Speakers & Programme

Thinking of speaking at the next conference in 2022?

Abstract submissions are now OPEN; please submit an abstract of about 100 words for a 40 minute presentation. Presentations may be didactic, case studies, interactive workshops, research presentations, topical discussions etc. There is no specific format required but your abstract must satisfy the organising group that the content is relevant to ‘inclusivity in SF practice’ and will be useful to share in our SF community.

Click here to Submit Your Abstract

If you wish to make a briefer presentation, slots may be split but you will need to find someone to fill the remaining time and co-submit. Such submissions should have a common theme, e.g., current research findings.

Please also submit a brief bio, again of no more than 200 words. Please insert these on the submission form at the above link.

If this is your first time presenting your solution focused ideas and/or work and are a little worried, please don’t be, you are amongst friends. Fee free to contact us if you need some advice, guidance or support.

Rebekka Ouer - Morning Keynote

Rebekka Ouer, LCSW-S

Rebekka Ouer is a clinical social worker who specializes in solution focused work with the LGBT community. She has served as an adjunct professor at UTA’s School of Social Work and she is also a clinical supervisor for LMSW’s in Texas.

She frequently conducts trainings about Solution-Focused Brief Therapy and the LGBT community and has authored a book from Routledge Publications: Solution Focused Brief Therapy with the LGBT community: Creating Futures through Hope & Resilience.

 LGBT Individuals
 LGBT Couples & Relationships
 Trans Teens & Families
 Transgender Letter Assessments

SFBT & the LGBT community:

SFBT is the absolute perfect fit for working with marginalized clients, and in this presentation the conference participants will learn this truth through the lens of working with the LGBT community. They will receive this lesson directly from a therapist & author who has been passionately utilizing SFBT while working with LGBT clients in the American south for the last decade.

Rob Silver

Hi. I’m Rob. I’m proudly married to Eth, and we have 2 fabulous married kids, 2 excellent kids-in-law, 2 grandsons and a crazy lab named Nugget. I have been working as a school counsellor since 2008. My introduction to SFBT was through Brent Gardiner in 2010-11. I have increasingly used SFP as my main modality ever since. Through family life and volunteer prison chaplaincy my SF practices are regularly refined as I learn to “walk the talk”.

Diverse and at high school in NZ

This workshop will hear a recording from a now 20 something remembering their days as part of rainbow and high school communities. We’ll hear about how life was for an intelligent teen considering how best to deal with a significant issue.

We’ll discuss the recording based on Solution Focused ideas like best hopes, exceptions and presuppositional language.

Finally, we’ll wonder about SF questions that could have been helpful to our then school student as they negotiated life’s experiences during this time.

It’s my best hope that this session will encourage participants to think through issues that future clients will face.

Paul Hanton M.A. (SFBT) Reg. MBACP (Accred.)

Paul first came across SFBT when working in a street drug agency in London in 1993. Having attended a 2 day training at BRIEF he was hooked on this practical approach and has used it ever since in a variety of settings such as; Alcohol and drugs work, youth work, in a psychology department and in supervising others. Paul is widely published and has had this said of him, of which he is in equal parts proud, and embarrassed:

“Paul has been a leading figure in the development of solution focused brief therapy in the UK… He will be a major asset to the growing group of solution focused practitioners in New Zealand.”
Chris Iveson – BRIEF.

Apart from that, Paul is happily married with two grown up sons, he is mad about playing and coaching badminton, a Spurs fan and an avid collector of vinyl records.

Title: Lunchtime keynote; A Pākehā learning to be inclusive and respectful of Māori people coming for solution focused support!

Is SF practice more or less inclusive than other therapeutic approaches?

In this workshop I will give a couple of examples of conversations that were SF in nature and inclusive in practice. I will pose the questions (I don't necessarily have the answers): How do we make SF (more) inclusive? How do we be an 'ally' in a World that is unfair? Should we be political in our SF practice?

The main aim of this workshop is to provoke thought, to step away from the expert stance and learn from each other; finally, to look at what might be helpful in SF practice in the framework of inclusivity.

Cate Walton

I am a bit of a Geek – I have spent years studying and being curious about the world. A Registered Nurse who has worked in many different areas my curiosity about all aspects of being human let me to do a further study in Early Childhood Education, Infant Mental Health and the Social Sciences.

I was first introduced to Solution-focused practice while working as a Plunket Nurse at PlunketLine and was immediately attracted to the ideas that were being explored. The premise that people do the best they can in any situation helped me to see my then teenage kids and my clients as fabulous rather than as ‘problems’ to be fixed. I love to see the best in people and to support their discovery of what works for them.

I was diagnosed in 1996 with Multiple Sclerosis which has required me to rethink my assumptions about life and to explore different ways to live the best possible life with the challenges that inevitably arise. Accepting that I had to change my career direction due to the changes in my health, combined with my love of people, led me to retrain as a counsellor. I have found that by applying a Solution-focused lens to focus on my best hopes rather than the ‘problem’ I can I find ways through the difficult times and live a good life. I am blessed by the awesome support of my wonderful husband Chris, our adult children (4) and our best friends, dogs Mittens and Henry.

We are hoping Cate will present in 2021 again.

Matt Cameron

I was born and bred in the Waikato, Morrinsville. I have always enjoyed working with people, starting in my church as a Sunday-school teacher then youth work followed by education. I completed my counselling training in 2009 while I was teaching full-time and that began my life of several part-time jobs (put together they all full in my week: Teaching, counselling, coordinating a grief and loss programme in South Canterbury and tennis refereeing throughout NZ).

I began my grief and loss coordination job in 2012 and loved seeing the change in people completing our grief and loss programme. My introduction to the Solution Focused approach began at a Supervision course in 2016 and it instantly 'clicked' with my way of working - tapping into people's strengths and their desire for something better. I love passing on some skills and experiences that I have learned over time and I am a keen learner myself.

In my workshop, I would like to continue on with what I started to facilitate in 2019 and delve further into using the Solution Focused approach with the topic of grief and loss. I will share what has been most helpful for me and my journey getting to the point I am currently at.

We are hoping Matt will present in 2021 again.

Wanda Douglas

Wanda Douglas
MA (Hons)
Registered Psychologist
Wands Psychology Services

Wanda is a Registered Psychologist who has been practising across both public and private sectors since 1996. She was employed with the RNZAF for 7 ½ years and has been a Reservist Military Psychologist with NZ Army since 2002.

She worked in Human Resources in a corporate environment, and as an Executive Coach in Auckland before returning to Hawke’s Bay and setting up her own business in 2010. While she admits to “dabbling” in SF practice early in her career, it is now a key framework used with her clients (both in organisational psychology and performance/sport psychology). Regarding the latter, Wanda is a contractor for High Performance Sport New Zealand, is the Mental Skills coach for the HB Rugby Football Union, conducts mental skills training for the U17 and U18 Hurricanes Camps, the U18 and U21 Hockey NZ Development Camps, and through the HB Regional Sports Park and Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti.

We are hoping Wanda will present in 2021 again.

Raesha Ismail

Raesha graduated in December 2020 with her Masters of Counselling at the University of Canterbury. She currently see's clients at Petersgate counselling and Canterbury Men's Centre. She has established her own unique way of counselling that aligns with trauma-informed care, bicultural and cross-cultural SFBT integration.

Raesha has a passion for culturally responsive counselling. She also specialises in Unwanted Sexual Behaviours, Pornography Addiction and Betrayal Trauma due to internet infidelity.

Raesha has 18 years of experience in education as a primary teacher, tertiary health educator and teacher trainer. Overall holistic health and well-being is a significant part of her work.

After the loss of her brother during the March 15th Mosque attacks it is her best hopes to use this adversity to help bring more community awareness about being a Muslim in Aotearoa and what hope and healing looks like in Islam.

Bicultural and Multicultural SFBT practice

SFBT can be utilised to enhance bicultural and multicultural practice. By listening with intent and language matching clients can feel valued, heard and supported. Desired outcomes are achieved that allow for client success. Though skillful questioning clients can be supported to make meaningful change towards their preferred future. This workshop will offer examples of effective solution focused practice with clients from different cultural groups.

Elliott Connie. Afternoon Keynote

Suzana Sagadin

Suzana Sagadin
Kia Ora. I was first introduced to Solution Focused concept during Masters programme at
Canterbury University in Christchurch. Interestingly, I was not too fast to warm up but as I
was entering more deeply into the world of SF philosophy, I got completely taken away by
how very clever and straight-forward this whole thing is. Inadvertently, during the studies, I
discovered that my whole world view so far as well as my whole life has been explicitly
solution-focused without me even knowing that. Discovering SF approach was really finding
a home.
Originally, I am from Slovenia and I immigrated to New Zealand with my two children (now
adults) almost 14 years ago. I started literally from zero – as a vineyard worker in
Marlborough vineyards, with no NZ recognised education and I worked my way up to
Masters in Counselling. I am now a Head counsellor at Skylight Trust in Wellington as well as
Programme Clinical leader in a well-being project Brave Waves that seeks to provide a
framework and baseline programme that schools, communities, Whanāu, hapū and iwi then
partner to deliver in a way that supports rangatahi and takatāpu to truly own and drive their

We are hoping Suzana will present in 2021 again.