Open Mind Therapy – Solution Focus Approaches and Other Training

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    Open Mind Therapy – Training & Blog (not always about training)

The full name, including the ‘Therapy’ bit is the registered name of the parent; this site, however, focuses on “Training”, as the header says. 

And there’s a blog, which is about whatever crosses my mind when I’m writing it. You can bet your bottom Euro it’s worth reading though, and covers a whole wodge of topics … I DO however, try, to restrain myself and keep to an easily accessible and sensible number of words…

Please don’t think you have to be a ‘therapist’ or a ‘counsellor’, or a ‘psychologist’, or a ‘psychiatrist’, or a ‘doctor’, a ‘dentist’ or have a degree list as long as your arm to access anything that is on offer on this website. Although, if you are a member of these professions, then you’re very welcome here too. 

In due course (no pun intended!), training will be offered across a range of areas including:-

  • Appreciative Inquiry – what it is and how to do it; how to enhance and understand your own life in all its glories. Always remember, there is room for improvement in everything you do, and the better you feel, the better you will do, always
  • Ericksonian Hypnotherapy – not much to add, except to say that if you want take your solution finding skills up a notch (or two, or more), I believe this is the way to do it, oh, and you don’t have to be a hypnotherapist
  • Mindfulness Training – another adjunct to solution focus ways of working. Might as well use Wikipedia to help define it …“Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.” (wikipedia, accessed 04.09.2018). With view to helping someone remain in charge of how they are feeling. Not how someone ELSE is making them feel (unless it’s a good feeling, of course!).
  • Restorative Approaches and Justice – better ways of dealing with things that lead to massive the fall-outs that  exist in all spheres of life, and not just between us and the law. Thus, getting along in school, the workplace, communities of all types etc., etc..
  • Solution Focus Coaching – how to be the best you you can be – at work, as a parent, partner – you name it
  • Solution Focus Conversations – it is a joy to be able to work with someone who is struggling and see them blossom with you alongside them, co-creating the future they want, without leaving footprints in their life. I, and all the other solution focus practitioners are not experts in someone else’s lives, they are the experts. However, YOU will have the skills to draw from them the strengths they think they’ve lost (amongst other stuff). Asking questions, getting them to describe what their future might look like and asking lots of guiding type questions, uttering lots of ‘wow’ and such-like gasps. And possibly using some of those questions, compliments and o on in your own lives too. We call this co-creating. It’s straightforward to learn and possibly a bit more difficult to do; however, do it you will …

(the above are in Alphabetical Order … why not?)

Training in Ericksonian Hypnotherapy begins in October, 2018 over two weekends:

I’m a UK Registered Hypnotherapist and a Solution Focus Approaches Practitioner. I work as a counsellor, trainer, coach and mediator.

I have spent the past 30+ years working with all age groups, especially to  help  them to manage all manner of mental health and other issues.

However, as I’ve become older (though I must admit, not necessarily wiser), I truly believe it’s about time to pass on some of my hard-won and, I hope useful, experience, knowledge and such like, all gained over lots of years of working in this particular way – that is, using solution focus approaches.

So, I am now running my own practice down to concentrate on offering more training; utilising my thirty plus years of experience, my teaching experience and,  although I will still do counselling for Change, Birmingham Brief Therapy, and continue with such things as training; mentoring student counsellors; marking and assessing student work at all levels; my renewed focus is going to be on the training I will be delivering.

I should also add that I have been connected with Change for a lot of years, indeed I was Chair of the practice when it was a charity (which it still is). Nowadays, it is one of the biggest practices in the UK and regularly outperforms many others in the area.                            Is that a big enough plug, fellas?

Training with Open Mind Therapy – who’s it for?

For myself, whilst I offer training in ‘purist’ solution focus conversations AND other aspects of the approach, my ethos is to offer this training for those working in the real world;  in the wider social and community areas, where there is a real need for this kind of support – and not simply in the therapy room; although, I would be the first to admit, individual work MUST continue, where there’s a need for it.

I would like to try to see, therefore, if the work done by those who come along with me, using solution focus as the core approach, would be done by anyone willing to see ‘solution focus conversations’ as a tool of choice for eliciting change in the community;  or in multiple social settings. This, in order to redress the balance such that social justice can come to the fore, rather than being something they do somewhere else, perhaps over there…?

And, believe me, there are no limits to what those communities or groups are, nor what their needs are, after all, we all need access to SOCIAL JUSTICE in this time of “…obscene consumption and squandering of resources (human and otherwise, my addition)…: (Kagan et al, 2011, p56) – full reference at bottom of page.

Some areas you might already work in, or might want to work or volunteer in, should you feel you’d want to, now or in the future:


  • Community settings and Groups -perhaps you’re involved in work with people from the disabled community, people who are unemployed, the homeless or travelling community, the migrant community, the LGBTQ community, people with addictive behaviours. Generally, we know these groups (and others like them) tend to be the more marginalised communities: people on the fringes, whose voices may not be the loudest. Why not help them to become  heard? Utilising solution focus, in all its manifestations, I can work with you to bring this about, I promise.
  • Educational settings – of all stripes – there is a place for solution focus approaches from nursery to tertiary (university and beyond) with young people of all ages. Oh, and their teachers, TAs, playground assistants, lunch-room staff, volunteers, management, governors and so on ….
  • Secure Settings– prison and remand centres, custody suites, police stations, secure schools, immigration detention centres, probation centres and elsewhere.
  • Health Settings – hospitals, GP surgeries, dental centres, mental health clinics and anywhere else that health is a focus, including outreach work, social care homes; work with those in end of life settings …
  • Business settings– companies, shops and offices of all types, comprise people, some or all of whom will have need of support in one form or another; why not ask me to see what can be done? Remember, the better your people feel, the better they will function, for a global good. I guarantee I can show you how to get the best from your team.
  • And so on ……

So, Who might YOU be?

Well, I’d hope you were open to and willing to learn the solution focus approach (in some OR all its forms) to help others be the best them they could be? You’ve read this far, so that’s a great start, thank you!

I’m guessing you might already be a counsellor (remember you don’t have to be), or you could be a teacher wanting to enhance your students learning experience; a community worker (or a volunteer); a parent, a TA, a nurse, a doctor, hospital porter. Or, quite possibly a psychologist, a social-worker, someone with an interest in and desire to help others less fortunate than you might be, perhaps an ex-prisoner, a school pupil, a Duke of Edinburgh’s candidate looking for community involvement, a company director; or simply a thoughtful human-being who sees, as an aspect of their life, one in which walking alongside those who have somehow become marginalised, for whatever reasons, is likely to be A GOOD THING.

AND, you will be someone who is excited to know that you can help people to change just through utilising the art and magic of words, in particular ways, which I will show you,  to help people to become more what they want to be, rather than what they DON’T want to be.

There is no one thing for you to be, no particular level of education you have to have, all I ask is that you want to help others.

There will be lots of information on this site to help you to develop the skills you seek. To find these, use the Navigate bar in the header or the right hand sidebar.


“Critical Community Psychology” (Eds. Kagan, C. Burton, M. Duckett, P. Lawthom, R. Siddiquee, A. 2011)         BPS Blackwell (Wiley), Chichester, UK


You will be able to subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on twitter and Facebook, contact me from the Contact page. And book and pay for courses on this site too, in due course.

Please note, links to other sites are provided, both on this page and elsewhere across the site, however, I can take no responsibility for the content of any site you choose to link to.

Navigate the site using menu items in the header or right hand sidebar.

I would draw your attention to the Privacy Notice too, (see Navigation Menu) this outlines our obligations to you under GDPR and what the policy of Open Mind Therapy – Training is, in relation to your personal data.

Thank you

Paul Avard MA

(my thanks to unsplash for the pictures used on the site, and to the generous photographers who let them be used)

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