Collaboration without collusion: how to create and maintain effective relationships with complex service users, and avoid burnout


15 May

Nottingham Conference Centre


Felicity Reed photo
Felicity Reed
PAUSE Southwark


May 15, 2018 - 9:30 am


May 15, 2018 - 3:45 pm


Nottingham Conference Centre, Burton Street, Nottingham, NG1 4BU   View map

The professional’s toughest challenge

One of the toughest challenges for professionals can be managing the relationship with service users, whether adult or young person, and their families – especially where a complex set of problems exists.

Recognition that service users are vulnerable or traumatised does not prevent them from also being aggressive, devious or difficult to motivate. Consequently, there are multiple points at which the service provider/service user relationship may founder.


What kind of professional relationship problems can develop?

  • ‘false’ or ‘disguised’ compliance – Serious Case Reviews regularly highlight a lack of professional scepticism as a contributory factor to poor outcomes. Service users may persuade social workers that they are making best efforts to comply while in reality they are not
  • ‘start again syndrome’ – individuals and families facing complex challenges sometimes move quite often, each move creating a new transition. Professionals can find themselves giving the family a fresh start and ignoring risks which may have been identified in the past
  • ‘Bessie mates syndrome’ – professionals become too close to their client, replacing objectivity with loyalty. They become friends rather than advisors or mentors, and lose a critical facility
  • Emotional exhaustion/antagonism

Yet collaboration with the service user is the essence of social care work, and other services such as youth work, youth justice, probation, teaching, and a range of other support work with families and individuals.

So what can be done to respond to these ‘syndromes’?

How can professionals recognise when things are starting to go wrong, and regain control?

Collaboration without collusion is a learning day designed to answer these questions.

  • What are ‘good’ boundaries and how do I know and respond when they are slipping?
  • How do I maintain my personal and professional resilience when doing this work?
  • How can we keep a sense of achievement and direction as practitioners and service users when tackling multiple, repeat and complex difficulties
  • How do we help clients move away from an exclusive focus on concrete demands (‘all my problems will be solved by a 1 bed flat’)
  • How do we use our honesty as an opportunity to be really supportive? How do we keep clients on board while saying things they might not want to hear?
  • Ruptures – How to anticipate them, how to spot them, what to do about them, how to use them to our supportive advantage.


Felicity will include both case studies from their own experience, research and references to landmark cases and Serious Case Reviews.

This learning day is facilitated by Felicity Reed, Adult Psychotherapist with PAUSE Southwark, who works with mothers who have extremely complex problems and who have had multiple children taken into care


Delegate fee:

 £130 + VAT = £156

*Team of 3 (3rd person attends for half price) £325 + VAT = £390

*Team of 5 (5th person attends for free) £520 + VAT = £624

ring 0115 916 3104 for details.


Included in the delegate package:

  • Delegate pack
  • Lunch
  • Refreshments available throughout the day


Booking Terms and Conditions

Cancellations received up to and including 24th April 2018 will be refunded in full less an administration fee of 25%. Cancellations received after this date will be liable for payment in full.

*Team bookings are non-cancellable but substitute delegates will always be accepted.

The full invoice amount will remain payable if you fail to attend the event, however, substitute delegates will be accepted up until, and including, the day of the event.



Confirmation of booking:

Your booking will be confirmed by email where possible (and by fax or post otherwise), and you will be provided with directions to the venue and details on nearby hotel accommodation. If you do not receive such acknowledgement, please contact Central Conference Consultants Ltd on 0115 916 3104.

Agenda (subject to change)

9.30 – 10.00

Registration and coffee

10.00 – 10.15

Welcome and aims of the day

10.15 – 10.45

The Role of Boundaries

10.45 – 11.15

Therapeutic and Psychological Contexts and the Role of Trauma

11.15 – 11.30

The Social Discipline Window

11.30 – 11.55


11.55 – 1.00

Facilitating High Support, High Challenge – 5 key techniques – session 1

1 – The Learning Stance / Naming It

2 – Contracting and Licensing

1.00 – 2.00


2.00 – 3.45

Facilitating High Support, High Challenge – 5 key techniques – session 2

3 – The Columbo Approach

4  – Getting it Wrong

5  – Understanding and responding to burnout


End of learning day


  • adults’ and children’s social workers
  • Family Support Workers and other professionals supporting families with complex problems
  • Family Liaison Officers
  • Family Nurse Practitioners and health visitors
  • Adoption and fostering social workers
  • Mental health services including CAMHS
  • Community health professionals
  • Charities supporting children and young people
  • Youth offending services
  • Substance misuse services
  • Domestic abuse professionals
  • Homeless services
  • Housing services
  • Support organisations like Victim Support, Citizen’s Advice Bureaux and advocacy service
  • Police

The learning day will take place at Nottingham Conference Centre in the heart of Nottingham city.

The full address is:

Nottingham Conference Centre
Burton Street

Link to Nottingham Conference Centre website directions and map –

Car parking – the nearest car park is Q Park on Stanley Street, just off Talbot Street. Delegates can obtain a discounted rate by paying for the parking at Nottingham Conference Centre.

Rail – the venue is a 10 – 15 minute walk from Nottingham rail station.

However, the tram (which runs from the rail station) takes 5 minutes and stops outside the Nottingham Conference Centre (it’s the Royal Centre stop). The trams run continually and frequently, but you can check out more detail by clicking here –


There is a Premier Inn two minutes from the Nottingham Conference Centre;

The Premier Inn

Nottingham City Centre

Goldsmith Street


T: 0871 527 8846

The hotel car park is a short distance away and carries a small charge.

In addition, the venue has produced a list of other hotels with which it has special deals