“Catching the Third Wave”- an accessible introduction to Solution-Focused, Narrative, Appreciative Inquiry and Strengths-Based approaches.

  • Do you like what you have heard or read about these approaches and want to find simple ways to bring these ideas and practices into your role?
  • Do you care about social justice and want to find practical methods to express this more clearly in your client or community work?
  • Do you want to learn ways to make your work more hopeful, creative and influential?

Over the past couple of decades, David Lees and pAul montgomery of Unique Outcomes have participated in the rise of what Bill O’Hanlon has called the “Third Wave”.   This “Third Wave” is based on a genuine faith in the insider knowledges, intentions and potentials of community members and human service users.   David & pAul are avid “surfers” of this Third Wave. They have been bringing ideas and skills from these traditions to direct practice roles in a variety of public and private settings in Brisbane, Australia for over 25 years. For more than 15 years, they have been sharing these ideas in training and supervision with hundreds of workers around Australia and elsewhere.

In this workshop, participants will learn and practice skills for:

  • Engaging even the most “reluctant customers”,
  • Being influential without being directive,
  • Separating people from problems,
  • Harnessing hope and motivation for change,
  • Developing a sense of partnership,
  • Working with the stories of peoples’ lives,
  • Identifying exceptional responses to challenging situations,
  • Moving from “problem-talk” to “solution-talk”,
  • Offering meaningful compliments,
  • Strengthening coping skills,
  • Clarifying intentions and values,
  • Honouring local and/or “insider knowledge”,
  • Ensuring improvement is noticed and celebrated.

David pAul will illustrate the practical application of these ideas with stories of their own work in various settings and through live examples of practice.  Participants will also have opportunities to engage in carefully supported experiential exercises.

For more information about the content of this workshop, please see “Program Overview” below or contact pAul or David.


Program Overview:

 Day 1

Welcome, acknowledgements, introductions and housekeeping

Workshop overview and hopes for learning

Identifying the ‘waves’ of ideas that have shaped the history of the ‘helping’ professions

The traditions and ‘reluctant heroes’ within the Third Wave

Some key values and assumptions of the Third Wave

Taking up a decentred position-‘not knowing’, ‘decentred yet influential’

‘Just talking’-the doing of justice in conversations

Growing hope and motivation-alternatives to ‘resistance’

Establishing the conditions for change-“change is more possible when….”

Discovering resources for change-‘exceptions’ and ‘unique outcomes’

Reflections on Day 1


Day 2

Separating people from problems- externalising conversations

Moving from problem talk to solution talk- ‘double listening’, ‘flipping’

Appreciating the importance of values- the ‘absent but implicit’

Enabling a preferred future focus- in the tradition of the Miracle Question

Building support for change efforts-‘supporters’ and ‘outsider witnesses’

Bringing it all together-maps and steps

Taking it back, final reflections and closure

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