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Post-conference refl ections Everyone in the DAFT commit ee is Mark Rivett

systemic mind but there followed some tasty exchanges about the potential collaborations of research and systemic therapy processes. The room started to think about

this and Gary talked about the effect of giving SCORE questionnaires to families at the beginning of therapy – it appeared to slow things down - it is an early invitation to join our language. If families ask themselves “How could we know/judge/tell if therapy was helping?” how would this affect their orientation to and expectations of the therapy session. Would this increase collaboration or interrupt or interfere with the “process”? But, don’t we love it when that happens? For me, this echoed the earlier presentation that acknowledged participation and user involvement as a significant strand of therapy process. As we thought about researching the

impact of therapy, we had turned our thoughts to the therapeutic impact of research. Maybe it has something to do with what we are (re)searching for? I was left with a sense of ease

– with which we should be able to fit research intent and practices into our work – alongside all the other agendas we engage with in practice and ref lection. And we all left with Peter’s encouragement that, if he can do it, anyone can.

Jane Masters, principal therapist Foster Care Associates and Core Children’s Services


a lit le amazed and very pleased about some of the consequences of hosting the conference last year in Derbyshire. Here are a few of the things that are happening. • T e Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust are following up on commitments made at the conference by senior managers in at endance, to develop business plans aimed at developing systemic thinking and practice and family therapy posts within the trust. T is includes the family therapy provision within the early-intervention service working with psychosis, systemic services for complex safeguarding-issues with children and adults, proposals to develop new posts within adult mental health, and the development of a training strategy ensuring all mental health practitioners experience mandatory training that includes an introduction to systemic thinking, practice and therapy. A training strategy has also been developed to ensure there are clinicians qualifi ed at foundation, intermediate and qualifying level throughout the service.

• T e Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and partner agencies within education and social care in Derbyshire are collaborating to develop joint projects within the T ink Family Agenda. T is includes multi-systemic therapy projects and training strategies relating to systemic thinking and practice for social care and primary care managers and practitioners.

• DAFT, itself, has gained three new commit ee members, thanks to the conference; and our next day-conference on 17 November, focusing upon systemic thinking and practice with neurodevelopmental concerns and conditions, was oversubscribed, with 150 professionals, parents and young people at ending to off er their expertise by experience.

• Like many university courses, the systemic-training programme has been jeopardised by government cuts in education, and small courses like ours have been jeopardised locally and

nationally. T e profi le of the university working in partnership with AFT and the Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Trust undoubtedly contributed to securing the future of the programmes for a few more years yet. We are already receiving a greater number of applications for next year’s courses than in previous years.

Final thoughts In essence, we felt a lit le daunted aſt er

off ering to host the AFT conference a year or two ago. However, we would certainly recommend it to any area of the country where you might want to generate interest and raise the profi le of systemic thinking and practice. We at DAFT are happy to off er our help to those who might consider hosting in the future, as Ian Lea and others so generously did for us. Again, we want to off er our thanks to all

the excellent facilitators and the conference participants who contributed to such a magnifi cent experience for us all. Special thanks to Sue Kennedy, Barbara T urston, the AFT offi ce and AFT commit ee who made all of it seem manageable when we thought it may all be too much to chew on. T eir generosity, skill, rigour and humour are testimony to the core values of AFT. T e hard work was well worth it for us and we have a host of treasured memories to take forward from our time together in Buxton. Best wishes from everyone at DAFT.

Gary Robinson, chair of DAFT Context February 2012

AFT National Conference workshop reports

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