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The AFT National Conference, September 2011, Buxton


A history of DAFT


Any history can only be a partial and subjective view of events; however, this is a generally agreed story by those who have participated in the DAFT phenomenon.


Family therapy in Derbyshire can be traced


back at least twenty-fi ve years or more when practitioners began to set up family teams within adult mental health and CAMHS clinicians began to embrace systemic thinking and practice. Systemic practitioners and therapists in Derbyshire began to connect with the then named East Midlands AFT branch, mixing with systemic thinkers and practitioners within Nottingham, Mansfi eld, Lincoln and surrounding areas. Some twenty or so years ago, Hilary Howell and Steve Buller were collaborating in providing training opportunities in systemic thinking and family work within the Derbyshire Mental Health Trust. Bridget Jack, Sally Wood, Carolyn Gavin and Alec Rapkin were developing family therapy approaches within Derbyshire CAMHS and I joined in 1994, recruited as the fi rst full time family therapist within the Derbyshire Mental Health Trust. In 1995, Hilary and Bridget and I combined


together to set up the fi rst foundation-level course in Derbyshire, which was closely followed by the fi rst intermediate-level course. Hugh Jenkins supported us in this and acted as course consultant. He has been connected to the training programmes ever since, including in his current role as external examiner. Sue Petty acted as our previous external examiner.


The courses were subsequently accredited by AFT in 1997, and these courses have taken place in various forms with AFT accreditation ever since. In 2001, the mental health trust ceased to be a training provider and the courses found a new home at the University of Derby within a partnership formed between the trust and the university, with all of the course tutors being seconded from the mental health trust. In 2006, the fi rst substantive senior-lecturer post was developed within the university and Lesley Novelle was appointed. She joined the systemic-training team with the brief to develop masters-level clinical training. Lesley is now the programme leader for the masters in systemic psychotherapy, which has just completed the 1st cohort in 2011. Hilary Howell became the course consultant in 2005. Over 300 multi-agency multi-professional


practitioners have now completed accredited systemic training in Derbyshire. Many more have enjoyed the free bi-monthly DAFT lunchtime presentations and bi-annual day workshops. The courses have evolved through the contribution of the many skilled therapists who have tutored the courses over the years, including several therapists who began their training in Derbyshire. Apart from me, the list of tutors includes Hilary Howell, Bridget Jack, Carolyn Gavin, Sally Wood, Mark Weeks,


Michael Fowkes, Sandra Ryan, David Gristock, Gail Collette, Gill Wallace, Julie Barber, John Taylor, Lucia Whitney, Michael Napthine, Lesley Novelle, Kath Williamson and Clare Nichols. The origins of DAFT can be traced back


to the end of the very fi rst foundation-level training, when trainees began to talk about how they might maintain their interest and connection with systemic thinking and practice. A group of trainees, tutors and others formed a systemic interest group and began meeting on Friday lunchtimes each month to discuss their work and ideas. The Derbyshire tradition of irreverence and fun contributed to the naming of the interest group as DAFT PRATS; the Derbyshire Association for Family Therapy, Practice, Research and Training. We met with this title for a year or so before the managers within the mental health trust, for whom the majority of DAFT PRATS worked, invited the organisers to think again about the name! This led to the group moving through childhood and beyond adolescence towards maturity and consideration of becoming an offi cial AFT branch. The Derbyshire Association for Family Therapy was launched in 2000. Committee members and participants have included all of the previously mentioned tutors along with a host of further talented systemic thinkers and practitioners including Diane Styne, Caroline Asperguis, Adrian Pugh, Joanne Smith, Natalie Alleyne, Veronica Bennett, Phil Pepperell, Angella Ryan, Laura Gallant, Alison McKeown, Emma Cooper and Dan Pearson. Other talented contributors to DAFT have included Chris Ward, Mikenda Plant and Maeve McColgan. We have received tremendous support from several marvellous trust secretaries, particularly Sue Cousins and currently Sue Berrisford.


32 Context February 2012


The AFT National Conference, September 2011, Buxton


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