After Michael’s death, Maggie Carey, Shona Russell and Rob Hall renamed the small centre that Michael got started, “Narrative Practices Adelaide” (NPA). NPA has a strong desire to continue with Michael’s aims and intentions in a way that would fit with the sentiment of what he had proposed. “We see ourselves as a small, vibrant centre that collaborates with other centres and that acknowledges the rich and varied history of Michael’s work.” Here we update several of Michael’s intentions:
Michael White’s Intentions
In April, 2011, Maggie Carey, Shona Russell and Rob Hall recorded this conversation about Michael White’s intentions in starting Narrative Practices Adelaide (just a few months before his untimely death), in keeping narrative therapy flourishing, “as a beginning not an ending.” We’ve also added a transcript to read while listening.
Children, Trauma and It’s Consequences
Michael White loved to be in the company of children, and his work with children was filled with beauty, laughter and intrigue. He often spoke about the extreme importance of finding ways for children and families to address trauma. He received many referrals of children in child protection services as well as with larger systems such as Aboriginal communities impacted by suicide. In Africa, he met with over 60 agencies providing services to children impacted by AIDS epidemic.
Michael frequently spoke and wrote about a narrative approach to working with children and trauma. In Children, Trauma and Subordinate Storyline Development (International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, Responding to Trauma Part 2 -2005 Nos. 3 & 4), Michael poses the central question, “How can we ensure that children are not vulnerable to an experience of re-traumatization in the context of speaking about what they have been through?”
Establishing a network of practitioners
One of Michael’s clear intentions was to further the links and connections with the many existing centres of Narrative practice. He had envisaged such a network being a support between centres for the work that was already being done, as well as being inspiration for the further development of narrative practice. We have established links with a range of centres and with other teachers of narrative practice to further support our ongoing work to put narrative ideas into practice. The photo on the right is with Jehanzeb Baldiwala, the Director of the Mental Health Training Programme in Mumbai, India, from with the Ummeed Child Development Center in Mumbai, India.
Provision of therapy and counselling services
Shona, Rob and Maggie have a long history of providing counselling and therapeutic services in their local community. Their therapeutic work often links them with government and non-government community services and they value ongoing working relationship with a range of family and community agencies in Adelaide. Please click here to learn more about their Narrative Therapy Counseling Services.
The teaching faculty at Narrative Practices Adelaide includes Maggie Carey, Shona Russell, Rob Hall, Lisa Johnson and Terry Callahan. Maggie and Shona have been involved in the teaching of narrative therapy and community work for many years, both in Australia and internationally. Maggie and Shona offer skills based workshops in Adelaide for people new to narrative practice and for experienced practitioners. Relevant to working with individuals, families, groups and communities, these trainings include a year long certificate programme in narrative practice. The focus of NPA workshops and training programs focuses on rich story development, narrative approaches to children and families, working with families and children living with disabilities,narrative approaches to supervision, men, trauma and violence, and community assignments. You can learn more by clicking here.
Narrative Approaches for Aboriginal people
Maggie, Shona and Rob have taught for many years as facilitators for the Diploma of Narrative Approaches for Aboriginal people (counselling, group and community work), a TAFE accredited diploma that is run through the Regional Centre at Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia. One of the last meetings in which Michael participated the day before he left Adelaide for teaching overseas was with the education team at Nunkuwarrin Yunti. At this meeting Michael and Maggie discussed with the team the possibilities of creating a more visible link between ANTC and the teaching that was taking place in this course. You’ll see on the left a photo of recent graduates of the two year Diploma in narrative approaches for working with Aboriginal communities.
Men and Violence
Addressing men’s violence was one of the first clear starting points for teamwork at Narrative Practices Adelaide, and incorporated into the broader training of their certificate course.We include here a brief audio recording of a conversation when Rob, Shona and Maggie reflect on taking a narrative focus to working with men and Alan Jenkins framework for “Invitations to Responsibility.” Through this closer look, they began to highlight relevant themes, which were further brought to life through their own counseling work and teaching. conversation. Prior to this recording, Rob, Shona and Maggie reviewed notes from Michael’s intensive on working with the effects of violence and abuse and from conversations they had with Michael about men’s violence.Michael had been looking forward to extending on the ways in which narrative practice might contribute to the work with men who use violence in their relationships.
Michael White left behind many excellent books and articles. Maggie, Shona, Rob and their associates continue the commitment to publish about narrative therapy. You can read more about their publications here.