What were Michael’s hopes and intentions for the future of Narrative Therapy? What’s been happening over the past decade that honors these intentions? In 2011, three of Michael’s closest colleagues- Maggie Carey, Rob Hall and Shona Russell – identified seven of Michael’s most cherished intentions: Children, Trauma & Its Consequences; Addressing Men’s Violence; Counseling in a Range of Contexts; Supporting Aboriginal, Indigenous and Community Workers; Continuing the Spirit of Inquiry; Developing Training Opportunities; Establishing Networks of Providers. We’ve organized our web-project in the hopes that you will help us take stock of the many initiatives honoring each of these intentions. If you have something to share, please fill out our contribution form here.
Reflecting on Michael’s Intentions – Maggie Carey, Rob Hall & Shona Russell
In January, 2008, Michael established “Adelaide Narrative Therapy Centre (ANTC)” — a new centre for narrative teaching and practice in Adelaide. After Michael’s death, Maggie Carey, Shona Russell and Rob Hall renamed this small centre that Michael got started, “Narrative Practices Adelaide” (NPA). “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.” In April, 2011, they recorded a conversation about several of Michael’s intentions in keeping narrative therapy flourishing, “as a beginning not an ending.”
It’s interesting to remember how enthusiastic Michael was when we would meet in his kitchen as a little group to talk about these ideas and to build on them together. Rob Hall
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. What contribution would you like to make to this tapestry of narrative initiatives with children and their families?
We begin by reviewing a brief audio edit of a “Narrative Practices Adelaide” conversation. Toward addressing violence in their work with men, Maggie, Shona and Rob reflected on their teamwork and Alan Jenkins framework for “Invitations to Responsibility.” In addition, we add below a number of projects and few (of many) Friday Afternoon Videos sponsored by the Dulwich Centre. Do you have something to contribute? We welcome other articles, recordings and reflections!
Michael talked about his hope to return to doing direct work with people with complex needs. As an illustration, we begin with Narrative Practices Adelaide and their commitment to providing counseling 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 join us in describing similar initiatives where you live.
Supporting Aboriginal, Indigenous & Community Workers
Michael was committed to developing respectful narrative approaches to working with Aboriginal workers in Australia. In addition, we’d like to show here other narrative initiatives working with Aboriginal and Indigenous people, as well as Community Workers such as in Burundi and India.
Michael was keenly interested in exploring the development of ideas and developments in the field of social and human inquiry. While alive, he initiated many opportunities for people around the world to get together and talk about ideas and to pay attention to what they triggered and sparked. We include here a brief conversation between his close colleagues Maggie, Shona and Rob who describe some of the ways they have been able to continue these explorations. We also include some Dulwich Centre Friday Afternoon videos. What are some of the ways you are continuing the exploration- and cross-pollination?
We begin with a brief audio recording – and transcript- in which Narrative Practices Adelaide describes Michael’s intention to grow narrative therapy trainings. Then we add several training initiatives in training. Please send us some of your own! Note: Further description of Higher Education initiatives can be found in Next Generations.
One of Michael’s clear intentions was to further the links and connections with the many existing centers of Narrative practice. He had envisioned 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. In the past decade, a range of centers have become linked with each other and with other teachers of narrative practice. Please join us by contributing news of your center, consultation group and/or other narrative training program. Together we wish to support each other’s ongoing work to put narrative ideas into practice. The future of narrative therapy rests on our shoulders!