Who We Are

What is Solution Focused Trainers C.I.C.?

We are an established training company delivering level 3 externally validated training courses with optional routes to Practitioner Certification in Solution Focused Practice for individuals, teams and organisations throughout England, Wales and beyond. We have worked with NCFE, NCS, IASTI and other recognised bodies to match our training to their accreditation and CPD processes and have provided NCFE accredited courses and customised awards in Solution Focused Practice since April 2012.

Hear us talk about our ambitions for the training we deliver in the following video:

Our Courses

We deliver training courses in Solution Focused Practice for individuals and to groups of students through corporate or bespoke arrangements. The validation of our courses draws on our relationship with three external bodies which endorse the Solution Focused content of the training, evidence of learning and relevance to CPD. Courses are available at various dates and locations. Testimonials from past students confirm the rigour of the training, the usefulness of the learning approaches and the difference the training makes in the lives of service users.

The Directors

John Wheeler (he/his) is a Systemic Psychotherapist with 30 years' experience of working in CAMHS, and further private practice experience in supervision, as an Expert Witness using the Resolutions approach in denied abuse situations and over 30 published papers and book chapters. John was editor of the Solution Focused Research Review for the UK Association for Solution Focused Practice, President of the International Alliance for Solution Focused Training Institutes and Board member of the European Brief Therapy Association. John is a Reviewed Practitioner with SFiO, Solution Focus in Organisations, and has been a member of the UK Association for Solution Focused Practice since its foundation.

Naomi Whitehead (she/her) is a Solution-Focused practitioner accredited by the International Alliance of Solution-Focused Training Institutes. Naomi works online, in Sheffield, across the UK, and internationally, as a Solution-Focused coach, therapist and trainer. Naomi's background in working with and coordinating services for adults facing multiple and complex challenges that have experienced homelessness, supporting young people involved in the criminal justice system and substance misuse, and managing voluntary sector projects, informs the structured yet playful, curious and deeply respectful stance she brings to all her work. Naomi discovered the Solution-Focused approach in 2003 and was most inspired by its potential three years later when volunteering in two young people's prisons in Bolivia, South America. In 2015 Naomi became a freelance practitioner with a portfolio including trauma therapy, executive and young women's coaching, reflective practice facilitation and international training around current approaches and innovations. Naomi represents the UK on the European Brief Therapy Association (EBTA) and is a full member of UKASFP and SFiO.

Dr Stephan Natynczuk (he/his) has been combining SF Practice with Outdoor Therapy, especially involving adventure activities, for a very long time and loves every minute of it. Stephan began his postdoctoral career in experiential education back in 1988 and has continued to work outdoors with mostly young people in and out of school ever since. Stephan also enjoys being a freelance academic and has written about SF Outdoors, Adventure Therapy, and Host Leadership, as well as giving a good number of workshops and keynote presentations at Adventure Therapy conferences. Stephan is an accredited Member of the National Counselling Society, is currently co-chair of the International Adventure Therapy Committee, and has been in private practice since 1993. Training aspirant practitioners has increasingly become a fixture of his work both in the UK and Internationally.

Tara Gretton (she/her) has a background in social work and was introduced to the Solution Focused approach in 2002. Prior to that Tara was an aspiring actor working in Fringe theatre in Dublin. Tara worked with adults with learning difficulties until 2010 and then made the transition to Children's Services within Bath where she worked in a social work team that used Solution Focused Practice with adolescents and their families to prevent family breakdown and reduce the number of young people coming into care. Tara has extensive experience of using the Solution Focused approach with young people and their families and since becoming a freelance Solution Focused practitioner in 2014, Tara now works in many schools in her local area as a freelance Solution Focused practitioner carrying out 1:1 work and groupwork with children and young people. Tara is also a Solution Focused consultant to schools and trains all staff within schools in the Solution Focused approach. Tara has recently worked with a school that now calls itself a Solution Focused school. Tara runs an international Solution Focused in schools network with a German colleague and delivers workshops internationally. Tara also runs a private practice from her family home in Bath.

History of Solution Focused Trainers

Solution Focused Trainers Ltd was established in 2011 by John Wheeler and Greg Vinnicombe. Both Directors had a longstanding passion for Solution Focused Practice drawn from their experience of using the approach with service users and noting the benefits that this could quickly bring to their lives. John and Greg went on to introduce Solution Focused Practice to students, colleagues and wider staff groups and managers through short introductory courses and through workshops and conferences both in the UK and abroad.

Evaluations conducted by John and Greg demonstrated that the short courses were greatly appreciated and frequent enquiries were made regarding the existence of longer, externally-validated training. In particular, practitioners wanted to be able to demonstrate evidence of learning and recognition of their competence as Solution-Focused practitioners. Solution Focused Trainers Ltd was formed to meet this demand.

Greg Vinnicombe sadly died on 21st October 2015. Over time, Naomi Whitehead, Tara Gretton and Stephan Natynczuk, who were initially Associate Trainers with Solution Focused Trainers, took on extra responsibilities. This, along with the support of Jan Turner with her expertise in Internal Quality Assurance, and the support of Thelma Vinnicombe, Greg's widow, and Andrew Gibson, ensured that Solution Focused Trainers was able to continue with a renewed commitment to build on the rich legacy Greg had left. In March 2021 Naomi Whitehead, Tara Gretton and Stephan Natynczuk joined the Board of Solution Focused Trainers as Directors.

The design of the Solution Focused Trainers Level 3 Certificate in Solution Focused Practice and Level 3 Certificate in Solution Focused Practice Outdoors, drew initially on John and Greg's substantial experience of what works well in training. Internal quality assurance, external quality assurance from NCFE, mutual learning from other Solution Focused trainers through IASTI Peer Quality Circles and feedback from practitioners and managers have provided Solution Focused Trainers Ltd with ongoing opportunities to continue to develop the training in light of what has been found to work best. Solution Focused Trainers holds to a strong belief that practitioners are most likely to learn Solution Focused Practice well when the trainer is also an experience Solution Focused Practitioner. As a consequence of this, practitioners attending training with Solution Focused Trainers can be confident that all course tutors not only know about the approach, but also have significant direct experience of using the approach in practice.

On 3rd April 2021 we converted to a Community Interest Company with a commitment to benefit people who have faced any kind of disadvantage who need support to help them make their desired changes for improved social, economic, physical and mental health outcomes through providing training in Solution Focused Practice to people who work with them.

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