Brief Encounters®

What is Brief Encounters?BE Logo for BEST

Brief Encounters® is a training course. If you work in a job where people turn to you about their relationship problems or challenges at home, it was designed for you. It’s called Brief Encounters® because, often, when people reach out to you, you have a small but distinct window of opportunity to support and guide them. It is designed to provide practitioners with the practical tools, skills and information to be truly effective during this window.

What’s involved?

Many practitioners tell us they worry about having to draw from their own personal experience, saying the wrong thing, crossing professional boundaries and giving the right advice. Brief Encounters® helps them to support their clients by asking the right questions, sharing the right resources, and encouraging parents to tackle problems early.

Using the guidelines and boundaries of the model, you will gain confidence to listen without becoming overwhelmed, explore the root of a client’s feelings, offer practical advice and make helpful referrals.

To summarise, when practitioners reach the end of the course, they will have learned how to:

  • Recognise the signs of relationship distress at an early stage
  • Respond using the brief encounters model to help parents understand more and find solution
  • Review actions and refer where appropriate.

Why is it important?

This early intervention approach to relationship support allows couples to work through problems before they escalate and impact other aspects of their lives, such as work, health and children. As a result Brief Encounters® helps practitioners prioritise outcomes for children by supporting the parental relationship and minimising conflict and separation, both of which play a large part in a child’s social and emotional well-being. After training, practitioners are able to avoid situations where they are expected to ‘fix’ problems, instead enabling people to help themselves without dependency on professional care.

What do people say about Brief Encounters?

Brief Encounters® was originally developed for the health service. Of the 5,000+ managers that took part, an independent evaluation found that:

  • 94% regularly use the skills they learned
  • 91% were more able to manage their involvement in their clients’ problems
  • Trained practitioners were 4 times more confident at helping parents with relationship issues than those who had received no training
  • 88% learned to manage their time more effectively

What should I do now?

If you interested in learning more, or if you’d like to discuss your requirements and objectives with us, please do get in touch with Kate Nicolle, our Learning and Development Training Manager, on 0203 309 7871 or email


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