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Archive for the ‘Practice tips and techniques’ Category

Compassion… The greatest of virtues

Ranked a great virtue in numerous philosophies, compassion is considered in almost all the major religious traditions as among the greatest of virtues. Compassion motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, spiritual, or emotional hurts and pains of another. Compassion is often regarded as having an emotional aspect to it, though when based on […]

Being careful how we see others

‘Me against my brother; my brother and I against my cousin; myself, my brother and my cousin against others’, so goes this old Arab Bedouin saying. It is however problematic and underpins sameness, rather than diversity. Now more than ever, we are seeing a hardening towards those who are different than ourselves, which in turn […]

Technology… An abuser’s best friend?

Nowadays, the same technology designed to make our lives easier and more efficient, is increasingly being used as a tool to monitor, manipulate, shame and control people easily, and at a distance. As you will know, domestic violence isn’t always about physical violence, and in fact, it is psychological abuse that is by far the […]

And the winners are…

We had a great response to our post ‘Motivational Interviewing Resources – OARS Tokens and MI Rulers’. Thanks to all of those people who got back to us expressing interest in receiving a free pack. Originally we intended to give away five resources packs, but because the interest was so high we have increased that […]

Motivational Interviewing Resources – OARS Tokens and MI Rulers

Are you looking for innovative ways to up-skill yourself or your staff in Motivational Interviewing? Perhaps your wanting help with specific clients who seem stuck. Well, our new MI resource pack can help you with both. Read on to learn more about the resource pack, and, how you can get one for free! OARS Tokens […]

Making behaviour change sticky

Here’s a question… What do you do after learning something new? Answer: I bet you go back to doing what it is that you usually do the whole time thinking, “that was nice”, “interesting”, “informative” etc. What you probably don’t do is implement the information fully, whether immediately, later, or in some cases… ever! The same applies […]

Mindful Facilitation

Have you ever walked into a group session and found yourself in reactive mode to one or more of the participants? Have you ever walked away from a session, knowing you have been triggered and felt uncomfortable with your performance? We have all been there at some point in our group facilitation. I certainly have. I was […]

HMA launches new website

We are excited. Today we launch our new website ( Over the past three months we have been working with Wired Internet Group to rebuild our website so that it now operates across a number of platforms including desktop, tablet, and other mobile devices such as smart phones. We invite you to go and have […]

MI Oceania presentations now online

Thanks to everyone who attended either the MINT sponsored TNT, MITI4 coding workshop and/or the 4th International Symposium on Motivational Interviewing that was held in Melbourne during August. These events provided a rich and diverse opportunity for practitioners using motivational interviewing in a range of settings to come together to share ideas and enhance practice. We were incredibly […]

Anxiety robs us of our empathy

I spend a lot of time working in the criminal justice area with staff around general offending or family violence. The literature from the motivational interviewing field teaches us that empathy is one of the global measures, that along with partnership, indicates a strong working alliance. I have been thinking about what makes it so […]

Rules or values – what works best in developing group culture

Have you ever struggled developing group rules or ground rules for the programmes you are facilitating? Often we establish rules, write them on flipchart paper, and then ignore them for the rest of the programme. Or worse, the rules become the job of the facilitators to hold group members to account around. It can feel […]

Practitioner Interview Video Series – Male Sexual Assault

In support of Sexual Violence Awareness Month, Living Well are pleased to release a new Practitioner Interview Series of videos for those meeting and working with men sexually abused in childhood and their partners, families and friends. Check out the entire 14 practitioner videos at the Living Well website. Rationale Living Well are aware that men who […]

A resolution approach to family violence

Consider the following scenario: A woman survivor of domestic violence approaches your service seeking assistance. Her son, aged eight, has just completed a children’s program to express/work through the violence experienced and to establish a personal safety plan. The child is both scared of his ‘Dad’ but also worries about him and waivers between wanting […]

My seven most effective engaging questions

We all know the importance of engagement for successful intervention with people experiencing difficult and challenging behaviour. How easy is it to get off to a wrong start with somebody? One of the key elements of engagement is around connection, finding common narrative, and building that working alliance in terms of common goals for the […]

Stand to deliver and sit to process

I recently had an email from a colleague in Queensland inquiring about a piece of advice I had given some years during a training session on group facilitation. Two thoughts came to mind: firstly, how influential we can be in what we say and how these ideas can be enduring over time, and secondly, that […]

Getting the most out of therapy

It is easy for us in the helping professions to forget what it is like for  people coming to therapy for the first time. I have always believed in the courage it takes to be open with strangers to explore, the often uncomfortable and unpleasant, aspects of our lives. For many people coming to therapy […]

Breaking news – Now available Motivational Interviewing 3rd edition – Helping People Change

We are pleased to announce that early next week that we will be receiving the first shipment of the new Motivational Interviewing (3rd Edition) into the HMA Bookshop. We have a number of pre-orders which will be out the door the day we receive them. I suggest that if you want a copy then you […]

Three phases to enhance completion of interventions

Completion rates for community based programmes for a range of issues are often low (between 30 – 35% for AoD and community based stopping violence programmes) while completion rates for prison based drug treatment programmes is higher at around 71%. One of the key challenges that exist for any correctional system is to ensure that […]

Accountability based practice – setting up a family conversation

In last week’s blog I talked about the concept of accountability based practice that I used as the basis of my address to the recent Violence Against Women conference in Brisbane. I suggested a number of core questions that accountabilty based conversations might seek an answer to. I want to shift direction slightly and explore […]

10 ways to structure group reflection

Have you ever been in a group situation, the session finishes and you haven’t had the chance to close off the experience, capture your thinking and consider what difference the experience will make to your life? I have. If I leave a session not having had time to reflect before I get distracted into other […]

10 ideas in responding to resistance

Ever felt you were in the hot-seat when talking about challenging issues? I am sure that many of the people we work with find this a really tough assignment  – to sit and talk about their often most embarrassing or distressing issues. In the past two blogs I have explored the nature of resistance being […]

10 reasons for resistance

In the last blog I discussed resistance to change being a product of the position taken by the counsellor. In this blog I want to explore the myriad of issues that can be perceived as resistance, but in reality are often located within the context of the work that takes place or as a reaction […]

Resistance to change – does it exist?

Resistance is a word that gets bandied around a lot in relation to client work. I often hear people talking about how resistant their client is, resistance of the client to taking on new ideas, or resistance of the client to engaging in a therapeutic or working relationship. It is interesting how we can position […]

40 effective facilitation strategies

It is my belief that it is the small things that happen within a group setting that make the difference. Noticing someone, helping a person to realise something not pleasant about themself and save face during the experience, being purposeful and clear about our intentions, all lead to a much better result for the group […]

5 ways to build emotional literacy through using Feeling Face Cards

For many years we have been using these very cool Feeling Face Cards in our group work. We have also been finding ways to integrate their use within the design of programmes, particularly those targeting men. We have found over the years that one of the challenges many men find themselves struggling with is around […]

6 ways to get greater group involvement

Have you ever had a passive group of learners who have been told to turn up rather than self-selecting into the learning opportunity? Or the energy in the group of very low. Or the group are used to being lectured to, rather than participating and being responsible for their own learning. This is every trainers […]

10 ideas to stretch a group

Asking a group to take ownership over their learning is the key to managing growth, developing cohesion and dealing with challenging behaviour. I have always been interested in finding creative ways to stretch the group in terms of giving different experiences that create movement. The challenge in stretching is not to stretch too far. The […]

20 strategies for successful facilitation

The art of facilitation is complex. Have you ever found yourself running late, not having things properly prepared, or you don’t have a good feel for the content. I think we have all had that experience. We struggle through the session and at the end dissatisfied with our performance. We are often relieved it is […]

9 ways to keep group members engaged

Ever had the feeling that the group is not with you? They are physical present but their heads seem somewhere else? I imagine that if you have been running groups or programs that this is not an uncommon experience. Moving group members from visitors to engaged participants takes skill and thoughtfulness. Below are a range […]

8 ways to learn names of group members

You are about to start a group. People start to arrive and you check them off your list. Apart from the person who came early while you are getting ready, other participants start to arrive in pairs or small groups. You know that you are going to have to remember their names but how?  You […]

From Ken’s Desk November 2010

Whenever I meet people, and talk about the work that I do in designing intervention programmes and training people in programme delivery for those who offend, the question is, “What makes people stop?” The sub-text is, “Can they stop?”. The question is never straight forward, but there is a growing body of knowledge that if […]

Celebrating turning up or helping the helpers

Every week throughout New Zealand/Aotearoa, men and women sit in agencies working with men who have been abusive within their families. Think of all those facilitators heading out the door on cold winter nights, off to agencies to run stopping violence programmes. Of course they don’t just turn up. They bring to this endeavour a […]

Good Training

Mark Tisdall, one of the HMA Associates reflects upon what makes good training. When I first read Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything in 2003 I thought I could relax – I had a ‘big picture’ of the world as we know it from the big bang to now – having read the […]

What makes respondent programmes effective

Garth Baker This report summarises the findings of recent research on intervention programmes for men using domestic violence. Drawing on the latest Canada and the USA evaluations, along with recent New Zealand research, this report recommends what would make your respondent programmes more effective. This is the most up-to-date summary of research and is tailored […]

Shifting practice – thoughts on stopping violence work

Mike Cagney has a long history of working in the area of child protection, family violence and sex offender intervention. Last year Mike addressed the National Network of Stopping Violence services/Te Kupenga whatoti (the net etc) at their AGM and pondered where the field was currently situated within New Zealand and what direction would best […]

In the thick of it – reflections from Papua New Guinea

Sam Farmer has been one of our key associates for a number of years. He hails from the United Kingdom and has a background in social work and psychology. Sam has worked in the sex offender area with adult and adolescents. Sam works as a trainer and materials developer. The following is a reflection from […]

Conversations about abusive practice

You are a social worker from a small rural provider, who suspects that within a family you are working with that violence is occurring. In the situation the social worker is providing a home based support service in an isolated setting. The worker has built up considerable rapport with the family, but suspected that there […]

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