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Solution-focused training in Łódź

I have just spent a long weekend with my friends, Jacek and Mariola Lelonkiewicz, in Łódź, Poland, where I ran a two-day workshop on ‘Helping families, building cooperation & coaching with teams’. Thirty Polish solution-focused practitioners took part, all of whom had completed at least nine days’ basic training with Jacek and Mariola at their Brief Therapy Centre in Lodz (

Jacek and Mariola pioneered the use of solution-focused brief therapy in Poland, having first invited Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg to present there 20 years ago. They are delightful people to work with and to spend a few days with – this was my second visit to train there in the past five years – and Łódź, the Manchester of Poland, is an interesting place to stay. I don’t know what it is about the Polish, but the solution-focused approach seems to fit for them, as there seems to be plenty of it going on, and the group I just trained were as keen as mustard. It is testament to the skills of Jacek and Mariola in enthusing people about the approach, but there is surely more to it than that.

Something certainly draws me back to Poland, as this was my sixth visit there. My first was  21 years ago, when I ended up appearing on the radio to talk about my impressions of the country, and then on local TV in Wrocław, to talk about my thoughts about the August coup in Moscow (Boris Yeltsin, standing on a tank). But that’s another story!

On Saturday night, after one of the most satisfying workshops I have ever been involved in – with a group of the most engaged trainees I have ever come across – I enjoyed the ‘Highlander’ music of Jan Trebunia-Tutka, from the Tatra Mountains. Jacek gave me a CD of their collaboration with the Jamaican reggae band, the Twinkle Brothers, which is rather amazing. Cross-country collaboration, it’s the way to go, and I look forward to more of it with Jacek & Mariola, the Twinkle Couple, and, I hope, many others.

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