Two Interviews with David Epston

Counterstorying, Hauntings from the Future, Wonderfulness Enquiries & Possibilities from the Future

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Course Description

The second course in this series applies to two interviews the pedagogy David has engaged with over the last 15 years in traditional live workshop formats. Through working with transcripts, we will explore  two inter-woven themes: 1) what is a good question and what does such a question do? and 2) what is a good story and how does it ‘counter’ a problematic story?

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.

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.

Immersion Learning through Transcripts

Each interview and its transcript  gives an insider view of David’s inventive interviewing practices. We strongly recommend finding at least one other person with whom to take the course and share your responses. Ideally, take this course as part of a local study group or use it as a way to bring together a new group. Alternatively, please Contact us if you would like help finding a Study-Buddy; keep in mind it will easier for us to do so if you have registered at a time when others are also registering such as during the Early Bird period.

We believe this course and its two interviews make excellent teaching materials for graduate training programs  Please contact us for an institutional rate if you wish to use these materials for other than personal use.

Course Objectives

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To Register

Registration gives unlimited access to all course materials for personal use for an unlimited time.  You can start this course at anytime: all course materials are available on-demand, and adaptable to personal schedules. For an additional $25, registrants can earn 8 APA approved CE credits through Alliant International University.

Discounted rates available for students or fixed income, international registrants, and groups of 5 or more.
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If Registered, Click Here to Take the Course

Course Contributors

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David Epston

David Epston (Auckland, New Zealand) David Epston, co-founder of narrative therapy alongside Michael white, brings a sense of wonder, adventure and innovation to his conversations and collaborations. What makes a good question? What guides inquiry in narrative therapy? What are some narrative lines of inquiry? The collaboration between David and Michael began in the late 1970s, as continued for many years. David’s best known publications are White and Epston(1990), Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends; Freeman, Epston and Lobovits(1997), Playful Approaches to Serious Problems: Narrative Therapy with Children and their Families and Maisel, Epston and Borden(2004), Biting The Hand That Starves You: Inspiring Resistance to Anorexia/Bulimia, Narrative Therapy in Wonderland.

For more information, please review: David Epston: Improvisations, innovations and collaborations.

Kay Ingamells M.S.W., (Auckland, New Zealand) has been working with individuals, children, young people and families since 1990. Kay began her career working with troubled young people and children in residential care and in specialist agencies,  then spent nine years working in child and adolescent mental health. For the past ten years she has lectured in narrative therapy in higher education at undergraduate and post-graduate level and has been running a private therapy and counselling practice for children, families, young people and adults. For the last 12 years she has been supervised by the co-inventor of Narrative Therapy, David Epston, and has taught alongside David for the last 5 years. Kay has published several articles. She is currently writing and presenting about her apprenticeship with David Epston. She also provides one-on-one and group training called ‘Training Through Transcripts’, to narrative practitioners committed to bringing David’s practices into their own work.

Lesson Descriptions

Lesson One: Setting the Stage

We introduce David, Kay and the course, give an overview of Contemporary Narrative Therapy describe specific terms like Counterstorying Practices,  Wonderfulness Enquiries , Going Offroad, Witnessing and Possibilities from the future. Kay highlight what to watch for in the interviews.

Lesson Two: The Joel/Viola Interview

Joels’ wonderfulnesses are brought forth and witnessed in multiple ways. The wonderfulnesses are brought forward into the future and set against the problem using internalised other interviewing and future forecasting. A counter-story is told about Joel’s moral identity and this storying is witnessed by the important others in his life in such a way that the effects of the past violence are acknowledged and transformed inside this imagined future.

Lesson Three: “Catchy title?” Interview with Tim’s Social Worker

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’. We explore a range of themes including Magnification, The person in community rather than in isolation, Internalised other Conversations, Twisty Questions, Finding counter-story threads, Finding story in the particular and Counter-storying from a number of directions.

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Lesson Four: Reflections & Inquiry

Kay and David explore some of the narrative practices illustrated in these two interviews, and explore take-aways for how narrative practitioners might make creative use of these learnings.

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Lesson Five: Where Do We Go From Here?

Guided by learnings from internalized other interviews, what comes next?  What are some of the take-aways and how might narrative practitioners make creative use of these learnings? For anyone who wishes to continue in this series, we introduce the next two interviews.

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