Wide open spaces: Working creatively and staying connected
14 - 16 September 2017, Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Dunblane Hydro
Together with Scotland AFT
Details for all workshops are available below. Workshops can be booked during initial registration or can be added to an existing registration. To add workshops or make a new booking, please visit the registration page.
Please note: workshop timings and details are provisional and subject to change at the organisers discretion.
Click the workshop or to see presenter details and a full abstract.
Thursday 14 September - Workshop Session 1 (early afternoon)
Presenters: Alan Carr and Reenee Singh
Abstract: “Most dichotomies tend to be somewhat artificial, and the researcher/ clinician dichotomy is no exception” Eisler (JFT 2003, 25: 436-442).
We live and work in a culture where we are encouraged to consider ideas around evidence based practice, the intersect between research findings and clinical practice. Yet in the process of considering research findings we are urged to be critical of methods, evaluation, and findings. It is no wonder we might have an insecure ambivalent relationship with research. For some ‘research’ simply bores, for others it is an exciting opportunity to learn. Most of us will remember our own experience of doing research for the purposes of our Systemic Family Psychotherapy training. Many more will have done research in other contexts. More and more Systemic Family Psychotherapists are producing theses as part of their doctorate studies.
This exciting and engaging Research Symposium, facilitated by Dr Renee Singh and Prof Alan Carr, will be an opportunity to connect with colleagues who have written theses as part of their doctorate studies.
Nigel Jacobs will present his ideas and findings around therapeutic positioning dilemmas encountered in the high risk field of anorexia when working from a social constructionist and feminist perspective.
Sarah Helps presents her doctoral study examining initial discussions with families about autism. She proposes that as a practice-based researcher there are challenges in how to present findings that make most sense to ourselves and seek to influence the readers of the research.
Gary Robinson presents his findings in exploring trans-generational perceptions of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). He highlights the known risk between children with neuro-developmental difficulties being targeted in relation to extremism and radicalisation and considers the implications specifically for service providers, mentors and community groups.
Claire Dempster will present her thesis on “Whiteness in Clinical Practice” where she will draw on current ideas to suggest why attending to whiteness is important to good therapeutic practice, supervision, and training.
Not only will we learn from their fascinating research studies individually, we will hear about the experience of the presenter’s journey of doing research. Alan and Renee will draw from their own experiences and generate a lively and engaging discussion with delegates around the many issues that doing research in the field of Systemic Family Psychotherapy throws up.
Expanding Your Toolbox (fully booked)
Presenters: Karen Holford, Family Therapist
Abstract: This workshop offers three techniques to help families explore their relationships, challenges and emotions in simple, fun and creative ways. They are all easy-to-use tools that have been used with a wide range of families and in a variety of contexts. They can also be used by trainees as well as experienced therapists, and they can also be used in multi-family therapy contexts. Each technique has the potential to open new conversations within families, and enrich their relationships in different ways. The workshop will use case-studies, interaction, and hands-on practice, and each attendee will be given a set of simple, photocopiable worksheets to help them present the techniques to families and individuals.
Thursday 14 September - Workshop Session 2 (late afternoon)
Working Collaboratively in the Scottish Context - challenges, opportunities and innovation
Abstract: This workshop shares the recent development of systemic practice in the Scottish context. Since devolution, Scotland has had divergent health and social care policy and service delivery models from the rest of the UK. This is founded on shared public service principles and a focus on collaborative and integrated, rather then competitive, systems. The Scottish Government’s purpose is directed by National Outcomes, for example; ‘We have improved the life chances for children, young people and families at risk’. These are achieved through overarching flagship policies such as GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child) that sets a collaborative context where children and families are at the centre of services’ focus. This, and the associated wellbeing indicators, are implemented through the National Parenting and related strategies. At FTTN, we understand that political engagement and collaboration is key in maximising our impact. Therefore, we act to influence through relationship building and lobbying, while simultaneously adapting to the policy and funding context. Putting our systemic principles into practice means we collaborate widely and have received continuous funding from Children and Families, Justice and Health Divisions of government, to work in partnership with third and public sector organisations, delivering training to improve services to families. By constantly looking for opportunities and innovating we have adapted to Scotland’s wide geography, training social workers in Orkney, relationships counsellors nationwide and a family therapy in schools project in East Lothian. Founded in 2012 as a cooperative, we are a membership organisation with a board of directors drawn from our family therapy members, trainees, partner organisations and specialist independent directors. We invite participants to consider how our approach fits with your own and the extent to which our learning can be adapted to support your practices. We also welcome challenge to keep open to other approaches.
Using Social Networks For Good Not Evil (fully booked)
Presenters: Lisa Thomson, Family Therapist & Berkshire PPePCare training lead
Abstract: Many of us are drawn to social networks to communicate, connect with others and share information. The popularity of social networking suggests that connecting in this way meets important needs for us in engaging with others. The potential for social networking to be used in a harmful and/or destructive way has been widely reported on in the media and creating a negative perception of social networking sites. An informed way of approaching social networking is to understand it as a "new" tool that, in the hands of human beings, can be used to do good or bad. The extremely high numbers of people who use social networking on a regular basis would seem to show that it is a communication tool that will not be disappearing any time soon so the task is to understand the risks and explore how to accommodate the "new" and play to it's strengths. There has been extensive exploration about the risks associated with this - particularly for our more vulnerable members of society. This workshop aims to describe and explore how an established secure online support network (SHaRON - Shared Hope and Recovery Online Network) can be positively used in clinical and organisational settings to offer peer to peer support, support from those with experience who have successfully managed similar difficulties and provides access to therapists knowledge and expertise. The use of online support tackles the challenging issues of engaging the hard to reach in isolated or marginalised communities. Evidence for effectiveness will be presented including feedback from members of the SHaRON community. Participants will be invited to consider how systemic approaches can be utilised to support families and organisations across a range of services and needs using this highly secure platform.
Friday 15 September - Workshop Session 1 (morning)
Feedback orientation in dialogical family therapy
Presenters: Prof Peter Rober
Abstract: Psychotherapy research again and again highlights the importance of the therapeutic alliance to account for a significant part of the effectiveness of therapy. As family therapists we have to acknowledge the complexity of such an alliance in multi-actor settings like a family therapy session, especially if one considers a family therapy session as a dialogue in the first place.
The systematic use of client feedback can be a rich resource for family therapists as a response to the complexity of the therapeutic alliance in the family therapy setting. While a feedback-orientation can give evidence of the effectiveness of therapy, in this workshop the focus will be on the ways in which the family members’ systematic feedback can contribute to an optimization of the therapeutic alliance.
I will present a dialogical model for the use of systematic client feedback and I will introduce some instruments that have proven helpful in family therapy practice.
Communication Without Words
Presenters: Bhwana Bharakda, Systemic Family Psychotherapist
Abstract: I am working as a Family Therapist in a Child Protection Localities Team in Central London. My role entails that I work with “hard to reach families”. I have always been interested in non-verbal communication and I have developed a way of working in which verbal language is not the primary source of communication about the individuals/families /professionals/systems experiences of relationships.
Not everyone can for various reasons articulate their social words.
I think sometimes talking therapies can marginalize those who “don’t talk the same as us”; i.e. those with speech impediments, learning disabilities, children in families, those who don’t speak the dominate native language, and those who don’t have "emotional language" available to them, etc.
I use maps, postcards and objects to “show” what is being communicated or what meaning has been given to episodes and relationships by the families I am working with rather than thinking I "know".
For example; when working with an Iranian family recently I used, maps and postcards so that the family could communicate, share and connect to their “worry” about food, living accommodation, culture, isolation and the future. We learnt that the family’s highest context was different to that of the local authorities and why that would be, offering us a bridge on which to create a meaningful change for the family.
In this case the family found the pictures helpful because they we not confident in their use of English and although a translator was available, using non-verbal mediums, helped the process of relationship building.
I also use non-verbal mediums in my consultations with social workers, and I will show how we can use pictures and objects to “show” how professionals position families they work with and how to explore their implicit relationships to their clients.
In the workshop, I will introduce the ideas, show a video of the use of non-verbal techniques, and invite the group in pairs to try out some of the action methods/materials
"Up and About" - Theatre Games For Systemic Trainers
- Matthew Selman, Principal Clinical Psychology and Family Therapist
- Jane Bourne, Drama Therapist
Abstract: In this workshop we explore theatre exercises from drama therapy and improvisational theatre to engage with systemic practice. In what will be entirely experiential - don’t come if you want to sit down! - we will spend our time engaging in, and reflecting on, the experience. Matt and Jane are both experienced workshop facilitators who will guide you in a safe and playful way to engage with systemic and relational ideas through movement and drama. As this is a workshop we will invite exploration and co-construction with participants around how these practices connect.
Emotional Abuse and Emotional Neglect: A Framework For Practice. A Framework For Practice
Presenters: Kirsten Davie, Lead Systemic Psychotherapist (GG&C)
Abstract: Practice focussed workshop aimed at all professional backgrounds and all levels of systemic training. This will be predominantly in the form of a power point presentation punctuated by discussions with colleagues. Our service aim is to help connect agencies in this challenging area of Child Protection by introducing the use of a common language and framework. Our hope is to raise clinician confidence in this complex work, and to give staff additional tools to work creatively with families in naming concerns and working 'towards protection' . Workshop will include - - Brief overview of a collaboration between Specialist Children's Services in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the West of Scotland Child Protection MCN - challenges of rolling out the framework across multi disciplinary/multi agency groups, and the common challenges and anxieties that staff report when working with families who present with these difficulties. - Presentation of the FRAMEA framework for identifying, assessing and intervening with families where there are concerns about emotional abuse and/or emotional neglect (adapted from Glaser 2011). - This framework focuses on developing a language of 'no intent to harm', which aims to be compassionate to parents own early experiences, whilst at the same time is clear about parent-child interactions that have often inadvertently become harmful and the need for change - We will consider the role of systemic thinking and practice in both assessment and intervention.
Fourfold Vision In Practice: Data, Theory, Intuition And The Art Of Therapy
Presenters: Hugh Palmer, Systemic Psychotherapist
Abstract: This workshop offers a practical introduction to a collaborative therapeutic approach (Palmer 2014, 2016) that is drawn from and influenced by Gregory Bateson’s ideas. The development of my approach stemmed from Charlton (2008), who suggested that Bateson considered psychology to be evolving in two directions, ‘humanist’ and ‘circularist’ and that Bateson saw the way forward as being a compromise; a working together of both types of practice; between intuition, and examination and description, each informing the other. This seemed to me a useful way of thinking about integrating different elements of practice, and Charlton went on to suggest “Humanist, scientist, artist and theoretician are all needed to form the cybernetic unity of healing” (p. 94) The concept of ‘fourfold vision’ stems from William Blake, the artist, poet and mystic who was a considerable influence upon Bateson, and the four types of ‘vision’ offer a helpful way of thinking about the interplay between the aspects of the cybernetic unity of healing - humanist, scientist, artist and theoretician. Blake has offered us a way of thinking that is more consistent with Bateson’s cybernetic epistemology; connecting scientific rigour, systemic (and other) theories and our own intuitions within a graceful, aesthetic process. Each of these elements has value, but the interplay between them, expressed as fourfold vision, enables us to move from separate domains towards a more unified way of being in the world. References Charlton, Noel. (2008). Understanding Gregory Bateson: Mind, Beauty and the Sacred Earth. New York: SUNY Press. Palmer, Hugh. (2014). Steps towards fourfold vision: From the myth of power to a cybernetic unity of healing. Context, Warrington: AFT. Palmer, Hugh. (2016). Fourfold Vision and cybernetic unity: Therapist as scientist, theorist, humanist and artist. In Systemic Therapy as Transformative Practice. Edited by Gail Simon & Imelda McCarthy. Everything is Connected Press.
Creativity and Play in Family Therapy
Presenters: Sondra Beres, Registered Family and Systemic Psychotherapist
Abstract: Participants will learn how to use play to engage children in family therapy, assist families in redefining problems, observe family dynamics, and improve verbal and non-verbal communication. Specifically, participants will learn, observe, and discuss three play in family therapy activities: the family puppet show, the family aquarium, and the family sandtray. The presenter will describe how to introduce each activity, common themes that may be experienced in this context, and examples of therapist responses. Participants will learn how to help parents develop new ways of communicating with their children and how to give children opportunities to express themselves through play. Play often correlates with an increase in children’s verbal skills and openness of communication within the family. Play therapy within a family therapy context integrates the importance of the child into the family structure and can help adults to understand and support their relationships with children.
Friday 15 September - Workshop Session 2 (afternoon)
Kids’Skills - a playful and creative solution-focused and systemic approach to helping children overcome problems
with the support of their family and friends
Presenters: Dr Ben Furman
Abstract: Kids’Skills is a solution-focused method to help children overcome behavioural problems and other mental health difficulties. The method was developed in Finland, originally to help kindergarten teachers’ deal effectively with the various problems of special needs children. It was soon found out, however, that this simple step-by-step method, that builds on collaboration with children and their social network, works also well with older children and even adults. Kids’Skills is fun, it simulates children’s own creativity and epitomises the old adage "it takes a village to raise a child". To find out more about Kids’Skills, watch a 20 min long presentation about the method on Youtube:
In this workshop you will get the nut and bolts of the Kids’Skills method and have an opportunity to ask any questions about using the solution-focused approach with children and teens.
Written On The Body - Reflections On Work With Childhood Obesity
Presenters: Clare Dempster, Family & Systemic Psychotherapist
Abstract: In this workshop Claire will be reflecting on the history of obesity and the ideas leading to her development of a family therapy focused multi- disciplinary and multi-agency service for children with obesity in south London (Healthy Weight Projects). Drawing on her experience and that of colleagues, Claire will consider how childhood obesity may be better understood as a phenomenon that is ‘written on the body’ of those who experience it e.g. in terms of historical processes such as migration and discrimination as well as for some, contemporary events such as domestic violence and parental mental health issues. She will be discussing how wider discourses inform and construct ideas about the body e.g. ideas about the ‘perfect body’ as well as historical ideas of ownership and fragmentation of the body (bodily parts). Claire will be arguing for how unless attended to, present forms of services unwittingly perpetuate these issues e.g. reinforcing individual experiences of blame, shame and distress. Using case examples, data and feedback from families to illustrate the above, Claire and her colleagues will demonstrate how taking the approach offered by the Healthy Weight Project, brings about different results i.e. an improvement in both the mental health and the physical well-being of the children involved, offering a different communication about and through the body. Throughout, Claire and her colleagues will be demonstrating how systemic thinking and practice is required at all levels; understanding historical processes including that of services, holding in mind both family and agency experience, our own histories of eating and feeding as well as those of the families we serve.
Creating Systemic Learning Communities Across Boundaries
- Chandra O’Conner, Family & Systemic Psychotherapist / Course Tutor
- Mike O'Connor, Family and Systemic Family Psychotherapist - Course Tutor
- Wendy Smith, Family and Systemic Psychotherapist /Course Tutor
- Ann Sykes, Family and Systemic Family Psychotherapist Training collaborative member
Abstract: This workshop will explore how creating and delivering Family and Systemic psychotherapy training has helped build bridges across professional disciplines, organisational and geographical boundaries. We will share how since 2002 with the benefit of a shared systemic vision and values we have developed our training collaborative. Maintaining joint accountability has sustained and developed our courses through several major organisational changes and the challenges of competing demands for resources. Hampshire and Surrey Family Therapy training collaborative was developed initially across agencies in North East Hampshire and Surrey to skill up the workforce and provide a locally based Family and Systemic therapy training. Collaborative members work independently in partnership with a multi-agency steering group with representation from local NHS Trusts, and Surrey and Hampshire local authority. The programmes are currently hosted by Sussex Partnership Trust and have been delivered at low cost and within budget. We will share how our experiences have influenced the development of local communities of systemic practice in diverse settings. We will share evidence from former trainees as to how they have integrated systemic ideas to practice in a way that has met our aims in developing locally based accessible systemic training. The workshop will share how we have managed to maintain different levels of engagement with NHS Partnerships, local authority, academic institutions, voluntary and faith sectors and UK AFT. The support of these agencies has helped to augment and sustain our programmes. The workshop will include space for participants to reflect ways of promoting Family and Systemic psychotherapy within their own work settings.
Kiting In The Park: Creative Ways Of Working With Adoptive Families
Presenters: Chiara Santin, Systemic And Family Psychotherapist Director Of Rainbow FTS Ltd
Abstract: This is a reflective workshop, which will present examples of using creativity in adoption work, identify some of the dilemmas, challenges and opportunities in practice e.g. working with parents versus family, witnessing practices, working in family homes and outdoor (including kiting!). In particular it will explore ways of engaging children and parents in difficult conversations in order to develop a family narrative about the adoption journey, re-create and co-create for children a new sense of belonging to a for ever family, embrace many lived family contexts and help integrate their multiple identities. The second part of the workshop will offer participants an opportunity to imagine “kiting in a room “ and reflect on a creative piece of work of their own using art and craft materials and present it to the group at the end. It could be an object e.g. a kite, a creative genogram, a poem or a story using the voice of the child or another family member, a therapy story, a family sculpt, a piece for Context and anything else which will emerge from the group creativity!
Intersecting Connections In Group Supervision: Negotiating Power To Create Possibility
Presenters: Catherine Butler, Course Director/Foundation & Intermediate Courses at the University of Bath
Abstract: Group supervision generates tension: supervisees can feel exposed, incompetent, under scrutiny; meanwhile supervisors must juggle holding a second order perspective, to explore supervisees’ understandings and development, with the first order tasks of judgement, assessment and gate keeping. Literature in this area tends to focus on one role or the other, with relatively little consideration of the intersecting socio-cultural positions brought by all members of the group. This workshop will invite participants to reflect from these multiple perspectives in the position of supervisor and/or supervisee to consider how power can best be used to create possibilities for learning. Thus, rather than attempt to level-out power dynamics within the group and between supervisor and supervisees, the workshop will explore how to harness this power to challenge normative discourses that oppress all those in the system (clients, supervisees and supervisors), while attending to the supervisory tasks of supporting supervisee learning, development and professional competence.
Returning Children Home From Care: Safekeeping Of Therapists' Emotions In Supervision
Presenters: Dawn Walker, Consultant Systemic Family Therapist: Clinical Lead for Salford CAMHS LAAC
Abstract: Systemic family therapy is an emotional process. Working to return children to their birth families from care is a particularly emotional process. This workshop will share some of the emotional journey of the Salford CAMHS LAAC team who are working with colleagues in Children's Services engaged in assessments, preparation and support to families who may have children returned from care. The emotional process for therapists engaged in this work has emerged through the numerous conversations that are had formally (in supervision) and informally (in the team room, in the kitchen and on social occasions). This has prompted me to consider my role as clinical supervisor more broadly; how can I contribute to the safekeeping of therapists' emotions? Safekeeping can be defined as the act or process of preserving in safety and/ or the state of being preserved in safety*. Emotional safety and security in therapy is well-understood by systemic psychotherapists and supervisors. This workshop will develop ideas about emotional safety to include professional networks and teams. This workshop is aimed at systemic family therapists who work in multi-professional networks and are engaged in staff supervision. It will include: - Emotional safety in assessment and planning - Emotional safety in therapy - Emotional safety in the network - Emotional safety in teams *Merriam Webster dictionary
Saturday 16 September - Workshop Session 1 (morning)
A gulf of misunderstanding? Semantic cohesion in monocultural and intercultural couples
Abstract: This workshop reports on preliminary findings from a multi-site qualitative European process research exploring differences between monocultural and intercultural couples on semantic cohesion. From a semantic point of view, forming a couple signifies renegotiating personal meanings: the meeting of two words of different meanings -the results of previous belongings. These semantic worlds are generally challenged by the new partnership which requires a restructuring of meanings. Based on Ugazio’s (2013) semantic polarities theory, semantic cohesion is defined as the degree to which partners share their meanings during the conversation. The operationalization of the semantic cohesion construct through the Family Semantic Grids (FSGs, Ugazio & Guarnieri, 2017a,b) helps us to answer these questions, among others: How partners modify their dominant meanings? Is it different in mono-cultural and intercultural couples? Does one partner maintain his/her own semantic and the other adapts to it (semantic assimilation)? Are both partners able to enter the partner’s dominant meanings (semantic bidirectional exchange)? Or do they create a new semantic, different from the two original ones (semantic togetherness)? How do they overcome the enigmatic episodes (gulfs of misunderstanding) so that they can co-position themselves? Are there differences depending on whether the couple present for therapy or not? We will show how the FSGs were applied to gauge semantic cohesion in clinical and non-clinical couples. The FSGs allow researchers and clinicians to distinguish the narrated and the interactive semantic cohesion; the first is based on the verbal meanings, whereas the second one is extracted from the partners’ mutual positions, mainly expressed by non-verbal communication. We will outline the research design, instruments used and our preliminary findings. Participants will be invited to test the adapted version of the emotion map method (Gabb & Singh, 2015) and engage in group discussions based on extracts from recorded sessions.
Systemic social work as a practice framework for children’s social care
Abstract: This workshop will highlight the presenters’ experiences in supporting the integration of systemic ideas into children’s social work through both training social workers in systemic practice and supporting the embedding of systemic practice in the practice and supervision of child protection social work. The presenters will share ideas about how social care organisations can implement whole system change by focusing on a systemic practice system that is promoted at all levels of the organisation. The implementation of systemic social work practice will be shown to positively support families to make change in a practice system which is too often critical and punitive towards them. Alongside this the promotion of a more empowering and theoretically coherent practice model supports both practitioners and supervisors to re-engage with their practice in new and creative ways. The presenters will provide their own practice tips and advice for participants working within a children’s social care context and wanting to support a wider practice change within these organisations. Workshop participants will be encouraged to enter into discussion, challenge and dialogue with the presenters throughout the presentation.
Supervision, Systemic Practice and Domestic Violence: Risk, responsibility and collaboration
Presenters: Prof Arlene Vetere (keynote speaker)
Abstract: his workshop will briefly outline a methodology for safe systemic practice with couples and families when violence is of concern. In particular, we shall focus on the main responsibilities of the supervisor and the dilemmas for the practitioner, and acknowledge the impact of stress for all. The contra-indications for therapeutic relational work when violence is known and/or suspected will be outlined. The workshop will draw on published work, and 'Intervening after Violence: Therapy for couples and families', co-written with Jan Cooper, Angela Abela, and Clarissa Sammut Scerri, to appear 2017, Springer.
Connection over compliance – promoting relational approaches to learning for traumatised children
Abstract: Children who have had severe, relational trauma and loss have a great need to experience a wide range of secure, healthy relationships with caring adults who understand the impact of trauma on child development. How as Family Therapists can we work creatively across professional contexts to promote such opportunities for these children? This presentation will highlight the work that we do to make connections with our colleagues in education settings; to explore how trauma and attachment difficulties impact upon a child’s abilities not just to learn academically but also to grow socially and emotionally, and the work we do to help teachers develop effective, attachment- focused approaches to playing and learning. We view the development and joining up of relational rather than behavioural approaches and narratives at home and at school as being critical to overall therapeutic success for the child. We have seen also that such an approach greatly enhances home school communication and reduces feelings of isolation for parents and carers. Through provision of training and supervision spaces, incorporating Reflecting Team Practice, we help teachers develop a teaching stance that communicates playfulness, acceptance, curiosity and empathy (see the work of Dan Hughes) and learn to see themselves as ‘arousal regulators’, rather than behaviour managers. In an economic climate defined by financial cuts and limited access to material resources, we help teachers develop confidence that the most effective resource they have to hand is themselves. Teachers developing quality relationships with traumatised pupils can be powerful vehicles towards adaption and recovery. Every relationship has the capacity to either confirm or challenge all that has gone on before. The audience will have opportunities to ask questions and discuss the workshop material. There will be an exercise where attendees can reflect on the application of ideas shared within their own work.
Navigating societal marginalisation in the context of therapy
Presenters: Maire Stedman, Consultant Systemic Psychotherapist
Abstract: Navigating societal marginalisation in the context of therapy. What place do personal, political and spiritual values have in the consulting room with refugee young people and does this extend beyond the therapy room? The author has extensive therapeutic experience of working collaboratively with unaccompanied refugee young people around their experiences of torture, organised violence and imprisonment, and, in some cases, of being a child soldier. Therapy has taken place at the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture; the Refugee Council and more recently at the Helen Bamber Foundation, with young people from refugee and asylum seeking communities. The following areas will be addressed: • Is it possible to construct a narrative across cultures, spiritual belief systems and life experiences in the context of a culture which excludes and dehumanises? • The significance of a trusting relationship as a means of facilitating therapeutic change. • Cultural and spiritual influences that may facilitate or hinder coping efforts in a given context – developing a secure and positive identity, based on culture of origin and spiritual beliefs, as well as learning the ‘language’ and meanings of the new culture in order to facilitate a sense of integration. • The use we make of particular models for understanding young people’s experiences will determine the kind of therapy that we provide. What are the models of helping and therapy that most facilitate the therapeutic change and where do concepts such as post-traumatic stress disorder, spirituality and culture bereavement fit in the context of collaborative and self-empowering practices? Despite the gravity of the circumstances, humour, culturally appropriate metaphors, and a willingness to engage in the re-authoring of stories and therefore of lives, has taken place in a context of great sensitivity to culture, spiritual beliefs, life experiences and losses.
Pronoun – a play about teenage gender identity
Abstract: 'Pronoun' is a play about a teenager with gender identity disorder and her experiences This is Evan Pacey's play written for the RNT Youth Connections programme. A love story about transition, testosterone and James Dean. Josh and Isabella were always together but now Isabella has become a boy. This performance by a cast of seven16 and 17 year olds is full of questions about the nature of 'helping relationships' - what supports people as they make transitions in their lives. The performance lasts 45 minutes and there will be a discussion with the cast and director afterwards looking at the systemic and personal issues involved. This play, which is directed by an 18 year old, is full of issues that this community based youth theatre group feel are important and relevant to their lives.
Saturday 16 September - Workshop Session 2 (afternoon)
Creating new stories with families: systemic practice in a residential child care setting
Presenters: Amanda Jordan, Senior Systemic Practitioner
Abstract: This workshop aims to demonstrate the benefits of adopting a systemic approach in working with looked after children in a residential childcare setting. We will take you on our journey so far of how we have developed our services on systemic principles over the last five years. We will share with you our research findings and evaluation of residential staff experience of systemic thinking and practice training delivered by the Family Therapy Training Network which was funded by the Scottish Government. We will discuss our findings from our preliminary research which will evidence how this has impacted upon the culture, attitudes and beliefs of residential staff and has influenced their practice in relation to working with families. We will discuss our recent pilot projects within our organisation and some ways in which it aims to promote systemic ideas in the future. In our interactive workshop we hope to share: • The importance of looking at a young person within a residential setting through a systemic lens and promoting collaboration within the ‘looked after’ system. • Our experiences of how to overcome some of the challenges of engaging, understanding and connecting with a family’s journey through systemic work in a residential child care environment. • Our ideas about how residential workers can make a meaningful difference in understanding and connecting with young people’s stories and adopt a systemic approach in working with young people and their families. • Our experience of incorporating effective ways of engaging, connecting and working with families and incorporating this into good practice, care planning and creating new stories with families. We believe that a systemic approach in looking at a child’s wider world is the way forward in a residential child care setting.
Systemic Humanism and the Forces that Push us From Behind
Presenters: Jim Wilson, Family Therapist
Abstract: What happens when creativity is constrained by so many "Must Do's" that shrink the "reflective space”? How do practitioners respond to ethical and practical dilemmas that make them begin to question whether they recognise themselves in the job they do? The workshop will aim to further debate about such challenges from a systemic humanist orientation and consider options to replace diffidence with dissidence and maintain co creative possibilities in mental health and social care services. The exploration of creativity is crucial to a sense of "doing a good job” and the capacity in us not to lose heart. To do this one has to feel safe to open debate on constraints that threaten to stifle creative dissidence. Jim will provide anecdotes from his current practice and his recent publications to open the subject for exploration.
Working with the creative arts in systemic practice
Presenters: Alastair Pearson, Systemic/Family Psychotherapist
Abstract: This workshop is for anyone with an interest in the creative arts, whether visual, spoken or musical. Such interest may include addressing personal artistic expression and/or using the arts in direct work with children and families. It will draw on narrative and systemic ideas, such as the “Tree of Life”, to help participants make connections between their relationship with art and cultural and familial stories and traditions. It will seek to encourage a positive and forgiving attitude with artistic endeavour, making it easier to consider and work confidently with the arts in practice with clients. This may be of particular value when working with clients whose communication and participation in therapy can be enhanced through the use of the arts. The workshop will utilize a mix of theory, art forms and learning from participant experience, with the aim of creating an inclusive and creative learning environment.
Working and living through, with, alongside and after cancer and other life threatening illnesses - a dialogical space
Abstract: Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer.
“Shared experience building around the family crucible of cancer”
We are systemic psychotherapists who would like to invite others into a space that enables other clinicians and practitioners to think, talk and inquire together about how living with, alongside and after cancer and death has affected our work, our relationships to selves, others, the work, theory and our research.
We are therapists who have each had a different relationship with the ordeal and predicament of cancer and have noted that this has deeply affected our clinical practice and approach to life/death/challenges/complexity.
Our experiences tell us that the illness narrative is located within the larger biopsychosocial system. As cancer develops, each party (doctor, patient, family) must respond and re-calibrate. In certain cases, we are not just dealing with the reconstruction of meaning we are also negotiating the way meaning intersects with non-negotiable biological changes, i.e. when an illness becomes terminal. One of us has undertaken research into this area and has considered the question: “Sharing bad news with terminally ill cancer patients: what does it mean for a physician to deliver news in a sensitive way”. Findings from this research will be shared.
We know that many others have had similar experiences and want to invite you into calm and tranquil emotional space - a joint dialogue - in which some complex talking, thinking and creativity can emerge.
There is still shame and silence around health, disability and death yet it has touched us all. How might we usefully bring our experiences into our practice and research? Our hope is that our collaborative, relational stance will bring forth generative, healing, inspiring creativity and talk.
" Robinson.D.W., Carroll. J.S and Watson. W.L. Shared experience building around the family crucible of cancer. Families Systems and Health. 2005. Volume. 23. (2). pp. 131-147.
Sticky moments in supervision. Wading through treacle and making toffee together
Presenters: Susan Benbow and others, Independent systemic therapist
Abstract: We are presenting as a group of peers who have been undertaking the Birmingham Diploma in Systemic Supervision over the past 12 months and developing as systemic supervisors. During that time there have been sticky moments for each of us and, at times, our journey has felt like wading through treacle. We have learned that, despite this, there is goodness in stickiness and together we can make toffee! Our aims in the workshop will be: • To facilitate reflection on sticky moments in supervision – we hope to encourage participants to share some of their sticky experiences • To experiment with creative ways of addressing them that we have found to be helpful in our own practice Our own difficulties in supervision have included: • Attempting non-hierarchical supervision • Being an outsider to the agency In the workshop we will share some (but not all) of the creative ways that we have negotiated these sticky moments: • The super-vision bird • Super (vision) heroes • The only way is ethics • Speed supervision.
3 x Paper presentations in one session
PAPER 1 - Working therapeutically with Irish Traveller Population
Abstract: My Geel Glorying; I am Listening A report of two years of offering outreach systemic therapy from within an Irish Traveller rights organisation. This report was written to document two years of offering systemic psychotherapy to Irish Traveller individuals and families in a rural county in Ireland. It documents the learning of offering counselling from within a Traveller rights, community development organisation with a Social Worker Service. I am a systemic psychotherapist working as Midlands Family Therapy and have collaborated with Offaly Traveller Movement for two years as a family therapist. This report documents the progression of the counselling service, and shares information about presentations, patterns of engagement and client feedback. It sets this in the context of other support services in Co. Offaly and their experiences of engaging the Traveller community. It also compares the number of and tenor of presentations in Offaly with those of the Traveller Counselling Service based in Dublin and Wicklow, and demonstrates comparable demand and probable increase in demand as local confidence grows in this type of support service. Irish Travellers are an ethnic minority, traditionally nomadic group native to Ireland but without official recognition. They live in the most a marginalised existence, with poorer health outcomes, shorter life expectancies and lower educational and occupational outcomes than their settled counterparts (AITHS 2010). They experience significant insecurity in housing, often living in sub-standard accommodation with hidden homelessness (Costelloe, 2016). They have distinct cultural practices and belief systems, and share a separate language, Cant, although this along with other traditional cultural practices is not being transmitted to younger generations. Finally this report offers considerations for future support service development for Travellers in Co. Offaly. This will be of interest to services statutory services and to Traveller counselling services who seek to offer culturally inclusive services.
PAPER 2 - Addressing attachment issues in family therapy for young people with anorexia. How can we use a relational re-frame in engaging the family?
Presenters: Greg Dring
Abstract: Some current models, such as Maudsley Model Family Therapy, Dare and Eisler (1997) and Family-Based Treatment, Lock et al (2001), Lock and Le Grange (2011), discourage early therapeutic engagement with relationship issues. In those approaches families should be told that "we know that family relationships do not cause anorexia". However, recent thinking, Dallos (2006), Dring (2015) indicates that strengthening the attachment relationship should be a goal of treatment. Family therapy for anorexia could be seen to offer the patient, and other family members, a corrective emotional experience. Such an experience would be seen to fundamentally alter the internal working model of the self and others. Symptomatic recovery would be seen as arising from, and being consolidated by, this alteration. Participants will be asked to consider, if this is the goal, how may we choose to modify the engagement phase of therapy? Three questions will be addressed: • In our initial engagement with the family how might we frame the problem of anorexia? • How would we present the therapeutic task? • How might we address the vulnerability and distress felt by family members about the anorexia and about the therapy situation itself? These will be discussed drawing on material by Dallos (2006) ‘Attachment-Narrative Therapy’ and Dring (2015) ‘Finding a Voice’.
PAPER 3 - Creative Commissioning in Youth Services - Guernsey Action for Children in Collaboration with Youthinc CIC
Abstract: In 2016, Action for Children, in collaboration with Youthinc CIC, was commissioned to deliver a specialist service for young people with substance misuse problems on Guernsey. This was the result of our organisations forming a creative working relationship and forging connections – across professional backgrounds, across third sector and social enterprise organisations, over the sea and into local communities on Guernsey. Together we are providing a multi-systemic approach for young people with complex problems. We suggest that this approach to co-creation, embraces the notion that it is possible to find solutions through collaborative approaches, across the health and social sector. Key learning points for us have been the importance of: • social stability and community networks of support • Coordination of interventions for complex problems • Continuity across child-adult transition • Multi-systemic approach to intervention • Professional partnerships working across agency barriers • Include support for young parents • Co-location of support staff for employment, housing and health • Housing central to social stability Youthinc provides monthly case supervision for the Guernsey team, via SKYPE and quarterly training days to raise awareness of Mental Health problems and build skills in substance misuse screening and early intervention. We have co-presented our work at a Guernsey Mental Health conference and delivered multi-agency workshops to raise awareness about the application of systemic practice in youth services. Our workshop will enable participants to learn about this process of creating systems change, and apply learning to other environments. We are clear that whilst Action for Children is in a good position to deliver services for vulnerable young people, the way forward is to build relationships between agencies and strengthen collaborative work in the community. By increasing collaboration and shifting boundaries between agencies, services may become more flexible and accessible to young people.
Website and delegate registration provided by Mint Events. If you have any questions regarding your registration or the conference, please contact:
Mint Events Ltd
T: +44 (0)1270 750070
This conference is organised by the Association for Family Therapy & Systemic Practice.
The Association for Family Therapy
7 Executive Suite, St James Court, Wilderspool Causeway, Warrington, Cheshire, United Kingdom, WA4 6PS.
Company No. 03018026. Registered Charity No. 1063639