than teaching.’ (Cohen et al in press) In the UK at present there are a number of pedagogies in action, more‐or‐less explained. There is a well‐developed discourse on the ‘capture by practice’ of the field of learning, development and change that can be seen in both Government policy and in Norfolk Children’s Services programmes and strategic plans. In Norfolk we are at the starting point of appreciating pedagogy as connector of theory and practice that can contribute to making the Norfolk framework for coherence, which can be strengthened by beginning the critique of the theoretical assumptions made about pedagogy. Petrie et al (2005 p. 5) support this view; ‘Pedagogy as an overarching concept … could bring greater coherence to Children’s Services.’ What we call in Norfolk terms child‐centred solution focused pedagogy, described as ‘pedagogy’ in Petrie et al (2005) ensures that ‘whilst child protection issues are treated with all due seriousness, they remain child‐ centred rather than procedure focused. Procedures are a necessary part of the process; they are not its basis.’ The solution focused model of change takes the social constructivist view of learning.



Solution News ◊ Volume 4 Issue 2 ◊ September 2009

This conceptualises learning as a person‐ centred process of change (Rogers 1983) in place of the dominant cause‐effect/teach‐ test competency model. Rogers (1983) quoted Aspey’s (1975) research finding that teacher empathy was the best predictor of children’s achievement in school. at the UK’s current stage of development this is school‐centred pedagogy and is not the same as the North European social pedagogy of Petrie et al (2005), which extends ‘pedagogy’ into all aspects of change in a child’s life. In taking small steps in the UK context, my best hope for the first small changes towards a full social pedagogy in due course is to raise awareness that pedagogy in general is something we can discuss. Out of the discussion we can begin to make informed choices. Power and the idea of the expert student Knowledge of the possible paradigmatic conflict between solution focused pedagogy and expert‐professional pedagogy is important in thinking through the meaning of the inclusion of individual students and its consequences. Understanding the theory underlying pedagogy could enable the choice of the problem‐focused deficit model or the solution‐finding strengths model, according to the contextualised needs of the child. Avramidis, Baylis and Burden (2000) found that both teachers with university based professional development and those who had been implementing inclusive programmes held more positive attitudes to the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream school.

16 ◊

Wehby, Lane and Falk (2003) discussed the position of children categorised as having emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD) in schools, where progressively more rigorous academic standards leave these children poorly prepared to succeed. Trout, Nordness, Pierce and Epstein (2003) reviewed the literature from 1961 to 2000 on the academic inclusion of children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties. In assuming that effective academic instruction cannot take place unless a student’s behaviour is under control, more attention has been paid by educators and researchers to techniques aimed at addressing behavioural deficits (Pierce, Reid and Epstein 2004; Trout et al 2003) than to a pedagogy which might facilitate such student’s social and emotional learning . Wehby (2003) found that teachers of children with EBD spent only 30% of their time on academic instruction. Wehby, Lane and Falk (2003) suggested that in the light of empirical evidence of the link between low academic achievement and problematic behaviour, ‘the need for behavioural supports should not overshadow the impact of effective academic instruction in addressing disruptive behaviours in the school setting.’ (Wehby, Lane and Falk 2003 p.195) Wehby, Lane and Falk (2003) provided extensive references to evidence that disruptive students influence teacher behaviour and suggested that ‘EBD’ students may be directing the level and amount of academic instruction in the classroom. Reducing the disruption caused may enable teachers to regain direction in class and increase the quality of academic instruction. The work I have been doing to support

Pedagogy, Power and Prevention

children with ‘emotional and behavioural difficulties’ out of class may support their level of overall achievement in class. In the classroom the teacher taking the solution focused approach there might be effective in supporting previously disruptive students too. This would require the teacher to change their approach to difficult‐to‐ manage students by focusing on their strengths.

on behaviour using disciplinary systems, what is being sought is the submission [Galbraith 1984] of children to school power. This is true even where submission is not recognised, for example in the encouragement of parents to ensure their children attend school because of the positive outcomes of a good education, reinforced by on‐the‐spot fines should parent’s not enforce attendance.

The possibility for change is supported by a recent shift that has taken place in the health services with the introduction of the Expert Patient Programme (EPP) in the UK (Department of Health 2001). This was introduced into the National Health Service in April 2002 (Agnew 2004) to respond to the particular needs and demands of people with chronic health problems. This shift in perspective seems particularly relevant with the introduction of combined Children’s Services in my Local Authority area in line with the current ‘Every Child Matters’ (DfES 2004) agenda. A key aspect of the Expert Patient Programme is the shift in power that this thinking entails, where the professional is not the only expert in the room. It parallels the power shift necessary for solution focused thinking to provide an alternative to the dominant positivist mode. In education this change could mean seeing ‘the disruptive student’ as ‘the Expert Student’.

In Foucaultian critique of a move to Expert Patient/Student, [Foucault 1976] employing the concept of ‘panopticism’, (constant surveillance by the State), people would keep themselves under surveillance, judging themselves by standards set by experts, rather then by their own standards. The attempt in Health services to establish an ethos of concordance, as opposed to compliance and adherence, is an effort to redress the power asymmetry in the relationship between patient and health care professional. However, an outcome might be what Foucault termed ‘pastoral power’, where ‘the most intimate areas of a patient’s life including their home are now open to surveillance’ where ‘there has been a move from the objectification of patients to their subjectification.’ [Wilson 2001 p.139].

Leaving aside a detailed discussion of terms, for example the meanings of ‘expert’ and ‘patient’, [see Wilson 2001] traditional assumptions about the power invested in the professional are reversed when thinking about the Expert Patient as they are in the solution focused conceptualisation of the Expert Student. With the conventional focus

I introduce this idea as a necessary caution to the possibility of a move to the Expert Student in their Expert Family but feel it is dealt with by solution focused brief therapy, where the text of the student, located within their family, is the important one and only they have control over the telling of the particular story they wish to reveal.



Solution News ◊ Volume 4 Issue 2 ◊ September 2009

Commentary In this paper I have developed my argument that pedagogy is a useful organising concept in looking at the power aspects of my solution focused pedagogy. In the process of this work I was struck by the learning and change that children and young people achieved. All the referrals to me came out of 'stuck' situations. My professional colleagues in and out of school had tried everything they knew as powerful experts to make children behave better and had failed, as evidenced by the continuing and continuous referrals for children and young people near to exclusion form school. Professionals had made the assumption about young people that they were motivated to misbehave and get excluded from school. However when I asked the solution focused 'best hope' question, not one child or young person said they hoped that they would be excluded from school. Their hopes were uncontroversial and conventional; they wanted to make the best of themselves, to be liked, to be happy and to achieve well in school. This seems to provide evidence of the alignment of the best hopes of Expert Students with best hopes of the education system giving the possibility of the combined power of the two rather than the apparently oppositional relationship that is commonly represented. In the UK today, pedagogy is being seen as a new idea, almost as if it’s clear of any history. For example in the General Teaching Council magazine sent out to teachers, (Issue 17, Spring 2009) Lesley Saunders, a senior policy adviser for the GTC stated:

18 ◊

‘Since the Education Reform Act 1998 the idea has been that teachers deliver something that’s created elsewhere. Now there’s an opportunity to change that, but teachers need to see themselves as ‘creators of a body of professional knowledge’ who engage in a serious discourse about teaching and learning.’ This is a great opportunity to return professionalism to teachers. The solution focused approach to pedagogy offers a means to develop and engage with the discourse, in respecting Carl Rogers’ idea of self‐actualisation, to promote children as active agents in constructing their own successful lives. References Aspey D (1975) Empathy: let’s get the Hell on with it The Counselling Psychologist 5: 10‐14 Cohen B, Moss, Petrie P (forthcoming) A new deal for children – Re‐forming children’s Services? Policy Press; Bristol Petrie P, Boddy J, Cameron C, Heptinstall E, McQuail S, Simon A, Wigfall V (2005) Pedagogy – a holistic personal approach to work with children and young people across services; European models for practice, training, education and qualification Briefing Paper June 2005, Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education: London Rogers C (1983) Freedom to learn – for the 80s Merrill:Columbus, Ohio Watts M, Bridges D, Eames J (2008) Widening participation and encounters with the pedagogies of higher education Von Hugel Institute, St Edmunds College, Cambridge

UKASFP and Accreditation

UKASFP & Accreditation Paul Hanton

Accreditation has been on the lips of members for a number of years now ‐ either for or against but a subject that has not gone away, with a final decision to move forward on this topic taken not long ago. No doubt then many of you will be wondering where the accreditation process is at the moment. We have finished a first pilot, where a couple of people put in applications and I, along with some other committee and non committee members 'assessed' these. The pilot was then extended to another 12 people so that we might iron out any glitches before reviewing and adapting the forms and the process in order to go live.

approval and/or amendment with a view to 'going live' ‐ something I am happy to go on being involved in. How can you help? In order to go live we need; a pool of assessors , we need an appeals procedure which Barry has volunteered to write ‐ and we need to agree a pricing structure. The 'live' bit depends on your help ‐ but we are still hopeful that this will be achieved by the end of the year. Watch this space....we are not far off!!

Unfortunately of those 12 that volunteered most have not yet submitted applications to the pilot, something that needs chasing up on our part. As in all things in life this does not always appear to be a priority for some ‐ which may mean that those of us doing the hard work behind the scenes might at times get a little weary! However what makes up for that are the applications that are beginning to come through from a range of people ‐ something we will be advertising both internally and externally. Our website is now ready to show those who are accredited as part of the information available to the public. We will in early October be reviewing all the forms and process and submit amended documents to the committee for their



Association and Member News

UKASFP Conference ‐ Help Needed

Base in Gloucester Only 5 minutes spare? – Jenny Clarke,

We are holding Conference 2010 once more at Keele University. The dates for your diary are June 10/11th 2010 and we will need some help in getting ready for the conference Any offers of help please send an email to editor@solution‐ Gloucestershire Solutions Group There has been a lot of activity in Solution Focused circles in Gloucestershire – interest and numbers are rising and we have had a range of inspiring hosted conversations covering a broad range of SF topics and applications. Over the past year these have been the speakers/ topics at our monthly meetings: Using Solution‐Focused Approaches with Children in Schools – Teresa McIlroy, Ed.Psych Service Solution‐Focused Approaches with Excluded Pupils – Staff from Behaviour Improvement


Enhancing our skills in coaching and communication: Lessons from the world of jazz and improvisation: Hosted conversation and live jazz! – Alex Steele and the Improwise Quartet, NLP tools you can use in your SF work or whenever you relate with people –Uta Langley Feedback from Scott Miller ( training – Mike Porter, Wiltshire PMHT UKASFP Conference Reflections and Reports – Mark McKergow, Danny Nugus SF Leadership: Leader as Host – Mark McKergow, Application of SF Practice in Speech and Language Therapy – Sheila Croney, Glos PMHT We have also had peer supervision using SF Reflective Team model. Some members of Gloucestershire Solutions ◊

attended (and presented workshops at) UKASFP National Conference and have had papers published on various aspects of SF approaches. Please contact Danny Nugus at Winstons Wish if you need any further information ‐ DNugus@winstonswish.

Want your news here? Please do let us know in plenty of time ‐ this edition has had a great response . Future editions may well have dedicated space for training details ‐ please do let us know what you think.

UKASFP Conference 2009

UKASFP Conference 2009 What can we say?? It seems from the feedback that many found this conference one of the better ones we have managed to put on so far ‐ so why was that? I think there were a number of reasons that things worked so well for me this year ‐ some of which I highlight below. Please feel free to write to the editor with any agreements or disagreements you might have wihat is very much a personal view World Cafe Approach One of the main focii this year was the decision to adopt a world cafe style approach to the conference. This worked really well and enabled people to talk to far more than most conferences where if you are lucky you get to talk to people alongside you. On this occasion we got to talk to lots of different people ‐ and the quality of comments recorded on the tablecloths would suggest that it worked incredibly well!

Presentations It was also wonderful to have a variety of presentations ‐ all showing how solution focused approaches can be used across a wide variety of settings to help people get a better deal out of life. It seems that the only restriction is the limits of our imagination in how SF can be applied to all situations we work with. The presentations were also excellent in terms of content and our thanks to those concerned. Finally My thanks to the Conference Committee ‐ Carl, Kidge, Clare ‐ all of whom worked hard to ensure the conference went well. Please do look at if you can bear to see what you missed on this occasion. We have booked the same venue for next year and we are hoping to surpass even this year! Thanks to all who attended ‐ look forward to seeing you there next year ! Barry White

Technology It was fantastic to have such a technological wizardry that took the conference out of the ordinary in another way ‐ sharing with people across the world as it happened in both photo and in word. It was hard work for those involved but such excellent results! You can see some of those things at .



Solution News ◊ Volume 4 Issue 2 ◊ September 2009

SFCT ‐ new professional body for solution‐focused coaches, consultants and managers

We in UKASFP are a talented bunch ‐ always looking to see how to expand what services we can offer in our respective corners of the SF World. Please see below for new of developments from Mark McKergow and colleagues SFCT – the Association for the Quality Development of Solution Focused Consulting and Training – was launched in May 2009 and offers international professional recognition and standards to anyone using the Solution Focused in business and organisational settings. SFCT also publishes the InterAction journal, and offers national chapters throughout the world including the UK, Germany and Japan. Full details are on the organisation’s website The non‐profit organisation has been founded by a dozen leading SF practitioners, authors and developers in the organisational field. Over the past ten years it has become an increasingly widely used approach in the worlds of coaching, team development and OD. Full membership of SFCT is gained by an international review of one of the applicant’s pieces of work. “It’s a little like a driving test”, said co‐founder Dr Mark McKergow of the Centre for SF at Work. “The point is not where you trained, or for how long – it’s whether you can use the approach sensibly in your own situation.” The new standard will also help clients

22 ◊

wishing to ensure quality and professionalism. SFCT’s code of ethics, signed by all members, includes keeping SF practice in the public domain and protecting against any claims of ‘ownership’ of the field. Mark is very clear that SFCT is a complementary organisation to UKASFP rather than a competitor. “UKASFP gathers UK practitioners from all fields, while SFCT offers an international focus for those in the management sphere. We intend that the successful SOLWorld conferences will also continue as an open‐access gateway for everyone interested in the SF approach.” Membership costs € 50 per year for those signing up in 2009, including two issues of InterAction. Key sample articles from the first issue are available free on the website. For more details go to the website at SFCT is registered in Germany as a non‐profit association. The association’s formal address is SFCT, Stefanstrasse 36, 86573 Obergriesbach, Germany. Founder members include: Kirsten Dierolf, Peter Röhrig, Horst Reisch, Ingrid Reisch ‐ Germany Mark McKergow, UK Alan Kay, Canada Jenny Clarke, UK Shaun Lincoln, UK Björn Johansson, Sweden Danius Baltrusaitis, Lithuania Louis Cauffman, Belgium Yasuteru Aoki, Japan Günter Lueger, Austria For more details in the UK, contact Mark McKergow ( or Jenny Clarke ( at the Centre for Solutions Focus at Work, 26 Chrischurch Road, Cheltenham GL50 2PL, 01242 511441.

Distribution News


For those of you interested in statistics we have the latest results for you As at 30.9.09 for the last six months: The was The The

total number of copies of Solution News March 2009 issue downloaded from the web‐site 778. total number of first time visitors to the Solution News web‐site was 2000 total number of countries Solution News had been downloaded from is 69.

Countries Where Solution News has been Read this year, In Red! If you look at the map it seems fair to say that we are read in the four corners of the globe! (World map created by World66 (visit


• Download past issues of Solution News and podcasts at www.solution‐ • UKASFP web‐site is at and at • UKASFP mailing list is at‐focused • European Brief Therapy Association web site is at • The SFT‐L international discussion list is at‐L&H=LISTSERV.ICORS.ORG • SOLUTIONS‐L is an international discussion list for those using a solution focused approach with organisations. It’s at: • The Brief Family Therapy Center (Milwaukee, US) website is at www.brief‐



Solution News September 2009  

Newsletter of United Kingdom Association for Solution Focused Practice

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you