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The Online Journal of Solution Focus in Organisations

Vol 11 – No 2 – February 2020 – Page 7

​”What would things look like on a good day?”

Co-Editor Carey Glass holds, “A Conversation With”… SFiO Contributor Emma Burns

Editor’s introduction

Can you imagine the police saying: “We see you when things are really bad, what would things look like on a good day?” or getting this feedback “This is the first time I have ever felt you care.” 

This is what is happening in parts of New Zealand through the work of Emma Burns.  The demand from police constables to learn SF is there, as they attend suicidal incidents routinely. 

It is nevertheless leading to interesting questions of self-definition for the Police.  Is suicide prevention policing? Is their job to experience making a difference for a person? What happens if they don’t follow the “right” process and system?  

In this interview, Emma talks to both the power of leadership and grass roots in ‘stop start’ organisational change.


Carey Glass creates change with ease, providing fresh thinking for a world where change happens all the time, using Solutions Focus to bring that change to life. She has helped a wide mix of organisations create far-reaching, positive change with ease – from listed companies to public sector organisations and smaller private companies in industries ranging from finance to health.


Emma is a registered psychologist and has worked for NZ Police since 2010. She has spent eight years using the Solution Focused approach working with young offenders, and is currently in the role of Psychology Advisor for Eastern District Police, which includes providing training in the Solution Focused approach for police. Prior to this, Emma has worked in mental health, education and suicide bereavement.

Emma has spoken at the Solution Focused World Conference in Frankfurt in 2017, and at the Australasian Association of Solution Focused Brief Therapy conference in Melbourne in 2018. She is the vice-president of the AASFBT and coordinates the Hawke’s Bay Solution Focused practitioners’ group. Emma is also the mother of four children and a competitive swimmer.

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