History of Derbyshire AFT

I found this account of the history of Derbyshire AFT which I thought warranted sharing.

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History of DAFT
Any history can only be a partial and subjective view of events; however this is a generally agreed story from those who have participated in the DAFT phenomenon.

Family Therapy in Derbyshire can be traced back at least twenty five years or more when practitioners began to set up family teams within Adult Mental Health and CAMHS clinicians began to embrace systemic thinking and practice. Systemic practitioners and therapists in Derbyshire began to connect with the then named East Midlands AFT branch mixing with systemic thinkers and practitioners within Nottingham, Mansfield, Lincoln and surrounding areas. Some twenty or so years ago Hilary Howell and Steve Buller were collaborating in providing training opportunities in systemic thinking and family work within the Derbyshire Mental Health Trust. Bridget Jack, Sally Wood, Carolyn Gavin and Alec Rapkin were developing family therapy approaches within Derbyshire CAMHS and were joined in 1994 by Gary Robinson who was recruited as the first full time Family Therapist within the Derbyshire Mental Health Trust.

In 1995 Gary, Hilary and Bridget combined together to set up the first Foundation Level course in Derbyshire which was closely followed by the first Intermediate Level course. They were supported in this by Hugh Jenkins who acted as course consultant and has been connected to the training programmes ever since, including his current role as external examiner. Sue Petty acted as our previous external examiner The courses were subsequently accredited by AFT in 1997 and these courses have taken place in various forms with AFT accreditation ever since. In 2001 the Mental Health Trust ceased to be a training provider and the courses found a new home at the Universityof Derbywithin a partnership formed between the Trust and the University with all the course tutors being seconded from the Mental Health Trust. In 2006 the first substantive senior lecturer post was developed within the University and Lesley Novelle was appointed. Lesley joined the systemic training team with the brief to develop Masters Level clinical training. Lesley is now the Programme Leader for the Masters in Systemic Psychotherapy which has just completed the 1st cohort in 2011. Hilary Howell became the course consultant in 2005.

Over 300 multi-agency multi-professional practitioners have now completed accredited systemic training in Derbyshire. Many more have enjoyed the free bi-monthly DAFT lunchtime presentations and bi-annual day workshops. The courses have evolved through the contribution of the many skilled therapists who have tutored the courses over the years including several therapists who began their training in Derbyshire. The list of tutors includes Hilary Howell, Bridget Jack, Gary Robinson, Carolyn Gavin, Sally Wood, Mark Weeks, Michael Fowkes, Sandra Ryan David Gristock, Gail Collette, Gill Wallace, Julie Barber, John Taylor, Lucia Whitney, Michael Napthine, Lesley Novelle, Kath Williamson and Clare Nichols.

The origins of DAFT can be traced back to the end of the very first Foundation Level training when trainees began to talk about how they might maintain their interest and connection with systemic thinking and practice. A group of trainees, tutors and others formed a systemic interest group which began meeting on Friday lunchtimes each month to discuss their work and ideas. The Derbyshire tradition of irreverence and fun contributed to the naming of the interest group as DAFT PRATS, the Derbyshire Association for Family Therapy, Practice, Research and Training met with this title for a year or so before the managers within the Mental Health Trust for whom the majority of DAFT PRATS worked, invited the organisers to think again about the name! This led to the group moving through childhood and beyond adolescence towards maturity and consideration of becoming an official AFT branch. The Derbyshire Association for Family Therapy was launched in 2000. Committee members and participants have included all of the previously mentioned tutors along with a host of further talented systemic thinkers and practitioners including Diane Styne, Caroline Asperguis, Adrian Pugh, Joanne Smith, Natalie Alleyne, Veronica Bennett, Phil Pepperell, Angella Ryan, Laura Gallant, Alison McKeown, Emma Cooper, and Dan Pearson. Other talented contributors to DAFT have included Chris Ward, Mikenda Plant and Maeve McColgan. We have received tremendous support from several marvellous Trust secretaries, particularly Sue Cousins and currently Sue Berrisford.

In summary, DAFT forms the core of a three way partnership between the Mental Health Trust which is now named the Healthcare Foundation Trust, theUniversityofDerbyand the Association for Family Therapy.

DAFT holds dear its reputation for holding high quality day workshops at little or no cost thanks to the support of the Trust and University. We only began charging a nominal amount when we realised that sometimes people booked places for free events that were subsequently oversubscribed, but then did not always arrive. We found that when we charged £5 or £10 virtually everybody came! We have been privileged to have had a host of talented and inspiring guest facilitators and presenters over the years including Elsa Jones, Barry Mason, Bebe Speed John Burnham, Chris Iveson, Judy Hilderbrand, Jim Wilson, Shila Khan, Carmel Flaskas, David Campbell, Paul Blackburn, Steve Bennett, Hugh Jenkins, Peter Stratton, Paula Boston, Brian Cade, Brenda Cox and Barry Bowen.

We are very sorry if we have missed the names of friends and colleagues who have joined us over the years. We believe that everybody who has connected with DAFT has contributed to its growth and variety.

We now have nine qualified Family Therapists, five within dedicated FT posts, working within the Derbyshire Healthcare Trust. The Trust has been the key sponsor for the development of Systemic Thinking, Practice and Therapy, in partnership with AFT and DAFT throughout the area. The systemic course team at theUniversityofDerbycomprises of senior Lecturers who all also practice within the Trust. This year saw DAFT hosting the AFT conference and we hope that all the participants experienced a taste of the DAFT hospitality, informality, irreverence and serious play. We felt very nervous and very privileged to host the event and this seems like a good time to formally apologise to the Dorset Association for Family Therapy who we understand were once proud owners of the DAFT title but unfortunately had folded before we took our opportunity and they asked for their name back! We hope to keep the name for a few more years yet. However If we continue to be DAFT as we hope, then we can only move forward with continued replenishment and new members. If anyone out there would like to join us please be in touch by visiting:

www.derbyshireaft.org or email me at gary.robinson@derbyshcft.nhs.uk

Gary Robinson (Chair) on behalf of The DAFT Committee 01/11/2011


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