The Accidental Counsellor Training – A Solution Focused Approach

Solution Focused Accidental Counsellor

I love traveling around Australia presenting the Accidental Counsellor Training for many reasons, and here’s two:
Firstly, it’s just terrific meeting all the wonderful teachers and other professionals who attend the training working really, really hard to make a difference for the people in their care. It gives me a chance to catch up with family so I have cousins and relatives in Melbourne. It was great to catch up with them when I presented the Accidental Counsellor Training in Melbourne.

The Two-day training is structured in these three ways:

Firstly, I stand in front of the group. I present and teach the concept. Then, I demonstrate the concept when I ask one of the attendees to come to the front and we do role play for 5 minutes. They can take on the role of a student, a parent or any client. Everyone who is at the training gets to see me demonstrate what I’ve just talked about. The best part for me is when everyone teams up in groups of three and I come around. I listen in and do small coaching in those groups of three. The people get to practice and experience the skills. That’s the format of the two-day Accidental Counsellor Training.
Solution Focused Accidental CounsellorSolution Focused Accidental CounsellorSolution Focused Accidental Counsellor

Solution Focused Brief Therapy

The major focus of the Accidental Counsellor Training is Solution Focused Brief Therapy.

Solution Focused Brief Therapy has a focus on the client’s strengths rather than weaknesses. We look for possibilities because, as we know, creating a vision of the solution acts as a catalyst for bringing it about.

During the training, I provide the attendees with different techniques and questions that can help them work with their client so the client can create this possible vision of where they want to go. Here’s an example of how we do that. We might ask something called the Exception question. The Exception question gives hints towards a possible solution. Rather than analysing why a student may not be doing what they should be doing in a classroom, we ask an Exception question looking for times when they have done what they needed to do in the classroom. As an example, the student might come and say,

“I’m always been picked on by the teacher.”

“I’m being kicked out of class and it’s unfair.”

The student can go on with the complaining and blaming. And often times we can get caught, as teachers, in that Accidental Counsellor role that we have often by saying,

“Well, you must’ve done something…”

“You need to take responsibility for your behavior.”

What’s much better is to say to them,

“Tell me about a time when you did go to that class and it worked really well for you.”

“Tell me a time when you went to that class and it was lots better than what you’re telling me about right now.”

“What did you do on that day?”

“What happened next?”

Asking those types of questions, looking for exceptions gets the student or the client that we’re working with to start constructing a vision of a possible solution. Usually, there’s been exceptions to the problem in the past.

I hope that, that has reminded some of you who have attended the Accidental Counsellor training about the exception question and for those of you who were looking to come, you can find out more:

More about the dates, the towns of where we may be visiting and presenting the Accidental Counsellor in 2013.

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Melbourne 2012

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I really enjoyed the Accidental Counsellor Training session as it provided practical strategies, ideas and theories that I could implement and see the value of. It was great to see demonstrations and use role plays to practice each skill. Great friendly atmosphere.

Felicity Stewart, Mordialloc College

Thanks for helping me find clear and positive path in helping our students through the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.

Sommer Azzopardi, St John Bosco’s School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was fantastic, practical, encouraging.

Heather Pendergast, St Jude’s Primary School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was informative, practical and full of info I will use. Finally I feel like I have some support.

Bianca Gualtieri, Mount Scopus Memorial College

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop is relevant for every staff member. Essential for Year Level Coordinators, Student Support Staff.

Colette Brennan, Newcomb Secondary College

I feel better equipped to speak with troubled students, now I have attended the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop. I have learned that the connection is more important than the technique. Really important and valid!

Ben Riley, Werribee Secondary College

As a classroom teacher the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop provided some fantastic new skills. Definitely not a waste.

Mardi Shepherd, Frankston High School

Accidental Counsellor Training has given me confidence to work with students to challenge their negative thoughts and how to get them to get to think of their own positive solutions. Recommend this training to anyone who works with students/young people.

Robyn Hough, Shepparton High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was great personal development. Would recommend.

Christine Haasz, Marist-Sion College

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was very useful, with practical skills to use.

Tania Anticev, Clonard College

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was very useful, it was practical.

Paula Hardy, Clonard College

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop provided good “common sense” strategies and was practical.

Sharyn Uteda, Beaconhills College

Lots of practical information was given at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.

Carmel Mithen, St Mary of the Angels School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop has made me more confident to work with students.

Trish Herbstreit, CBC, St Kilda

Other Comments

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop has been useful as I have been in a coordinator position for six years and this has given me the tools to continue to develop.

There were sections of the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop (SFBT) that were good. It was good to get others’ perspectives on things.

I have completed a Masters of Ed in Student Wellbeing with counselling skills subjects. This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop has affirmed my studies.

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was relevant, purposeful and achievable.

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

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  • Mordialloc College
  • Werribee Secondary College
  • St Jude’s Primary School
  • Mount Scopus Memorial College
  • St John Bosco’s School
  • Newcomb Secondary College
  • Frankston High School
  • Shepparton High School
  • Marist-Sion College
  • Clonard College
  • CBC, St Kilda
  • Beaconhills College
  • St Mary of the Angels School

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