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Instructor Interview: Judith Richardson

Instructor Interview: Judith Richardson

Written by ETIA Admin

Judith, what would you say after 30 years teaching the ET skills in your private practise?

Never underestimate the impact of what you teach and model.  Remind yourself often that you make a huge difference, even in the conversations you have with potential participants even those who may not sign up.  And if you spot someone in your group that would be a great advocate and instructor, just ask them you may make the biggest difference in their lives and in their families lives too, and create a ripple.

It can be quite isolating running a sole practise so I found ways to stay fresh, like keeping connected with other instructors; becoming a trainer and bringing on new instructors; creating supportive events (I love our Xmas in February in Melbourne and our zoom coffee catchups with Anne-Marije), upskilling to BYB, TET and now LET.; volunteering in all different ways in ETIA.  And my latest learning curve – coordinating the newsletter.  

What inspired you to become an ETIA Ltd. instructor? 

I met Cheryl Barr, an 80’s and 90’s rock star PET instructor, during a 6month leadership course. She taught my husband John and I PET and it was her invite to become an instructor that sparked my ETIA journey.  This coincided with my desire to leave the corporate world to be more available to my two young children and create a homebased counselling and training business. 

So off I went into the unknown of running my own business which I called ‘EsTeam’, a take on ET skills, self-esteem and Team.  The name was lost on most but it kept me clear about what I was up to.  One of my participants was a graphic designer and he created a logo with a heart in it as a thank you. Aw.

When I see my own children speaking and listening and cleaning up communication I am grateful to Cheryl for seeing me and to myself for sticking at it even when it felt tough.

How did you gather your first group of participants, any tips?

This was pre-internet so I wrote a list of 50 people and called them all. I had only lived in Australia for 5 years so this was probably everyone I knew! I asked if they were interested in PET, and if not, did they know anyone who would be,  and if not, then was there any other way they could support me to get started?  

Life had taught me that people are really kind and generous and want you to win.  They like to be asked and if they were a ‘no’, then I respected that the ‘no’ was not personal to me.  The trick is being brave and inviting them.  If it was a ‘no’ then always have an alternative course date to offer. 

I found having a few arms to my business was helpful in keeping a balance.

What were the significant areas of growth and change for your participants after completing the course?

Participants are amazing, apart from repairing and transforming their relationships they made all manner of major life changes both big and small.  

Often parents are at a transition point when they reach out to do PET and their family issues are just reflecting a larger symptom.  I love teaching adults. PET is so subtle and powerfully put together that the changes in awareness for parents come about so subtly that you never have to force anything or feel preachy.

 Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for new instructors who are hesitating or are about to conduct their first course?

Gosh, if I can do it you surely can. You will always have self-doubts but they don’t need to be running the show.  I find creating a powerful intention for my next course such as “this group of 10 will come together and roll out with ease and joy”, is super helpful.  The skills, the manual and the materials are fabulous, your participants are on your side so you cannot go wrong, in fact in all my time teaching and supporting instructors this has never happened.  And remember you know 100% more about the skills than your participants.  So have fun, if you ever get the wobbles call me and we can get you back on track again. 

This quote really sings to me, ”Business thrives in the intersection where your gifts, passion and purpose meet the world’s needs.  

What are your future plans and is there anything else you would like to say? 

John and I are 70 this year and he has just launched into what he is calling his ‘seniors gap year’! As I transition into the succession phase of my career, my aim is to nurture the next generation of Instructor Trainers to continue the organization’s growth and amplify the impact of these skills. 

Over the years I have trained over 70 Instructors and I consider this a privilege and a high point of my career.  

As to becoming a GTI and ETIA Master Trainer.  This was a result of Kathryn and myself successfully delivering a recorded PET online course that met with GTI’s approval.  Even as an experienced Instructor I had to get through the terror barrier being recorded and watched by Linda Adams (President of GTI and author of the BYB program and Thomas Gordons life partner!!).  

Linda’s feedback to us was simple, “textbook PET”.  I nearly cried, “well I actually did have a wee tear. The result being that our programs can now be delivered online and that ripple went global! 

Appreciation: Thank you Kathryn, for kindly assisting me in this transition with the newsletter. And for your years of dedication to us and the huge positive ripples you have made in our community and the world.  And your great newsletters, Facebook posts, website, PD sessions and for the hundreds other ways you have supported us and in particular the positive culture and safe space you have created for us to flourish. Huge ripples. Yes, I have a huge crush and I look forward to our next project post LET co-facilitation. 

ETIA Admin

ETIA Admin


The Effectiveness Training Institute of Australia (ETIA) Ltd is a not-for-profit, community based organisation that is dedicated to making courses in communication and conflict resolution skills available and accessible to all people in Australia.

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Loving Family | About ETIA

About ETIA

The Effectiveness Training Institute of Australia (ETIA) Ltd is a not-for-profit, community based organisation that is dedicated to making courses in communication and conflict resolution skills available and accessible to all people in Australia.

ETIA’s mission is to provide individuals with effective communication and conflict resolution skills to build connected, harmonious relationships.

Our inspiration and programs come from the late Dr Thomas Gordon who is the author and founder of Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) program and Gordon Training International (GTI).

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