SF Practice and Social Change Plymouth Event on 14th March

Solution-focused Practice and Social Change – out of the Clinic and into the Community

1- Day Event organised by Livewell Southwest

and Plymouth University

facilitated by Guy Shennan

14th March 2019   9.30am – 4.30pm

Cost – £60

Venue: Devonport Guildhall, Ker Street, Plymouth PL1 4EL


Solution-focused Practice and Social Change:

There are some exciting developments taking place in the world of solution-focused practice, which are seeing the approach shifting from individual to group and community levels, where hopeful conversations are increasingly being facilitated.

Last year’s UKASFP conference included a stream of presentations on solution-focused practice and social change, which provided a variety of examples of community-based uses of the approach.

The conference also saw the appearance of the first draft of a solution-focused manifesto for social change, produced by a new group, the Solution-Focused Collective. This manifesto was discussed at a workshop at the annual European solution-focused conference in September and then at the American conference in November.

This day will provide an opportunity to consider these developments, and how they can affect all of us as solution-focused practitioners, whatever contexts we are working in.

Come along and be part of a collective on the day, learning about and helping to develop collective solution-focused practices!

About the Presenter:

Guy Shennan is a solution-focused practitioner, trainer and consultant, based in London. He worked in mental health settings with young people and adults, before training as a social worker and going on to work with children and families. As the Chair of the British Association of Social Workers from 2014 to 2018, Guy was active in campaigning for social change, and as his term of office came to an end, he co-founded the Solution-Focused Collective to develop similar activities in this field. He presented on this at the SFBTA conference in Boulder, Colorado in November, and his latest article, co-written with Marc Gardiner of the Zebra Collective, ‘Collectivising Solution-Focused Practice’, was published in the journal, Critical and Radical Social Work, (2018).

March 14th Event:

NB: Livewell Southwest will only be able to reserve a place with a cheque.

Please note: Lunch will not be provided but refreshments will be available.

To reserve a place please contact:

Plymouth Psychotherapy Department, 1st Floor, Centre Court, 73 Exeter Street, Plymouth PL4 0AH

Tel:  01752 435510  Email: Livewell.Psychotherapy@nhs.net

I wish to reserve a place on: Solution-focused practice and social change – out of the clinic and into the community on 14th March 2019

Cheque enclosed payable to:  Livewell Southwest CIC:______________________

Name: _____________________________________________

Designation: _________________________________

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Telephone: ________________________

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SF Practice and Social Change

Marc Gardiner and leading solution-focused practitioner, Guy Shennan, have written an article about using solution-focused practice in pursuit of social change; it’s published in the international journal of Critical and Radical Social Work and available to download

The article includes Zebra’s work and social justice approach to solution-focused practice; and also about the wider international initiative of the Solution-focused Collective.

The SF Collective seeks to bring like-minded practitioners together to use the power of the solution-focused approach towards social change – for further information about progress and developments gathering pace with the SF Collective check out @solfocollective on Twitter.

Safeguarding Children Training – latest addition to the Zebra Offer

Zebra is pleased to announce that we are now offering Level 2 Single Agency Safeguarding Children Training as the newest addition to our wide range of learning opportunities and training courses – take advantage of our introductory early bird offer.

Training & Reflective Learning Offer 2018
Recently, we put together an updated list of the Zebra Offer  – if there is something here which is of interest to you, please contact us at info@zebra.coop

  • Solution-focused Practice
  • Solution-focused Management
  • Strength-based and Asset-based approaches
  • Trauma-Informed Approaches
  • Reflective Practice
  • Promoting Equality and Challenging Discrimination
  • Cultural Capability
  • Power & Privilege
  • Change Management: organisational change, culture change
  • Conflict resolution: facilitation & training
  • De-escalation Skills
  • Managing Conflict
  • Professional Boundaries
  • Lone Working
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Safeguarding Adults
  • Mental Health Awareness and Recovery-based Approaches
  • Promoting Wellbeing and Wellness (personal / community / organisational)
  • Assessment, Support and Safety Planning
  • Groupwork / support Facilitation
  • Supervision
  • Communication Skills
  • Toolbox for Community Engagement

Inaugural Meeting of the Solution-Focused Collective

We were in London on Monday 6th August for the inaugural meeting of the Solution-focused Collective, convened by Guy Shennan: it’s exploring possibilities for using SF approaches for social change.

The idea has been emerging in the SF community in the UK for a while, and gathered momentum at the UKASFP conference in Liverpool in June.

A websearch brought Guy to Zebra, as one of our founding notions is that SF approaches can enhance any social change project, and we’ve been working on this idea for all our 15 years – albeit we know we can – and will – be doing a lot more.

The meeting was stimulating, with good energy and collective will – and it’s always so refreshing to be in a room with a bunch who really get SF.

More news soon. And next meeting scheduled for Stoke on 8th October.

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more – and perhaps get involved.

Meanwhile the latest draft of the manifesto is reproduced below, and it can also be found in the Solution-Focused Collective Facebook group and on Twitter (@solfocollective), which you are invited to join and follow if this project is of interest to you.

Draft Manifesto for a Critically Engaged Solution-Focused Practice

We hold this truth to be self-evident, that solution-focused practice can assist people in moving towards the lives they wish to live.

Solution-focused practice helps people to cope with the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.

We are angered by the oppression we see around us, believe that public issues should not be translated into private troubles, and thus are committed to social change.

So we have a dream, that solution-focused practitioners can come together, and use the power of our approach collectively towards the social change that is needed.

Our best hopes are for a world where there is social justice and freedom for all.

Our preferred future is a world of equality, reciprocity and interdependence, and of communities that enable people to lead lives of fulfillment.

We believe that there are instances of this everywhere, and that there has always been progress towards this future, wherever people have come together for the greater good.

The history of our preferred future includes the campaign and reform sides of social work present at its beginnings, alongside help provided to individuals and families.

The history of our preferred future includes the critical and radical psychologists who opposed austerity and now call for social change.

The history of our preferred future includes community work and community development, where workers get alongside people in their communities and agitate for change.

The history of our preferred future includes solution-focused practitioners and others who have worked with people in groups and not only on their own.

To realise our hopes, we aim to develop our solution-focused practice so that 

  • it acknowledges the social and environmental causes of people’s distress and difficulties
  • it extends beyond the realm of the individual to embrace collective and social action
  • we evaluate the impact of our solution-focused work on promoting social justice and equality, going beyond evaluation focusing only on individual improvement measures
  • we build links with movements for social justice and equality, and with practitioners of other approaches committed to these aims
  • we critically reflect on our methods and on whether they maintain oppressive relations

We call on solution-focused practitioners everywhere! To join us in our collective aims, for a campaigning solution-focused practice, for a critical solution-focused practice, for a solution-focused practice that we take into our communities and offer to those in greatest need.

We call on solution-focused practitioners to rise up, to break free at last, for we have nothing to lose but our individualised chains!

Celebrating 15 years of Zebra Collective on 3rd July

Thanks to all who joined us to mark and celebrate this milestone – excellent discussions and food.

More to follow on collective thoughts and suggestions emerging out of our World Cafe on direction and role of ZC for the next five years.


Launching Zebra’s New Year

Zebra Collective launched the New Year with a coming together of a dozen friends, associates and potential associates who had brought their passion and best thinking to help shape and support our plans and possibilities for 2018.

It was a wonderfully energised development session with lots of focused discussion, exchange and deepening of ideas – look at the photos and notice the intent listening and thinking…

Very heartening to feel the strength of the Zebra Community within the diversity of personal and professional backgrounds and the support, ideas and pledges offered.

Collaboration of the Collectives


Growing our Equalities Team

At Zebra we’re currently rebuilding our equalities team. Seven potential associates joined us recently for a Saturday session at Plymouth Library to hear about the history, values, style and current programme of our equalities work. There followed a brilliant conversation about possibilities, and each person shared how they’d like to be involved. Here were 7 strong candidates, all of whom we’d like to work with.

Our work in equality (inclusion / challenging discrimination / cultural capability / power & privilege) has new energy and real potential for development and growing impact.

Cornwall Council Child & Families Services: training contracts in (a) Promoting Inclusion & Challenging Discrimination, and (b) Cultural Capability

We’re pleased at our successful bid to retain these two contracts, allowing us to continue our long-term relationship with Cornwall Council on equality, inclusion and cultural capability. This complements our ongoing solution-focused work with the Council. Sessions begin in November.


SF World Conference, Bad Soden, Germany, 22-24 September 2017

I had the good fortune to be here, and my best hopes – of learning lots from multifarious workshops; of developing my thinking through the critical thinking and academic rigour evident in the discussions; and of being immersed in a sea of solution-focused practitioners – were outstripped.

I ran a workshop on SF Reflecting Teams, introducing the model then facilitating a real session in the room. The feedback was good and I think there’s scope to run something similar at next year’s conference – in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Travelled by train, and the quality improved as I moved east, from Great Western to Eurostar to France’s TGV bullet train from Paris to Frankfurt (cruising – floating – at 200mph). Given the environmental impact of aviation, it was good that Zebra Collective could demonstrate that rail is an option even over these kinds of distances. I worked plenty on the train. To a significant extent, “I don’t have time” is a mindset, and how it’s affecting things out there.

Marc Gardiner