WEBINAR 4 November 2020

Michael Durrant is joined by Ian Johnsen (Wollongong) and Denise Yusuf and Harvey Ratner (at 7 AM in London!)
for a discussion of Solution-Focused work in schools.
Due to a glitch with Zoom, the webinar was NOT recorded. Our sincere apologies.


(Updated 1pm Sydney time, 5 November 2020)


The Brief Therapy Institute of Sydney STRENGTHS IN SCHOOLS page HERE.

Link to a blog post from Evan George (Harvey's colleague at BRIEF) about Solution-Focus in the classroom   LINK

Link to an article about the Swedish Solution-Focused work in the classroom project  LINK


Working on What Works (WoWW)

Working on What Works is a Solution-Focused program for working with whole classes, developed in the primary school setting. Harvey referred to it during the webinar. The original paper about the approach, by developers Michael Kelly & Robin Bluestone-Miller is available here.   DOWNLOAD PDF

There is also a Working on What Works Facebook page   LINK  and Arnoud Huibers, from the Solutions Centre in The Netherlands, has produced a video showing Insoo Kim Berg working with a primary/elementary school class. You can see it here.  WATCH THE VIDEO


Solution-Focused work with bullying in schools

Sue Young, a behaviour support teacher and consultant in the UK, has developed a Solution-Focused approach for using in schools — particularly primary schools — for dealing with bullying and its effects on students.

There is an article about the approach available online.  LINK

There is also a series of interviews of Sue on YouTube.   LINK



A video I use in my "introductory" Solution Focused training is of an interview with Patrick (16-year-old "resistant" adolescent, recently returned from suspension) can be viewed — for a limited time — online. You may view it or show it to colleagues who are learning about the Solution-Focused approach. However, you may NOT download it, link to it, or show it more widely. At present, this video is available ONLY to the limited people — so I would be grateful if you observe these conditions.   WATCH THE VIDEO



BRIEF, the pre-eminent Solution Focused centre in the UK — possibly in all of Europe. Practical, REAL work in schools has always been an important part of their work.

Harvey Ratner and Denise Yusuf wrote Brief Coaching of children and young people: A Solution Focused approach (2015).

This is possibly THE most useful and most accessible resource about Solution Focused ideas in the school context. Harvey and Denise have been working in some TOUGH, inner-London schools. They used to call what they did "Brief (or Solution Focused) counselling"; now, they call it “Brief (or Solution Focused) coaching”. Exactly the same Solution Focused work but, “Oh, yeah, I’ve got to go and see the coach” carries a lot less stigma!

The book discusses PRACTICAL questions, such as, “How do you work with a student where the school has major concerns but the parents don’t think there’s a problem?, “What about the adolescent who refuses to talk to you?”, and so on.

Available HERE.


Yasmin Ajmal (who previously worked as part of the BRIEF team, is a former primary school teacher and an educational psychologist and who now works as an independent Solution-Focused coach, trainer and consultant) and Harvey Ratner wrote Solution Focused practice in schools: 80 ideas and strategies (2020).

Quoting Yasmin: “It was principally written as a guide for all school staff about the basics of a Solution Focused approach in relation to their work with individuals, groups, whole classes and organisational developments. Alongside our (the authors) own experiences, the book draws on numerous examples of creative ways in which staff themselves have adapted the SF framework to support each other and the everyday activities of teaching and learning in the classroom. However it would also be relevant to other professionals who work in a supportive capacity in schools.

Available HERE.


Finally, Denise Yusuf has edited the book, The Solution Focused approach with children and young people: Current thinking and practice (July 2020). This is a collection of chapters on different ideas or examples of using Solution-Focused therapy with children and adolescents (not particularly schools focused).

Dr Harry Korman, Solution Focused elder statesman from Sweden says, “This book is useful not only for Solution Focused practitioners but for anyone wanting to develop their work with children and young people. For practitioners already using the Solution Focused approach with children and young people, it is, in my view, essential reading.”

Adam Froerer, Associate Program Director of the Family Therapy Program at Mercer University, USA says, "This book is a Solution Focused treasure! There isn’t another book that captures how to use the SF approach with such a wide range of issues that confront children and young people. Yusuf has compiled amazing contributions from across the globe that give practical, cutting-edge tools for working with children, teens and young adults. This book is a valuable resource for all practitioners interested in creating hope and optimism with their young clients."