Three Interviews with David Epston
Exploring Interviews with Sebastian, Joel/Viola, and Jane/Tim
What lies at the very heart of the artistry of Narrative Practice? What is a good question and what does such a question do? What is a good story and how does it does it ‘counter’ a problematic story? David has engaged with these questions for over the last 15 years in traditional live workshop formats and more recently in The Apprenticeship in the Artistry of Narrative Practice Program with David Epston, Kay Ingamells and Tom Carlson. This course demonstrates their innovative teaching methods to teach the craft and art of narrative inquiry training through transcripts and internalized other questioning. We focus on three interviews:1) David’s well-known interview and follow-up seven years later with Sebastian; 2) David’s interview with counselor Viola who has met 8 times with 16 year old Joel, and then 5 minutes in, he begins to interview her as Joel 3) David’s interview with social worker Karen as Jane and then as Jane’s son Tim. Each time, we review a recorded interview, alongside a transcript, paying close attention to questions and reflections. As well, relevant papers and essays will be distributed prior to or after each session. Along the way, David and Kay demonstrate such practices as getting to know a person’s uniqueness, counterstorying, playful approaches and imaginative knowhow, haunting from the future, and letter-writing. For those interested in learning more intensive training situated within their own practice, this series serves as a gateway to The Apprenticeship.
First Interview explores the art of narrative inquiry as applied to David’s well-known interview and follow-up seven years later with Sebastian. In addition to exploring the original video and transcript, Kay gives her commentary.
Second Interview: Here we will meet with Joel, who is 16 and has met with his counsellor 8 times. Joel has very irregular school attendance and when he does, he has panic attacks. His family migrated from South Africa when he was 12. His father has a long history of drug addiction and violence against Joel’s mother as well as Joel. Joel also has assaulted his mother. His parents are considering divorce. Prospects for his future appear very bleak save his aspiration to become a veterinarian.
Third Interview: Jane and her partner had 4 children, two of whom died from neglect. Neither were charged but their remaining two children were removed by the Child Protection Services. Her son was rejected at 11 placements and out of desperation was placed with Jane’s brother who was given custody. However, without any notice, he phoned Jane to tell her he would be dropping Tim off the next day and did so. She had not seen him for 8 years and had no preparation for this. The Child Protection Services took legal action to provide weekly surveillance of this arrangement. This interview took place with the social worker who had visited weekly over a 2 year period after which any further surveillance was waived as Jane and Tim had bonded as mother and son. And Tim had stopped ‘weirding people out’.