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  • October 15, 2023
    4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Stories Gone Missing: 

Questions I Wish I’d Been Asked 

with Piper Clyborne (Seattle Washington), Ava Elmzadeh (Southern California), and Marcy Rivas (Seattle Washington) 

October 15, 2023 Collab Salon: 4:00 – 5:30 pm NY time

What are the lost stories as yet untold, for which weve never been asked?  During an interview or therapeutic conversation, have you ever thought… “I dont know about that, but there’s a different question I want to answer?”  Have you ever thought to yourself…. “Ive thought about such and such, and no one has asked me about this.  I think I would really like to develop that story and have witness for that type of conversation…”

We are hoping to open some space, when people can talk about questions they wish they would be or would have been asked and why that question?  This is not really a workshop to learn how to ask better questions, though there are likely to be new or different questions to be gathered.  Its a chance for us to get together and get off our chests a few of the questions that we would like to be asked.  Its an opportunity for the telling some of our stories, and to do so in our own manner.

Please bring two questions you wish you could be or would have liked to been asked.

Learning Objectives

The program will support me to:

1. Develop 2-3 questions that will bring forward their untold stories, encouraging the recognizing and honoring of local knowleges, experiences, values, beliefs, and personal ethics they bring to their lives, community and work.

2. Name at least 3 practices from Narrative Therapy

3. Practice being outsider witnesses to one another in a “Talking Circle” / Definitional Ceremony process drawn from Indigenous pedagogy and Narrative Therapy.


Ava Elmzadeh (southern California): I feel grateful to have studied and trained in Narrative Therapy from the very beginning of my therapeutic career. My teachers and mentors have bestowed incredibly profound knowledge to me and I treasure each one of them. Narrative Therapy is more than a modality to me. It is a philosophy and community I’m proud to be apart of. I’m heavily influenced by Narrative practices in my work with individuals and in the graduate courses I teach. It’s just the beginning for me and I have so much more learn and so much growth ahead of me.

Piper Clyborne (Seattle Washington)

I come from…
Country roads
Oak trees
Handmade tortillas
Dirty paint brush water
I come from…
Dancing dandelions
Silly snap dragons
Hope-making heather seeds.
I come from
Freeing forests
Calming creeks
Rushing riversides

These sacred grounds formed the roots of a life led by wonderment, creative expression, curiosity, and inclusion.
I knew stories had the power to heal at age 4, when I imagined myself in preferred worlds until they became real.
I knew I had the capacity to heal at age 6, when the kids at recess would line up so I could ask them questions of reclamation for the lost stories of their hearts.
At 17 years old, I found belonging with Narrative Therapy and was graciously invited to develop the craft on the rebel shoulders of Marcy Rivas, David Epston, Michael White, and Johnella Bird—-some of the greatest healers, storytellers, scholars, nurturing rule breakers, and relational language making wizards that have ever been. They, along with Peggy Sax, built the playground of possibility for me to pursue an independent study in Narrative Therapy for my undergraduate degree and a postmodern and social constructionist education for my masters degree in Social Work. For 23 years, I have provided narratively informed  psychotherapy and community work with diverse populations around the world. I now return my feet to the discursive roots of the ground, reconnecting with the soil’s inquiry and growing into the next telling…

Marcy Rivas (Seattle, USA) was raised in a tradition of helping others, with a strong sense of kinship, strong connections to the land and its storytellers. In 1986 working as a family therapist for child protective services, I was fortunate to encounter Michael White and have been exploring the ideas and practices of social constructionism and narrative therapy ever since. I’m interested in peer professional learning groups, and providing post graduate training in narrative ideas and therapeutic practice. A storytelling approach to life started for me at a young age with stories told of the land, who our people and kin are, how we were made, and how we can grow into ourselves through the stories we tell, calling on the strength of our ancestors and community, so we might create our life’s story as one of meaning, purpose, right living and well-being.


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