Shelly Bonnah (CA)

Response-Based Interviewing

The Response-Based Contextual Analysis  guides us in specific ways through interactions, interventions, and an evaluation of circumstances that may include a broad range of challenges.  What we are listening for  will influence what we do next; both the comments that we make and the questions that we ask.  Our questions bring forth information from the philosophy of Response-Based practice and highlights the agency and proficiency of the individual(s) we are speaking with:

"What would have happened if you had screamed?",

 "What would your Mom have done if you had told her at the time?", 

"What would he do if you just up and left him with the kids?"

Interaction is always at play, within all systems.  Family Systems, Organizational Settings and Institutions are included in the application of this analysis of context, social interaction, offender actions/adversity, responses & resistance, social responses, and responses to social responses. To neglect the full range of contextual and interactional details surrounding violence and other forms of adversity is to risk completely misunderstanding the person.  Theories or assessments which do not take into account the context of a person who has suffered, particularly violence of human design, will likely become part of the dominant discourse and growing diagnostic categories that define mental illnesses.  The consequences of these assumptions have a direct impact on the social responses that people receive from professionals, family members, and their other important social relationships.  


Shelly’s experience includes over 20 years of direct counselling experience with children, youth, couples and families, consulting with a wide range of organizations, teaching in universities, clinical supervision and organizational development in the social service sector. Shelly has also worked with the Centre for Response-Based Practice and her colleagues Allan Wade, Linda Coates & Cathy Richardson for approximately 10 years. She is currently operating a Response-Based counselling office in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.

Shelly has been actively involved in the ongoing development of working with children and youth from a Response-Based perspective, and understanding how young people respond to, and resist experiences of violence and trauma. She also works to apply these ideas within organizational settings and leadership positions, where power and accountability are at issue. Shelly is a licensed Family Therapist, an author, and a graduate of the Doctoral Program at the TAOS Institute.

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