Steve Freeman Training Prospectus 2021.

Steve spent a number of years in commerce before training as a nurse in 1991. His jobs and volunteering have ranged from shop floor to board level, travelling extensively and working in one of Stoke-on-Trent’s first ever night shelters in the early 1970s.

Following qualification as a nurse in mental health in 1994 Steve went on to work in a number of areas including drug dependence, trauma, physical health and community based work.

From 1996 Steve began his training career in health and social care which culminated in formal posts combining practice, research and education with both Combined Healthcare NHS Trust and Keele University in Staffordshire.

Retirement from the NHS in 2012 and from Keele School of Medicine in 2017 have given him scope to further develop his training portfolio.

Course delivery, publications and conferences have taken Steve to many parts of the UK, Europe, North Africa and Hong Kong.

All training has its roots in solution focused practice regardless of the topic. For people attending courses this means an assumption of their competence, capacity and skills. An endeavour to co-construct their preferred future around the topic is linked to an exploration of their best hopes for the course regardless of its duration. All practice has a strong evidence base and Steve can provide evidence of positive feedback from many varied environments.

Whilst each area is listed individually Steve has specialised in integrating several areas of practice and training. Examples of this include solution focus with physical health care, Motivational Interviewing with solution focus and motivational interviewing with CBT (not Steve’s idea but a good one!)

All courses can be tailored to the unique requirements of any commissioner. The pre-course design negotiation is provided pro bono.

Course materials and follow up support are provided and are also pro bono.

Solution Focused Practice (SFP). Steve’s best known area of practice and training. This has been developed and delivered for over 20 years. Feedback is universally positive and course delegates have included service users, carers, volunteers and practitioners ranging from all areas of health and social care to education and private sector management. This course and its content are vicariously accredited by Keele University. It forms part of the Keele University undergraduate and postgraduate nursing programmes and is a core component of several courses. The course is also validated as part of the Loughborough University Health Behaviour Change training programme.

Motivational  Interviewing. Steve trained as an MI training with a Department of Health research project in the early 2000’s. Since then he has worked with people in many areas of practice from students to senior practitioners in a wide range of settings.  The course forms part of Keele University’s under-graduate and post-graduate nurse training and masters programmes and is validated as a core component of the course. Vicarious course accreditation is derived from its inclusion in the postgraduate course doctors seeking membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and is recognised as part of this Keele University-RCPsych course. The content is also recognised by Keele University School of Nursing and Midwifery as part of their undergraduate and postgraduate nursing courses.

The development of ‘MI with a Twist’ in 2009 has been a very popular course. Candidates are introduced to MI principles for behaviour change and then helped to develop these ideas through the integration of SFP principles.

Mental  health.  As a practitioner for many years, dating back to his volunteering throughout the 1970s and 1980s and through lived experience Steve has developed a considerable level of knowledge, skills and attitude when it comes to mental health care and training. Steve’s later years with the NHS included working with people referred directly from consultant psychiatrists due to their level of need. Steve’s years of work in the community, use of a multi-faceted approach and core humanity led to successful outcomes for people who had previously been viewed as ‘challenging, resistant and hopeless.’ Steve’s mental health education work has ranged from psychiatry to nursing, social work and people with lived experience to carers and community groups.

Reflective Practice and supervision. From third sector and community teams to international conferences with groups of service users Steve has facilitated and spoken about supervision and reflective practice for over a decade. Based, as noted above, in the principles of SFP, mindfulness and competence based philosophies Steve has developed a training and practice portfolio which has helped numerous groups and teams to thrive. From consideration of what works well in practice to the impact of traumatic life events on the person in practice Steve has been privileged to ‘walk alongside’ many practitioners in their reflection, development and success. All Steve’s reflective practice work is based on models and principles used by individuals, teams and multi-national companies across the world.

Reflective practice for staff wellbeing and sustainability.

An introduction to SFP and Reflective Practice principles how they can help managers and team leaders develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to support teams in increasingly challenging work and broader environments. Steve has developed this approach over the past ten years within homelessness and drug dependence teams, health and social care teams and most recently with managers and teams in forensic settings. Two half days via Zoom with a work based project between sessions.

Communities of Practice Development and Facilitation. Based on Steve’s experience of working with VOICES of Stoke and HomelessLink in their development of Communities of Practice. The course will help people to identify opportunities for CoP development and how to facilitate them to best effect. Developing the mindset of shared expertise and inherent competence will be core components of the course. Other elements will include the ‘next steps’ approach to enabling systems change.

Train the Trainers. This course has two complimentary roles. It aims to help people to pass on their skills and knowledge as efficiently and effectively as possible. Delegates are also enabled to facilitate groups and meetings using a common skill set. Using a mix of theory and practice delegates will explore opportunities and challenges in the developmental aspect of their roles and develop greater confidence in working with colleagues and customers. The course can be used in conjunction with the courses listed above and other areas of practice.

All courses are tailored to the needs of the commissioning body and evaluation reports are available as part of the delivery.

Being the Best. Developed in 2018 with Voices and Expert Citizens. This course integrates  principles from Eastern philosophies over 2000 years old and modern psychological principles including neuroplasticity to provide self help skills for practitioners and people accessing services. Having a clear and detailed description of our preferred future is an integral, and yet sometimes forgotten, element of solution focused practice. Using this as a basis alongside simple meditation techniques (no chanting or incense required!) enables people to overcome anxiety, prepare for new experiences (interviews, presentations, panel meetings.) The course will enable people to use the approach with individuals, groups and for their own wellbeing.

Valuing Safety. Based on successful and approved methods developed in Australia and the UK. Recognising and evaluating risk for individuals and groups of people accessing and working within services. “Assessing risk does not reduce it and can even increase” is a line taken from the course and quoted from a national mental health expert in the UK. In order to develop safer practice, more accessible services and confidence on the part of practitioners and those accessing services we need to balance evidence of risk with assessment of safety features and protective factors. This is a skills based, interactive course which has been well received by seasoned practitioners in mental health care and staff in the homelessness and complex needs sector.

Motivational Interviewing-CBT. An integrated approach. A popular evidence based approach to integrating two well known approaches. The course provides a theoretical and practical guide to how this integrative approach can form part of all conversations from assessment to planning for independence. The approach is particularly useful in behaviour change conversations. The course provides a solid introduction to MI and CBT and has proved useful for people seeking an introduction to these popular approaches.

Other services.

Reflective Practice, Supervision, Coaching.

Group and 1:1 sessions to support professional development and health of staff. There is good evidence that supervision and reflection support best practice in care environments. The more complex the levels of care the greater the need and the greater the benefit. Work with a number of organisations including National Children’s Homes has shown that solution focused approaches increase levels of work satisfaction, reduce stress levels, improve levels of absence and have a positive impact on levels of care.

For manager and administration staff coaching has the same benefits and helps with team integration.

Team Working.

Steve has worked with a number of organisations and teams to facilitate team days and team building sessions.

Working on the basis of “Where do we want tp go and how will we make that happen” can be counter intuitive. A post mortem of “How we got got hear and what went wrong” is seldom helpful. Steve has developed unique exercises which have been positively received by NHS organisations, conference delegates across Europe and Homelesslink in London.

Mental Health Assessment.

Based on Steve’s almost 30 years of clinical practice and clinical education with Keele University and the Royal College of Psychiatrists Steve offers comprehensive mental health assessments for people accessing services. Steve is less constrained by organisational guidelines and can, therefore, cater for people with complex needs.

Assessments cover all aspects of the person’s biopsychosocial presentation and history. The assessment takes place at a time and place suitable for the person and their key worker who is able to sit in but not contribute at assessment interview. The assessment aims to support the person’s narrative rather than the professional’s needs or organisational constraints. Assessments have been well received by senior clinicians in NHS teams who recognise the format and appreciate the depth and scope of information.

Steve is a registered nurse and has full DBS clearance and professional liability cover via Royal College of Nursing.