EOLAS Facilitator Training

EOLAS Facilitator Training Programme

All EOLAS facilitators undergo a training programme together (i.e. peer and clinician facilitators) before delivering the programmes to participants. This training is co-delivered by a facilitation trainer and peer/clinician trainer. The EOLAS Facilitation Training Programme is delivered on one site, catering for 24 participants to include six service users, six family members and twelve clinicians . The selected facilitators, chosen by the services, receive intensive training to prepare them to deliver the family and service user programmes. Each facilitation training programme takes place over four days.

What facilitators told us about delivering the program:

I knew that I was there to facilitate a conversation and ask people the correct questions and guide people in the right direction to get the appropriate information as a group, not from me” (Comment of a service user facilitator)

The emphasis isn’t on knowledge and on what I know in relation to my particular area or field. It’s more about co-facilitation and facilitating the group to engage and to discuss topics and to bring the group through topics and to help them to explore rather than just throwing out information.” (Comment of a clinical facilitator)

I’ve gone through it as a family member, it’d be very close to me what people are going through and what I go through myself, but I was very aware that this wasn’t about me or my situation . It was to ensure that it was about other people, making sure they were heard” ( Comment of a family member facilitator)

EOLAS Facilitators explain the benefits they have experienced through working on the programmes.

Breaking Down Barriers

The collaborative facilitation approach to the delivery of the programmes is founded on the training received on the EOLAS facilitation training. The training encourages tripartite discussions to develop  between family members, users of services and mental health practitioners in order to forge strong working relationships when co-facilitating the  groups. Feedback to date demonstrates that this approach is regarded as a positive and powerful technique for challenging people’s assumptions and beliefs and opening up new possibilities and ideas. All participants spoke of how the trialogue approach, that involved listening to differing perspectives, ‘widened minds and changed views’ as echoed by the views below;

I didn’t know the service users, what level they would be at and whether they would be able to do the course, and then would they be well able to do co-facilitating? I had severe reservations about that…and I would kind of think to myself, how is that going to work, are you going to be all the time carrying your co-facilitator?” (Comment from a clinical facilitator)

It was really good, I think. Like I said, it just kind of humanised everything. Before I had done the programme, it was very much these are the doctors, these are the nurses and these are the psychologists and this is a family member and this is a service user, but by the end of it, we were all just facilitators and it was very nice to feel on an even keel. To feel on the same level.” (Comment from a service user facilitator)

The four days are structured as follows:

Day 1 (AM)

  • Overview of Eolas – background, rationale and ethos
  • Who’s who in the Eolas project
  • Purpose of the training – expected outcomes, structure across the four days and learning process
  • Participants – hopes, expectations, fears, questions etc
  • Facilitation – Definitions, purpose, dimensions – task, process and relationship

Day 1 (PM)

  • Facilitation – an overview
  • Facilitators role vis a vis other roles
  • Knowing when facilitation is required – and when it is not
  • The facilitation process
  • Learning styles and preferences in groups
  • Facilitation skills – an overview and self assessment
  • Creating the right environment – trust, techniques to ensure full participation
  • Listening and Questioning Skills

Day 2 – Essential skills for effective facilitation

  • Recap on Day 1
  • Preparation, planning and structuring information sessions
  • Preparing and giving information
  • Self-Awareness
  • Responding to process challenges – negativity; over talkative people; insensitivity; emotional concerns; hidden agendas; handling conflict situations within the group
  • Creating the right environment – trust, techniques to ensure full participation
  • Listening and Questioning Skills
  • Flexibility: balancing needs and agendas
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Staying on track
  • Managing mood and atmosphere

At the end of Day 2 participants will receive the participants handbook to review in advance of Day 3.

Day 3 – Facilitators Handbook – an overview

  • Recap Day 2
  • Co-facilitations – tips and techniques; supports and barriers
  • Overview of Facilitators Manual
  • Discussion on content – session by session
  • Initial practice sessions
  • Homework for Day 4 – preparing to co-facilitate Day 4

At the end of Day 3 participants will receive the Facilitators Handbook to review in advance of Day 4.

Day 4: Co-facilitation sessions from facilitators handbook

  • Recap Day 3
  • In the pairs that will deliver Eolas Programme participants will co-facilitate a group session using materials from the Facilitators Manual.
  • They will receive feedback that is focused on building their confidence and competence.
  • The review and feedback sheets used in Days One; Two and Three will be used for feedback.

Facilitators are provided with a Facilitator Handbook which guides them through the modules and content of the programme. The programme participants are given a course Handbook which covers the module content plus additional reading.

Anticipated Benefits

  • Prepare appropriately for effective facilitation of the Eolas Programme
  • Know how to prepare and plan session and impart information.
  • Know how to ensure group participation
  • Develop the skills to support improved group decision making and problem solving
  • Know how to manage the energy levels within a group setting so that people stay engaged
  • Know how to work with groups in a way that facilitates change, learning, and problem/conflict resolution
  • Know how to keep discussion and conversation on track and relevant
  • Have practiced the skills required for effective facilitation and co-facilitation
  • Have received feedback which will enable them to develop a plan for continued development after the sessions

Contact Us

Email: monahanm@tcd.ie