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Transforming Theory and Research into Practice is In the Spotlight

by PeakCare Qld on 30th September 2015

Home -> Articles -> 2015 -> September -> Transforming Theory and Research into Practice is In the Spotlight

Internationally respected thought leader Dr Julie Tilsen is coming to Brisbane. In her life in Minnesota, Dr Tilsen is the Director of Ethics and Practice for the International Centre for Clinical Excellence. She also works in private practice providing therapy to children, young people and adults as well as training to professionals. She is known for her experiential style. Most significantly she takes theory and research and translates it to practice in a tangible way to enhance practitioners’ ability to fully utilise a wide gamut of information and theory in their work with clients.

As well as her work in private practice and training, Dr Tilsen lectures in youth work at the University of Minnesota and is an associate of the Taos Institute. With all that on her plate, we’re fortunate in Brisbane that Dr Tilsen will be making a trip here in late October to share her inspirational thoughts. Julie’s specialisation areas are narrative and constructionist therapies and work with multi-marginalised people. Much of her focus is on working with young people around issues of gender and sexuality as well as her work in Feedback Informed Practice, also known as Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT). This mode of practice focuses on the voice of the client as central to the therapeutic process. This is an excellent ‘fit’ with our current Queensland child protection reforms and the new child protection framework given its emphasis on improved engagement with parents, children and young people.

Dr Tilsen has worked closely with Scott Miller who championed this approach. The aim is to increase efficacy by asking the client for feedback and responding to this rather than imposing favoured approaches and then noting resistance from clients. Often clients are seen to be resistant because they are not doing what professionals think they should. This approach works in a client-centred manner to ensure that clients lead the way: “…feedback shifting the emphasis away from competition between schools of therapy and towards the client and their experience.” Rob McNeilly, 2014.

Dr Tilsen has described her approach to training as a hands on experiential process with the latest research on what works being used to provide new ideas, specific practices and skills. She states: “FIT continues to help me become a more curious, more reflective, relationally responsive and more effective therapist. As a trainer I love watching it do the same thing for all types of therapists around the world. I hope to see you all in Brisbane when I’m there in October.”

During her Brisbane visit, Dr Tilsen will also be speaking to her work with young people around issues of gender and sexuality. This is a key aspect of work with children and young people in Out of Home Care. She looks at traditional notions of sexuality and gender and how these constructs can mask the unique ways in which identity is constructed by various marginalized groups such as gay, lesbian and transgender young people. She speaks to the unique relational and social challenges faced as well as the importance of understanding the social, political and personal contexts when working with young people around sexuality and gender. This workshop notably will be occurring at the end of Sexual Violence Awareness Month.

This is an exciting opportunity for Queensland practitioners to engage with thought provoking concepts and discussions to enhance client support processes. In doing so, we can more comprehensively understand where clients are coming from and meet them in an environment of empowerment.