Course Feedback

Recent feedback from participants of The Challenge of Change Resilience Training. Feedback is invited anonymously from participants but the names of the companies implementing the training have been provided.



Jade Software, July 2023

  • I find the systematic approach to identifying stress is helpful for me to apply it. I will try to establish the regular practice in my daily life.
  • Don't avoid things because of a fear of situations that haven't happened and use people to work through them
  • This has help me realise certain aspects I've had in front of me but didn't realise. It has also help me gain confidence in managing situations. This was awesome!
  • Working on my stress means working on myself and that will be a long battle. Everything helps, so thank you.
  • Peter was a great facilitator and was able to ensure all remained engaged and interacted. He never shut anyone down and knew when to push a bit more to get a wider discussion from the group or a deeper/clearer understanding from a participant.

Ministry for Primary Industries, May 2023

  • I will work on detaching myself from a  problem and removing my emotions I think will help me be less stressed.
  • Reframing I feel stressed thought or spoken word to I feel under pressure.
  • Be more conscious of what turns pressure into stress and how to let go of negative thoughts/emotions.
  • I am prone to rumination and getting bogged down in emotion from intrusive thoughts.  I will try to develop a more balanced ladder across all 5 rungs to detach from thoughts and let them pass.
  • Cynthia is an excellent facilitator, presenter and practitioner. This course was well paced and varied, keeping participants engaged. Hugely valuable skills for life!


Bay of Plenty Regional Council, May 2023

  • The discussions around waking up and taking emotion (negative) out of the equation. Train the brain – controlled attention.
  • The facilitator was superb – kept the sessions moving along while enabling all to participate. Beautifully lured the quiet ones into the conversation. Gave personal and relevant examples of each of the topics.
  • Differentiating between pressure and stress. That both problems and solutions were given focus and attention not just one or the other.
  • Understanding my thinking habits that tip me into stress and having tools to get off the ground floor.

Balance Agri-Nutrients, April 2023

  • It can help unpack thing both professionally and personally.
  • Excellent way to unpack what’s going on upstairs (in the mind).
  • It makes you realise how much of your brain is in charge of you.
  • A good example was how to control our emotions against a non-favourable situation. How to detach ourselves.


Active+ Physio, April 2023

  • Work on active reflection rather than rumination. Identification of emotions and appropriate sharing of these with friends & whanau.
  • When I recognise I am about to have an emotional response, I’ll take a moment to reflect and see it in perspective.
  • Celia has a great presentation style. Very open, friendly and authentic
  • Fantastic. Felt engaged throughout.
  • Excellent facilitator, explains very well and went into detail. Enjoyed very much. Fantastic course.


Eastpak, August 2022

  • It has a profound effect on me.  It gave a name to my pain point and tools to manage it.  It is no longer the beast I am scared of.
  • Provides practical tools to help build resilience in a work or home environment.
  • The combination of practical and theory was hugely beneficial to me.
  • Celia’s facilitation skills are a credit to her.


Mitre10, March and May 2019

  • Analogies + diagrams help you to relate to your own life experience. Engaging presenter (Fraser) helps me want to be involved.
  • Understanding what happens to us with stress and the ways it makes us feel.  Why would we not want to change the way we think about these things?
  • Take a step back in my personal life & think… is it really worth dwelling over in the first place?
  • Fraser was a very good presenter. He was wonderful at holding everyone’s attention & keeping it interesting.
  • When my mental conversation is full of ‘what if’s and if only – switch to what are the actions I need to do to solve the problem

SportNZ, June 2018

  • A fresh approach to a complex issue.
  • Excellent facilitator – used real life examples
  • When approaching new situations, I will be conscious of identifying the extra pressure as pressure and not stress; it will hopefully help with reducing anxiety prior to events.
  • Not only insightful for work but personal life – can use learning in both work context and at home.
  • Gives you some awesome tools in how to combat stress, recognise stress and how to let it go.
  • Not over complicated. Sense to ‘realness’ to the approach in developing resilience. Facilitator was engaging and professional.

NIWA, May 2018

  • Amazing course, well worth my time
  • Real life examples, helps relate to situations
  • Applications in personal and work life. Very positive
  • Making an effort to look after my mental well-being and reduce/remove stress
  • Best course I have attended in the last 10 years @ NIWA
  • Only multi-day training I have done that held my attention for long periods

Bay of Plenty Regional Council, March 2018

  • Understand now how I think and look at issues and try to resolve them. Need to detach from the emotional sides of issues
  • Excellent presenter in Cynthia.  She made the course content understandable and relatable. Gave me some personal skills to help me in everyday and professional life
  • I can see areas where I am less than productive and can out in strategies to improve
  • Recognising areas within myself that need attending and learning how to deal with them
  • Recognising aspects of my personality that keep me more anxious or prevent me from moving forward. Been given some tools to address this
  • Recognising all the mind noise going on, identifying when I am in waking sleep state and able to bring my attention back to the present. Being more aware and conscious

ACC, April 2017

  • Very good session and well presented.
  • This was amazing - thanks!
  • This session was very engaging session
  • I thought this was an outstanding session - Cynthia was excellent in her facilitating role. It wasn't new information but allowed thinking about resilience in another way and provided some practical things to use
  • This was a fantastic addition to the day
  • Good presenter but rather long winded (prefer more action orientated courses).
  • Fantastic facilitator and great workshop
  • Some good tips in here
Resilience workshop: no value little value some value very valuable extremely valuable
The Challenge of Change - Cynthia Johnson 0.00% 0.00% 14.29% 21.43% 64.29% 

Powershop, March 2017

  • The workshop helped me understand how to manage and overcome factors which cause stress.
  • Helped me identify some less than flattering personality traits which I wouldn't have looked at before.
  • Helped identify my own thought process, and how I can show/help someone who I am close with.
  • It gave great examples and tips on dealing with stress and how to look at it differently.
  •  Peter is is very knowledgeable.  Uses good examples. Examples I can relate to.
  • Articulate facilitator who kept my attention throughout – very enjoyable course.
  • Was easy to listen to and understand. Really loved the analogies and also how he gives his own personal experiences.
  • Bro you're really good, you even got the tough ones in the group engaged. Thank you very much and you explained things easy and made it very understandable and easy to relate to.

AsureQuality, Leaders group, December 2016

  • Cynthia made it real and everyone responses were right for them. Easy to relate to the concepts and find new tools to put in place.  Recognition that all stress is bad.
  • Cynthia has the ability to be the person/voice inside your head! It was very clear that most of us recognised the conversations but were not intimidated by the fact of them being identified.  Detaching and letting go particularly helpful.
  • Practical tools to use. Explanation about the biological basis of pressure v stress, Understanding that stress isn't good at any level and why.
  • Cynthia was a great facilitator – kept my attention – good/real examples.  Good mix of theory with exercises to help demonstrate. Very interesting.
  • Great examples, use of humour, explanations, creating an environment where everyone can contribute freely was good.

 Manager, Ministry of Primary Industries, August 2016

  • I wanted to say thank you Peter for the course you ran in Nelson last week. I personally found it one of the most useful courses I have done professionally and have definitely noticed how much of my time can be better utilised than waking sleep (still a little shocked at how much has previously been / still is…)!
  •  … the facilitation was great for our team and I think your approach and peaceful nature really helped me to absorb what you were presenting. I've been more inspired than usual to apply the practises and it is still coming up in conversation both in and out of work. Common sense in a lot of ways, but also very common to struggle/be in waking sleep.

Bank of New Zealand, August 2016

  • I found all aspects really beneficial e.g. were all really relevant to everyday living.
  • The course structure was brilliant – working through understanding stress and pressure and relating it to live situations.  The group exercises were great also and Cynthia's delivery an humour excellent.
  • Everything was relevant and easily could connect examples personally and professionally.
  • The real life situations/scenarios used that everyone can relate to in one way or another.

Comvita, July 2016

  • Challenging topic but everyone can relate to this.  Some of it is a real eye opener and becoming more relevant in a busier world.
  • Think it's almost a life skill.
  • Peter's facilitation style and course content useful (practical and relevant).
  • Great facilitation – nice link to science - very topical.
  • Simple, practical, non-fluffy advice.
  • Very enjoyable.  Peter is extremely knowledgeable, engaging and applies a sense of humour.
  • Most people would benefit from these skills – both as a manager and employee.
  • Thanks for sharing your knowledge. You were funny, engaging facilitator. I learnt a lot and appreciate how you made this a safe place for self-reflection.

Sport New Zealand, June 2016

  • It was the right mix of theory and practical.
  • Practical and useful in the real world.
  • Very relevant to what we experience as leaders.  Very practical and useful tips.
  • It is a window of opportunity for self-examination that most people don't access.  A course like this forces you to take this opportunity.
  • The strategies presented were practical ways of dealing with every day solutions.
  • Delivered well, good personal examples.
  • Thanks Peter for shared learning and getting the best out of the group and me as an individual.
  • Very good presenter.  Had great rapport with us.
  • Great job – well delivered with good facilitation and blend of fact, fiction and humour.

Fertility Associates, June/July 2015

  • Cynthia was fascinating and I really enjoyed her.  Kept my attention the whole time. Excellent!
  • In a team environment when a colleague is "stuck" and wont (cant) let a point go, we can now use a common language to encourage them to move up into the loft.
  • Course was excellent and highly recommend it to people. Gave good insight into my working relationship with team along with understanding

University of Canterbury, June 2015

  • I have learned the damage stress and rumination can do to my health and affect the quality of my life. Cynthia is an awesome and engaging presenter.
  • Really impressed. Has made a difference already
  • I tend to procrastinate over tasks I think will be challenging.  I will now approach these by getting 'into the loft' asking myself '"what's that worse that could happen?" then detaching myself – let go of feelings – be objective.

Mitre 10, April May 2014

  • This course is probably the first course that is so simple yet so complex at the same time.  It was strange that even though it didn't feel like you were learning things, you actually learned more.  As a presenter Cynthia is extremely knowledgeable, and your highly academic background only added to the course enjoyment.  Thanks for coming to Mitre 10.
  • This has been the most valuable session I've attended.  It has made it more possible for me to understand myself and be able to implement change to enhance myself and my reports' activities.
  • The evidence-based approach used by this programme made it very real and practical – it wasn't based on traditional 'fluff' and theories.  It was very insightful and has given me the opportunity to empower myself now – there is no-one stopping me except me!  Thank you very much.

Auckland University of Technology, February 2014

  • Brilliant, enjoyable and useful day.  Cynthia is very warm and real and she made this 'make sense'.
  • Fantastic presenter.  Life experiences give/provide a connection and glue to what has been covered.  Humourous. Excellent day thank you.
  • Excellent time well spent.  Great facilitation!

Carter Holt Harvey, 2014

  • In future stress situations I will step away from it instead of dealing with it in my mind over and over again.
  • I'm going to focus on waking up and develop strategies and tactics to stop ruminating
  • Thank you.  I really enjoyed the course.  I have learned heaps and will take this home to share with my family

SHINE, September 2014

  • The differences between pressure and stress were well explained and having a way to reframe difficult issues which confront us is very useful.
  • It changed everything for me and I have started thinking about some things that have been upsetting me in a different way.
  • The imagery of the house and sitting above in the loft was a great way to get perspective and get a grip!
  • One of those trained got very het up about a decision and drove home repeating the mantra, 'I'm in my loft, I'm in my loft' and calmed down. Next morning she came in with a totally new concept. She felt that letting go of her frustration and focussing on coming up with a better idea was extremely positive.

Clemenger BBDO, September 2014

  • I think this course has outlined a bad habit that I never thought was breakable. I also never connected this absent-mindedness with stress. Working on controlling and mastering my attention will certainly help with productivity.
  • I feel I'll be able to step back and think of the work as "the work", letting it be neutral so I'm not personally offended or upset by criticism. Will also help me be more collaborative.
  • The loft terminology is great – now I know what to call it and organise my thoughts.

Genesis Energy, July 2014

  • 'It's made me be aware of my attention and when necessary get into the loft by gaining perspective either from good self-questioning or from other perspectives."
  • "For me this course applies more to my personal life, but for work I think it will help me with presenting, not worrying a week in advance!
  • "It's made me want to build on my profile outcome. I want to focus on my Emotional Intelligence."

Ministry for Primary Industries, December 2012

  • "Totally brilliant course – common sense and feel very empowered to work on increasing resilience and decreasing stress. I leave the course with the confidence that I will be able to change my own behaviour and be able to influence those people closest to me (work and home).  Thanks."
  • "Overall fantastic. Simple, practical skills. I will be able to use these in my everyday life and make a real change.  Thank you."
  •  "Loved the presentation style!  Extremely valuable indeed to take back to work. The 'being awake' idea is transformational." 
  • "Very interesting, and important/relevant particularly in a world of increasing pressure with e-mails and smartphones. Very well pitched, I remained awake for all of the session (well most) – really!  Really enjoyed Derek's style, thoughtfulness, wisdom and the woven threads of subtle humour. I do hope this work continues widely and we have more happy people. Your tools could change the world! Thank you."

HRINZ 'Open Session' March 2011 Wellington

  • "Derek is so easy to listen to and even though the programme is based on scientific empirical data it actually is quite pragmatic!"
  • "Great presentation style.  Grounded content excellent. Useful for my work – thank you so much."
  • "A different way of thinking about stress – I will go off with the challenge of ruminating less, being more efficient and living longer! I hope I'm up to the challenge!"

Christchurch City Council, March 2010

  • "This is one of the best training workshops I have experienced, would recommend to everyone. Nice relaxed presentation." 

Fonterra, April and June 2010

  • "Excellent course – feel like I've found a way to really live my life. Feel very energised and motivated – everyone needs this. Thank you." 
  • "From my perspective this was a very affirming course. The Profile provided a very accurate picture of me on areas which I thought might be quite negative personality traits. To find out that they were 'positive' was very affirming." 

NZ Medical Council, July 2010

  • "I enjoyed that the course was pragmatic and based on evidence and research, rather than 'waffly' management buzz words and concepts." 
  • "Enjoyable course with clear benefits. Refreshing to have things explained in a completely different way, with clear ways to put change in place." 

Public Trust, July 2010

  • "My initial attitude was that I had too much on to attend. Wrong! Very worthwhile and I look forward to sharing it with colleagues and family (already started)." 
  • "Thanks so much! Really enjoyed the whole session. You have made me extremely aware. One of the best seminars I have attended!" 

University of Canterbury, August 2010

  • "Enjoyed the comprehensiveness of the course. Well organised, planned well. Facilitation open. Appreciated the simplicity of the programme, easy to understand concepts that I was able to implement immediately. Came at the right time for me personally as I am about to move from an admin to a management role." 
  • "Very refreshing to have a course based on research, rather than platitudes. Also to have a clear, straightforward application path to follow." 
  • "I thoroughly enjoyed the course and will definitely recommend it to staff members in my team who I think will benefit. I will work even harder to separate the 'job or task' and the person. Thanks for a fantastic course."

The Warehouse, March and June 2010

  • "This course has a great process to manage stress and I will definitely be putting it into practice at work and at home. It was explained very clearly how to put the procedures in place!" 
  • "Great session, best I've been on so far, good amount of balance between session and breaks." 
  • "Fascinating. Really recommend to all. Great to have an intelligent speaker who really knows what he is talking about and is very passionate." 

Landcare Research, August 2010

"Fantastic presenter, with a clear knowledge of the science behind the issues discussed during the day. This is very important when dealing with scientists! Thank you." 

HRINZ Professional Development programme, April 2010

  • "One of the most refreshing courses that I have been on in years. Extremely relevant and wonderfully presented." 
  • "Brilliant. I will be recommending to other people in my organisation. I look forward to practising! And curing my rumination! I am pleased that I finally have an answer to the question 'why are you always sick when you're so physically fit?' Answer: 'I'm a chronic ruminator!'." 
  • "I thought that this was an excellent course. It provided a lot of insight and an interesting way of thinking about stress. I really liked the personality profile exercise. Great concept of waking sleep! Would definitely recommend!" 

Sealord Group, September 2010

  • "Fantastic! No wonder some people have said this is life changing. Really appreciated your sense of humour, your ability to answer some hard questions but this was because you know your topic incredibly well and have the research and evidence to back it up. Thank you so much." 
  • "Thank you, I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and learned a lot about myself and about others." 
  • "Excellent course. Refreshing to listen to simple common sense and practical. Very 'safe' training (i.e., no role-plays etc.). Would highly recommend."

Department of Internal Affairs, September 2010

  • "Presentation style is calm and measured, I enjoyed this. You have given me much to think about – not ruminate about!" 
  • "I was kept attentive throughout the course and have found all aspects worthwhile and informative. Very well presented and very good flow." 
  • "Presentation was very interesting, it was nice to see my personality profile and have a basis for something I could relate to that was about me. Very well presented, would love a return session."