Accidental Counsellor Training Sydney – 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

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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

What’s The Most Important Part Of Classroom Management?

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When I present my Classroom Management Training, I ask the teachers who attend:

What do you think is the most important aspect of Classroom Management?

The teachers provide some terrific, valid responses in which all of them are obviously critical in creating good classroom management. Things like:

  • Creating good rapport and relationships with the students
  • Being able to organize your classroom
  • Providing creative and engaging lessons
  • Being consistent

All of these are obviously critical in making sure that you have good classroom management of your class. However, if we would really be pushed to identify the most important, the most critical aspect of classroom management, I would have to say to you that would be Teacher Presence.

What's the Most Important Part of Classroom Management?

In the Conscious Classroom Management Training, the very first topic we look at just before morning tea is this idea of Teacher presence and how we develop it, what creates it. Of course the rest of the day, we then do look at classroom management strategies.

Teacher presence is who we are in the classroom, strategies is what we do in the classroom. The strategies are divided and systemized into:

  • Preventive strategies
  • Supportive strategies and,
  • Corrective strategies

The reason why Teacher presence is the most important aspect of classroom management is that all too often we may go racing in with different strategies to manage our classroom and if we don’t bring the correct presence into the room, who we are, well then the strategies obviously aren’t going to take hold and what we can do and what can be tempting is to blame the strategy, or worse, the students, the school or the parents – everyone else but the teacher. While this is a provocative and controversial concept at times, it’s very important to make sure that we understand that Teacher presence is important because it can save a lot of time.

One of the things we need to do is to look at what beliefs we have or what’s the mindset that we have. The question we need to ask ourselves if we are struggling to manage a class is:

Are the beliefs that I’m taking into that classroom working?
Am I feeling good about it?
Am I satisfied with the class?
Is it working with the students?

If the answers are No to that, well then we’ll need to analyse our own mindset and the negative beliefs and change them.

Firstly, identify the negative beliefs and then we need to challenge them and that’s how we change the beliefs.

Is that true that the student doesn’t want to learn?
Could there be other things that are driving that student’s behaviour?
What else is contributing to this?

We need to have a full analysis of what’s going on and that includes obviously looking at ourselves and the negativity or the negative mindset that we could be bringing into the class because that will affect who we are in the room and our presence. As Einstein says,

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

If what you’re doing in a particular class is not working, it’s time to change that. It might very well be that you want to just come in to that class with a new mindset. That is a lot easier said than done and we have more information about this on our website,

You may want to come to one of our trainings, and there are some testimonials below on this page that’ll give you some insights about how teachers found the Classroom Management Training.

Here is a small but powerful action step.  Identify the teachers in your school who have great presence?  You’ll know who they are because they are teachers who command respect and attention in the classroom or about walking into a classroom and the students will be giving them their attention even before the teacher asks for it. It would be very worthwhile to identify who they are and spend some time with them. You know who I’m talking about. You do have teachers like that in your school.

Don’t ask them what are the strategies you’re using, it would be good to pick their mind about how do they see teaching, how do they see the students. When they have a student who is misbehaving, how do they view that student? Pick their mindset and then model that.

I hope to see you at one of our Conscious Classroom Management Trainings this year. There’s only 4 in Sydney scheduled or perhaps you may want to email me at I’d be more than happy to help you out in any way or find out some more information on our website.

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Conscious Classroom Management Training in Sydney

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The strategies in the Conscious Classroom Management Training are good. Although I use most of these strategies, the way you employ and use them makes a difference.

Calvin Ambrose, Christian Brothers School

The video clips in the Conscious Classroom Management Training were entertaining. I find the importance of establishing clear teaching procedures useful – I’m certainly going to introduce this at the start of the new year; a very informative and practical workshop.

Eve Tsevekidis, Kingsgrove High School

I found the Conscious Classroom Management Training useful because it reinforces or renews information previously known.

Maria Duffy, Kingsgrove High School

Make the course in the Conscious Classroom Management Training a little bit longer so it is not so rushed. The psychology info at the beginning was good to.

Renée Beyer, Kirrawee High School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training will help me connect with students.

Shahrokh Ghahfarrokhi, Morisset High School

I like the emphasis on explicitly teaching rules, expectations and behaviour explicitly, just like any other aspects of the curriculum. The Conscious Classroom Management Workshop reignited my passion for teaching and belief that all students are worth teaching and want to learn! Thank you!

Radhika Dixon, Greenacre Public School

As a teacher in a behaviour or emotional disorder school, it was great to see that the strategies we have in place are what you recommend! I’m not sure I could use all the teaching or learning strategies in the Conscious Classroom Management Training but I will try to modify them and give some a go. I did find the presentation very engaging – you have great presence! It did seem high school focussed at times but I suppose it’s hard to give examples outside your own experience, although it would have been beneficial (for me) to have some stuff framed in a “primary setting” way. However, to be fair, my classroom of K-4 emotionally disturbed students probably doesn’t fit a high school or primary school environment!
I actually found that the extra slides that you showed at the beginning were incredibly beneficial and should be part of this presentation all the time. I visit mainstream teachers every week and they all want to know when and how I am going to “change” the student that is in my class before they return to mainstream of fix them. Realising that the students choose their behaviour and that you can’t make them change is a powerful piece of information or insight for all teachers. It frames beautifully everything else you present. Sorry about the essay!

Linda O’callaghan, Cook School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training reaffirmed a lot of what I was already doing (good stuff) and made me realise some of my negative approaches to management. This would be an excellent P.D. for teachers just starting their teaching profession (along with everyone else) as when people leave one and start teaching, they either have been told conflicting help on management or have no guidance whatsoever. This info is great and will support one into the rest of any career.

Helen Scevity, Menai High School

I highly recommend the Conscious Classroom Management Training for greater understanding and results.

Mark Ranftl, Wollemi College

The Conscious Classroom Management Training was very useful. There was intensive presentation and discussion about classroom management.

Welmince Djulete, Flinders University

The Conscious Classroom Management Training was interesting, informative and useful. The information is very practical and comprehensive.

Lilis Su’adah, Flinders University

The Conscious Classroom Management Training is useful because you used real cases.

Emma Fredman, Kensington Public School

I found the Conscious Classroom Management Training because of the practical examples.

Sara Vaccaro, Killarney Heights High School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training is very useful and practical. Thank you!

Marian Botros, Kirrawee High School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training delivered good ideas.

Jennifer Walters, St Peters Catholic College

The Conscious Classroom Management Training has good ideas. Its emphasis is on perception.

Michelle Schlyder, Trinity Grammar School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training has really inspiring techniques for helping me to make a change.

Lisa Blanche, Menai High School

The Big Ideas in the Conscious Classroom Management Training were very helpful to put things in place to create positive environment in the classroom. Thanks!


The Conscious Classroom Management Training’s content was relevant and confirmed some of my own beliefs.

Kieran Lowrie, St Peters Catholic College

I found you and your info very easy to understand and practical. There were moments in the Conscious Classroom Management Training when I could picture myself using the conversations and mindsets with specific students.

Jacqueline Hunt, Campbelltown Performing Arts High School

I’m very interested in attending the other course you run based on the information from the Conscious Classroom Management Training you gave us today. I felt the strategies appear practical to implement and I can see how I would implement them on who they would work.

Adrianna Allen, Campbelltown Performing Arts High School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training was an engaging and informative session that provided tools to help teachers connect with and support students. It gave me great ideas and also reinforced strategies I found I already use.

Elyssa May, Menai High School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training is absolutely mind-blowing. They need to teach this in uni or have it as part of an induction training. Rocky, thanks for this down-to-earth training. I recommend all teachers to this course.

Tania Mclaren, Swansea High School

I really liked your value system. That was the key. The same strategies with a different value system would not work.If you were interested in coming out to a school to run workshops with a group of beginning teachers (about 15 or so), I would be interested in talking with you about that.

John Wright, Castle Hill High School

Attendees from the following schools joined the Conscious Classroom Management Training in Sydney

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Conscious Classroom Management Training and register online” href=”/conscious-classroom-management-training/”]
  • Kingsgrove High School
  • Mackellar Girls High School
  • Stellar Music School
  • Menai High School
  • Killarney Heights High School
  • Matraville Soldiers’ Settlement Public School
  • Abbotsleigh
  • St Peters Catholic College
  • Wollemi College
  • Cook School
  • Kirrawee High School
  • Campbelltown Performing Arts High School
  • Christian Brothers High School
  • Greenacre Public School
  • St Paul’s Catholic College
  • Trinity Grammar School
  • Kensington Public School
  • Covenant Christian School
  • Cherrybrook Technology High School
  • Castle Hill High School
  • Swansea High School
  • Kotara High
  • Flinders University
  • Morisset High School

Sign Up to The Online Conscious Classroom Management Training

Online Classroom Management Training


Per Person Access to 17 Modules

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Subscribe My School (Up to 100 Staff)

Conscious Classroom Management Sydney 2012

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Conscious Classroom Management Training in Sydney 2012

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Conscious Classroom Management Training and register online” href=”/conscious-classroom-management-training/”]

Thank you. The Conscious Classroom Management Training course was interesting and engaging. I feel that it has certainly been beneficial and will be the start of much reflection and change in the running of my classroom and reaction to students’ behaviour.

Vanessa Conrow, Narara Valley High School

Thank you for developing my knowledge about classroom presence and effective classroom management at the Conscious Classroom Management Training.

Susan Stavrou, Our Lady of Lebanon College

It was useful to reflect on the classroom strategies on what is useful and practical at this Conscious Classroom Management Training workshop.

Josip Fairvale High School

It was good to see new techniques to use at the Conscious Classroom Management Training and to know am on right track.

Jeanette Sellars, Narara Valley High School

Many helpful strategies were outlined at the Conscious Classroom Management Training.

Amelie McLean, Blaxland High School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training gave a practical way of implementing the ‘theory’ of classroom management.

Paul Wakelin, Narara Valley High School

The Conscious Classroom Management was very useful. I’m a beginning teacher. I will implement some of these things that I feel I can use in my classroom.

Rebecca Pratt, Beverly Hills Girls High School

The information at the Conscious Classroom Management Training was very useful as gives food for thought, forces us to reflect on our own practises.

Kai-Jung Chen, Catherin McAuley College

The Conscious Classroom Management Training was very well organised and presented. Some stuff seems sooo obvious but it was great.

Kate Wiktorowicz, Kingsgrove High School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training provided practical strategies to implement in classrooms.

Steven Hunt, Narara Valley High School

Attendees from the following schools joined the Conscious Classroom Management Training in Sydney

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Conscious Classroom Management Training and register online” href=”/conscious-classroom-management-training/”]
  • Narara Valley High School
  • Fairvale High School
  • Our Lady of Lebanon College
  • Blaxland High School
  • Beverly Hills Girls High School
  • Catherin McAuley College
  • Kingsgrove High School

Connect and Influence without Burning Out
Accidental Counsellor Training
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