Accidental Counsellor Training Sydney – How To Change Negative Thoughts

How to Change Negative Thoughts?

Early in March this year we presented the very first Accidental Counsellor Training in Sydney for the year 2013. There was a great group of people there that I’ve worked with over the 2 days.

Now, for those of you who attended the training, this is a bit of a refresher and a reminder. As you know, over 2 days, there are many strategies and techniques that we look at. But I want to just talk about one today.

The technique and the strategy I’m referring to is “Negative Thought, Positive Behaviour.”

The aim of this strategy is to interrupt the negative thinking pattern. All too often, as Accidental Counsellors, we would’ve experienced working with people who have negative thoughts and beliefs. When we try to challenge them on that cognitive level, usually we come unstuck. The client will hold on to rigidly their own self-concept and their own belief. What we need to do is we need to interrupt the pattern and one of the ways we talked about doing this in the workshop was by asking people to use their imagination. You’re entitled to have a break, a holiday from this negative thought, you know, and it’s weighing you down as you’re telling me. It’s really affecting you badly. Just imagine, if you were for one day not have that thought bother you and even if it was around, somehow it just didn’t affect you, certainly not as much. How would you be different? For one day, going to school, going to your workplace, being at home with your family if that negative thought and negative belief wasn’t around.I even had students in Year 7 who answered this question beautifully.

“If I wasn’t bothered by that thought I’d be happier. I’d be more confident.”

How to Change Negative Thoughts?

In summary, to create a pattern interruption, we can say to people,

“You’re entitled to have a break from this. I’m just wondering. Use your imagination here, if for one day, this thought wasn’t bothering you as much. How would you be different? What would be different with you in that day?”

Spend a lot of time with that person unpacking with clear detail exactly how they’d be.

I hope this has been a reminder for those of you who have attended the training. And for people who have seen this video and are wondering what the Accidental Counsellor Training is all about. There are some details at the bottom of this video on how you can get in touch with us. Or you could go to

Thank You!

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Sydney 2013

Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and and register online

The Accidental Counsellor Workshop was fantastic. I noticed Rocky using techniques discussed generally in the workshop which gave me additional ideas about accessing strategies and how to re-phrase and integrate questioning techniques. The reflections and modelling – especially before role-plays, really allowed me to understand the content and then transfer the ideas and strategies to new situations.

Rebecca Fitzgerald, Jamison High School

I was feeling a little out of my depth with some of the issues that students have been bringing to me. Because of the Accidental Counsellor Training, I feel that I have some strategies and approaches, and feel more confident in dealing with these issues.

Melanie Parsonage, Jamison High School

Absolutely loved the Accidental Counsellor Training. It gives a clear goal for helping students begin learning to cope with their situations.

Kirstie Brass, Orana Steiner School

The Accidental Counsellor Training will be useful for ways to talk to people/children in distress.

Rachel Coleman, Epping Boys High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training gave me new tactics to be able to use with my Year 7 students.


Counselling is a dynamic but daily challenge. The Accidental Counsellor Training has given me enormous confidence to challenge teachers who demand that I use traditional, authoritarian counselling methods. I now will say “No” and be able to really help Anne B and Anne Ross in their roles. The magic wand – the client focus – the empathy was just brilliant. Positive thought – clients coming up with their own solutions do create change. Before this course, I really thought change was really impossible. Band aid solutions will no longer apply to me as a leader of learning.

Melissa Blackwell, St Andrews College

The Accidental Counsellor Training was most definitely useful. It was an informative, enjoyable and confidence-building training with lots of practical questioning skills and ideas to help our students.


The part in the Accidental Counsellor Training where I find useful is discussing and seeing the technique; having options.


It was an excellent training and practical course. The Accidental Counsellor Training helped me understand a process of listening to a client/student and identify what they are really saying. It gave me a good scaffold to not try to fix students but to let them explore how they can fix their issues.

Michael Sugitha, Wyong High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was extremely useful; practical application of theory.

Jane Watson, Orana Steiner School

I find the Accidental Counsellor Training useful. I feel like I now have some constructive processes when interviewing students.

Kelly Armstrong, Orana Steiner School

The Accidental Counsellor Training is practical; lots of strategies. A lot of the content can be used with personal relationships as well.


The Accidental Counsellor Workshop provided an invaluable opportunity to collaborate and share ideas with other teachers. Rocky’s delivery of the
course and genuine passion for the content are infectious and I am looking forward to practicing my new skills when I return to school. Thanks so much for a remarkable two days.

Simone McKay, The Jannali High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was excellent and has practical techniques for dealing with student issues from the corridor to the meeting room. A valuable course.

Jacqueline Read, Cheltenham Girls High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training has a good balance of input and practical experiences. Words –> Modelling –> Role-play; user-friendly, useful and practical. It sets our boundaries – what is our job/what are our limitations/what should we be working on.

Cathy Smith, St Monica’s

I learnt a huge amount in the Accidental Counsellor Training about sitting down with students and discussing issues. I now have more confidence when a student wants to talk. I feel like I will be able to help them.

Ros Arnold, Chester Hills High School

I find the Accidental Counsellor Training useful because the context and content are applicable to the school environment as well as background to the human psyche.


The Accidental Counsellor Training was great. It has helped me rethink how I speak with students who are struggling.

Glenn Kayes, Epping Boys High School

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Sydney

  • Epping Boys High School
  • Cheltenham Girls High School
  • Westfields Sports High School
  • Jamison High School
  • Sydney Boys High School
  • St Andrews College
  • Springwood High School
  • St Andrew’s Cathedral School
  • Chester Hill High School
  • Mitchell High School
  • St Monica’s
  • Orana Steiner School
  • The Hills Sports High School
  • Sydney Technical High School
  • The Jannali High
  • Wyong High School
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