hesian labHESIAN – Hertfordshire Enactive Solution-focused Interactional and Narrative – was started in 2014 as a joint three-year project between the Department of Philosophy (Humanities) and Nursing and Social Work (Health and Social Work) at the University of Hertfordshire. The project’s original objectives were:

  • Collect and share research on solution-focused and other enactive, post-cognitive and post-structural practices including narrative and other interactional approaches
  • Actively build connections with the growing enactive view, to bring learning and experience to both sides
  • Carry out innovative research in philosophy of mind to extend practical implications of the enactive view
  • Teach and share these findings with working practitioners in the fields of health, social work, management and education.

The original lead team was:


A number of papers have been published by Mark McKergow in areas relating to HESIAN’s endeavours:

Conference presentations

Mark McKergow gave conference and other presentations at the following events under the HESIAN affiliation and about work developed with UH/HESIAN:

  • February 2015: UH Philosophy Weekend, Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, UK
  • March 2015: UH Philosophy postgrad seminar on ‘Affordances and mental health’
  • April 2015, AISB convention, symposium on Rethinking Mental Illness (University of Kent, Canterbury) – presented paper on The Juice Is In The Detail (see above)
  • May 2015: Taos Institute conference, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
  • May 2015:  Danish EBTA/Solworld Solution Focused Practice conference, Copenhagen, Denmark (plenary speaker)
  • June 2015: UK Association for Solution Focused Practice conference, Milton Keynes, UK
  • June 2015: Solution Focused supervision, Helsinki, Finland
  • July 2015: American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Summer Institute. Rome, Italy (I gave a three day training including the latest ideas)
  • August 2015: Growth Coaching International masterclass, Singapore
  • September 2015: Keynote address to European Brief Therapy Association conference, Vienna, Austria
  • April 2016: AISB convention, University of Sheffield, symposium presentation “Mind the person: Should depression be treated as a brain illness or a person disorder, and what difference would it make?”
  • May 2016: ‘Galvanizing Family Therapy’ symposium, Galveston, Texas, USA (invited presenter)
  • May 2016: Workshop on ecological and enactive approaches to cognition, University of Antwerp/Centre for Philosophical Psychology, Antwerp, Belgium (participant)
  • May 2016: Solworld conference 2016, Liverpool, UK (plenary presentation)
  • June 2016: UK Association for Solution Focused Practice, Swansea, Wales, UK (workshop presentation on latest ideas)
  • October 2016: Solution Focused Therapy – the next generation symposium, Malmö, Sweden (invited presenter)
  • January 2017: Solution Focused Therapy training, US Navy, Naples, Italy (two day workshop)
  • February 2017: Solution Focused Practice research camp, Ljubljana, Slovenia (invited presenter)
  • March 2017: Solution Focused Therapy training, Munich, Germany (two day workshop)
  • March 2017: Solution Focused Safari conference, Johannesburg, South Africa (keynote speaker)
  • April 2017: BRIEF diploma teaching – SF research, London UK (half day workshop)
  • May 2017: Diploma teaching on ‘action language and description language’ for LACT/MRI, Paris, France
  • May 2017: HESIAN/UKASFP conference, Hatfield, UK – plenary speaker and conference organiser
  • September 2017: SF World Conference, Stretching the world: a friendly explanation of SF practice. Bad Soden, Germany


At the end of the three year period, Mark McKergow organised a two day conference in partnership with the UK Association for Solution Focused Practice bringing together academics and practitioners to discuss the latest developments in solution-focused therapy and related fields. The conference theme was ‘Creating New Narratives: The Science & Art of Solution Focused Practice’.

The event was a great success, with around 80 participants, keynotes from the USA and Sweden, and workshop leaders from Germany, South Africa, USA, Greece, Finland and Germany as well as from all over the UK. From UH, Louise Doel gave a paper with her colleague Chloe Rogers, while Mark McKergow gave a paper summarising his HESIAN work on an enactive view of mental illness and solution focused therapy.