Strengths, solutions and stories.

Tools Workshops

Russell Deal has facilitated over 600 highly interactive ‘Tools’ Workshops that have introduced the possibilities of using visual metaphors to many thousands of human service practitioners in widely diverse roles.

Russell’s workshops have a reputation for their gentle humour, the creation of respectful and safe spaces for participants and for their practical introduction to key elements of strengths-based practice.

Tools Workshops can run from 90 minutes to 2 days. All are highly participatory and celebrate ‘the expertise that is in the room’ not just in the head of the presenter. All use active learning facilitation techniques with participants using an array of hands-on tools such as therapeutic card sets to explore relevant, real life issues in small groups.

The result is invariably lots of laughter but also a unique practical insight into strengths-based practice that can be inspirational to practitioners irrespective of the extent of their experience.

To embed conferences, team building meetings or professional development activities with a creative, lively, learning opportunity simply contact Metaphors Ink to invite them to construct a free custom built workshop to meet the needs of your team, organization or network.

The Travelling Tool-shed

This is Russell’s signature workshop that introduces an array of ‘conversation-building tools’ that include visual metaphors, tactile resources, story-telling, picture books, creative arts materials and humour to explore key concepts of strengths-based practice. Read more about the Travelling Tool-shed here.


The Literary Advocate and Agitator

This original workshop features a range of exciting and fun ways to use writing and creative arts approaches to build social justice and further social change. Read more about the Literary Advocate and Agitator here.


The Evolution of Strengths-based Practice

Strengths-based practice has been fundamental to social work but began to be re-articulated late last century in part as a reaction to the growing emphasis on deficit based approaches. This workshop canvasses the key concepts that were informed by Solution-focused, Narrative and Community Building approaches ant the continuing evolution that has embraced, positive psychology, single-session therapy, Appreciative Inquiry, Symbolic Modelling and other aspirational approaches. Read more about the Evolution of Strengths-based Practice here.


Supervision That Sparkles

Supervision is universally regarded as crucial for maintaining good practice in all forms of social work. Often though, it can be experienced as routine, uninspiring and even drudgery. This enthusiastic workshop introduces an array of possibilities for keeping supervision alive and vital and features the ‘A Vision for Supervision’ cards co-authored by Russell and Roger Lowe. Read more about Supervision that Sparkles here.


Facilitation Daze

Facilitation and strengths-based approaches are soul-mates. Both celebrate ‘the expertise that is in the room’. This is an entirely experiential workshop where participants are invited to try out useful facilitation skills and to explore common challenges in facilitation by running a sequence of participatory activities. This is one of the best ways of building confidence in working with groups that has ever been devised. Read more about the Facilitation Daze here.