Second Course in the Foundations and New Horizons in Narrative Therapy Series!

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Contemporary Narrative Therapy

Course Description

Nearly 40 years ago, Michael White and David Epston founded Narrative Therapy, establishing the philosophical foundations, key concepts, ethical considerations, and specific practices.  Building on a spirit of wonder, adventure, and innovation, Michael and David gave voice to the hope and intention that we would continue to try out different modes of inquiry, come up with new practices, and integrate these cherished ways of being with people that fit with our own local experiences and socio-political contexts. Hence, contemporary narrative therapy was born.

Now under construction,  Contemporary Narrative Therapy celebrates the emergence of a new generation of narrative practitioners. While honoring narrative therapy cofounders and mentors, we situate this new course in the changing landscape of the 21st century. What are some of the creative innovations emerging from new horizons and cross-pollination with other cherished approaches?  After 15 years of co-learning,  we witness fresh voices across narrative generations as they strive to be useful to those consulting with them to navigate difficulties in today’s world.

Course Content

This course extends Narrative Therapy: Foundations & Key Concepts to highlight contemporary developments in narrative therapy. Since the death of Michael White in 2008, narrative therapy has continued to evolve, with younger generations learning from and building on it. Through a variety of presentations, our course contributors illustrate a shift towards collaborative learning in narrative therapy, highlighting co-learning, inclusivity and embracing different forms of knowledge and experience.   Their illustrations feature creativity, fearlessness, and diversity as they create a more inclusive and responsive approach to therapy that is adaptable to different contexts and forms of knowledge.

Course Format

In addition to fresh interviews, we draw from our multi-media library of Past Collab Salons, Consultation Groups, and interviews to feature diverse voices applying narrative therapy in various contexts.

Course Objectives

Participants will: 

    1. Gain an understanding of Contemporary Narrative Therapy that has been developing over the past 15 years.
    2. Identify how Contemporary Narrative Therapy aspires to embody Michael White’s spirit and his approach to the artistry of practice.
    3. Describe three cultural-historical developments influencing the evolution of narrative therapy.
    4. Articulate the key role of diversity, accountability, race, and privilege in contemporary narrative therapy
    5. Identify several developments in working with children and teens, working with couples, and end-of-life conversations.
    6. Learn about innovations interfacing narrative therapy with expressive arts, the body and affect, taking narrative practices outside, reclaiming lives from sexual abuse, and imaginative know-how.
    7. Explore new developments in narrative writing practices.

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. Pending approval, registrants can earn 16 APA approved CE credits through Alliant International University for an additional $25.

Discounted rates will be available for students or fixed income, international registrants, and groups of 5 or more.
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Add Alliant CE Credit $40
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Course Contributors

Daniel Angus

Daniel Angus (Sydney Australia) is a Psychologist and board approved clinical supervisor who splits his time supporting early career helping professionals, seeing clients in his private practice and fulfilling his commitments to a range of organisations, one of which is as Deputy Commissioner for the New South Wales Mental Health Commission. Daniel was formerly managing headspace services, a busy adolescent mental health service supporting young people in both a Primary care setting and those with first episode psychosis in Western Sydney. More recently, Daniel held a National position with Canteen Australia providing support to Canteen’s Psychosocial Staff employed to support young people impacted by Cancer. Daniel has worked in a range of public and non-government services and continues to provide consultation to various boards and committees. Daniel has a strong interest in creative recovery, focused on collaborative treatment approaches and has trained specifically in Narrative therapy and particularly passionate about creative and engaging approaches in adolescent mental health.

Marie-Nathalie Beaudoin

Marie-Nathalie Beaudoin, Ph.D., deeply cherishes nature and values being a mother, wife, activist, consultant, teacher, and compassionate practitioner. She was born and raised in Canada, is French speaking, loves cross-country skiing, dancing, rock climbing, and hiking snowy mountain peaks.

Marie-Nathalie directs Skills for Kids, Parents & Schools (SKIPS), a 9-month intense narrative therapy, neurobiology and mindfulness training program in California where she works with children, adults, families, and school communities. Prior to immersing herself in narrative therapy in the early 1990s, Marie-Nathalie had trained in Human Biology and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. She now brings together fields that have influenced her life and work for the last 30 years, and as a result has pioneered narrative clinical practices to respond to distressing emotions and traumatic experiences. She has written over 50 professional articles and many books such as the popular The SKiLL-ionaire in every child: Boosting childrens socio-emotional skills using the latest in brain research (2010), written for parents, teachers and counselors (French, English, Spanish). She has also co-authored Collaborative Therapies and neurobiology: Evolving practices in action (Beaudoin & Duvall, 2017), and Mindfulness in a busy world: Lowering barriers for youth & adults to cultivate focus, emotional peace & gratefulness (Beaudoin & Maki, 2021). Her latest book, co-authored with Gerald Monk is currently in press with WW Norton and titled: Narrative practices and emotions: 40+ ways to support the emergence of flourishing identities. It combines her lifelong passion for the immense possibilities inherent to our bodies and brains, with novel narrative practices inspired by Interpersonal Neurobiology, Sensorimotor Therapy, and Positive Psychology. With a background in improvisational theater and dance, Marie-Nathalie is well-known for her thought provoking and engaging presentations. Her websites are www.mnbeaudoin.com and www.skillsforkids-SKIPS.com.

Maggie Carey

Maggie Carey learned narrative interviewing practices as a close associate of Michael White, co-founder of narrative therapy. Maggie was a founding member of Narrative Practices Adelaide, the center Michael started in 2008, just a few months before his untimely death. Alongside her colleagues Shona Russell and Rob Hall, she was involved in the teaching of narrative therapy and community work for many years, both in Australia and internationally. Prior to the establishment of NPA, Maggie was a cherished member of the Dulwich Centre teaching faculty. Now retired, Maggie thoroughly enjoys engaging with her home, gardens, family and community in Adelaide, S. Australia.

Merle Conyer

Merle Conyer (Sydney, Australia) works at the intersection of trauma, healing and justice with adults, service providers, teams and communities. Through her independent practice she offers counselling, supervision, training, groupwork and wellbeing support in diverse organisational and cultural contexts. Her approach interweaves interdisciplinary wisdoms such as narrative therapy, somatic psychotherapies, trauma-specific practices, ecological psychotherapy and anti-oppressive practice, and is guided by both clinical and cultural supervision from Aboriginal mentors.

Current contexts of contribution include health, legal, government, advocacy and community services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services, refugee and asylum seeker services, organisations facilitating redress for institutional sexual abuse and historical state removal of First Nations children, and those contributing to human rights, social justice, environmental justice and disaster recovery.

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.

Jenny Freeman

Jenny (Jennifer) Freeman is inspired to engage our field as we respond to calls for environmental/social healing and justice. Meeting with people of all ages in independent practice, group, & school settings, she loves collaborative creativity, interweaving Narrative and Just therapies with somatic, expressive arts, & energy therapies. She co-hosts narrativeapproaches.com & Reauthoring Teaching’s Earth’s Environmental Crisis & Opportunity. She collaborated with Dr. Akansha Vaswani-Bye on a Mad in America podcast and contributed a blog & interview for The Psychotherapy Networker, and other media interviews. Earlier work includes Playful Approaches to Serious Problems: Narrative Therapy with Children and their Families, Freeman, Epston, and Lobovits (1997); Enter the Magic Sleep Garden (2007), audio/booklet, & multiple chapters in edited books.https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-freeman-mft-reat-a58 .Jenny is emeritus faculty of John F. Kennedy University. As a member of a Samoan community, she has engaged in collective practice in Samoa, and contributed the essay A Living Legacy to Whispers and Vanities: Samoan Indigenous Knowledge and Religion (2014) and the AFTER THE WAVE film.

SuEllen Hamkins
SuEllen Hamkins, MD is a psychiatrist and author. SuEllen’s passion is helping people cultivate their values and strengths in the face of challenges and difficulties. Her work centers on three main areas: narrative psychiatry, college student mental health and mother-daughter relationships. She is Assistant Director of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. SuEllen is a co-founder of the Mother-Daughter Project, and has created a series of videos on helping mothers and daughter thrive. Her most recent book is The Art of Narrative Psychiatry, published by Oxford University Press. To read more, click here.

SuEllen gave the 2015 workshop, Working with people facing severe and persistent problems, and has presented on the Collab Salon on Working with People Who are Living with Serious and relentless problems or Mental Health Challenges.

Christoffer Haugaard

Christoffer Haugaard is a psychologist from Aalborg, Denmark. He has worked in the field of psychotherapy for psychosis for over 14 years and presently works in a private psychiatric hospital. For several years he has collaborated with David Epston and a number of psychiatric patients to develop a co-research practice to respond to the ability to hear troubling or dangerous voices, childhood trauma and exploring the potential meanings associated with extreme states, often labelled as psychosis. This led to a series of co-authored publications. Christoffer takes a particular delight in exploring the margins and transgressions of modern subjectivity, dreams, myth and conceptions of the mind and personhood outside of conventional psychology.

Barbara (B) Herring

Barbara (B) Herring (Los Angeles, CA), M.A., LMFT, Licensed Psychotherapist specializing in working with a diverse range of individuals, regardless of cultural background or where they may fall on the gender and sexuality spectrum, as well as Narcissistic Abuse Recovery.

Sarah Beth Hughes

Sarah Beth Hughes works as a Couple and Family Therapist in Nelson, BC Canada. She was introduced to Narrative ideas through her work as the North American Distributor of Dulwich Publications throughout the 1990’s. She got the privilege of attending many of Michael White’s training and got inspired to do this kind of work herself. Along the way she also met many of Michael’s colleagues and friends including Peggy Sax who have helped her feed her passion for this work.

Kay Ingamells

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.

Charley Lang

Charley Lang, MFT (Los Angeles, California) created the online course, Queer Counseling & Narrative Practice and cohosts The Collab Salon. He is co-founder of Narrative Counseling Center, providing resource-oriented consultation services for individuals, couples, and families, in addition to strength-based psychotherapy training for interns and therapists in the Los Angeles area. As Director of the Psychology and Addiction Studies Concentrations at Antioch University, he teaches numerous courses, including Narrative Therapy in Practice, Human Sexualities, Shakespeare Deconstructed and Madness in American History & Film.

Poh Lin Lee

Poh Lin Lee is a Chinese Malaysian Australian woman who comes to her practice through multiple experiences and relationships as a narrative therapy practitioner, social worker, co-researcher of trauma/displacement, writer, teacher, film protagonist and creative consultant. Since 2004 Poh has been engaged in therapeutic co-research with people and communities responding to themes of experience such as family and state violence, displacement (from rights, land, home, body, identity, relationships), liminality and reclaiming practices of staying with experience and preference. Creative and therapeutic fields intersected for Poh whilst working with people seeking asylum within a film project with director Gabrielle Brady, Island of the Hungry Ghosts (2018). Poh is currently a freelancer creating crafted exercises and content to accompany people in their practices/projects/processes on Patreon alongside regularly tutoring, teaching and offering experiential workshops across therapeutic, creative and academic fields.

Gerald Monk
Gerald Monk PhD (San Diego, California) is the former Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology at San Diego State University. He is a practicing Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, AAMFT Supervisor, and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. His research and teaching interests include Affective therapy, narrative mediation & conflict resolution, constructionist & discursive theories, restorative practice, and mental health recovery.
Rocio Ocampo-Giancola

Rocio Ocampo-Giancola trained at San Diego State with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. I am a bilingual licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with experience in trauma, crisis response and substance misuse and recovery. I am experienced with a variety of mental health concerns and have past experience working with homeless individuals, refugee and immigrants and trafficked women, men and children. I have a passion working with adolescents and their families and have supervised associates and interns working with children and adolescents. In the past I have worked with UPAC, Say San Diego, Catholic Charites and McAlister Institute. Current board member of Reauthoring Teaching: An online learning Collaborative.

Sasha Pilkington

Sasha McAllum Pilkington is a counsellor at Hospice North Shore in Auckland, New Zealand. She first met David Epston in 1986 when he agreed to be her supervisor while she was working for a mental health service in Auckland. Sasha then undertook training with David and Johnella Bird and has been learning and practising Narrative Therapy ever since. In recent years Sasha has developed a passion for writing stories that illustrate narrative practice (see Pilkington, 2014, 2016, 2017) and is now writing a book with co-authors Arthur Frank and David Epston illustrating Narrative Therapy in palliative care.

Jenna Robinson

Jenna Robinson (she/her), MA, LMFT, is a qwoc expressive arts therapist and performance poet located in the Bay Area. Jenna is a steadfast advocate for empowering people at the margins to author their stories of resistance and resilience using written and oral traditions.
She has been performing and teaching spoken word workshops to youth and adults since 2011. She is a two-time grand slam champion of Hawaii Slam and has competed on 7 national slam poetry teams. She placed second in the nation with the Hawaii Slam team at the 2015 National Poetry Slam in Oakland, CA. In Hawaii, Jenna facilitated therapeutic spoken word poetry workshops with foster youth, youth bereavement groups, K-12 schools and with adjudicated youth and their families primarily through Hawaii Girls Court. She received her M.A. in Expressive Arts Therapy from CIIS, where she developed a methodology melding narrative therapy, expressive arts and spoken word poetry. In 2017 she founded Revisions, an intergenerational therapeutic writing program for families and community groups with Bay Area Creative. Jenna has piloted and facilitated trauma- informed writing workshops with individuals, youth, and families throughout the Bay Area, including survivors of intimate partner violence and system engaged youth. Jenna specializes in family violence, with over 5 years experience providing clinical intervention to families impacted by intimate partner violence in Hawaii and the Bay Area. She is an adjunct professor in the Expressive Arts Therapy department at CIIS and at the Wright Institute. Jenna is currently training as a Poetry Therapist under the supervision of Dr. Sherry Reiter.

Lynne Rosen
Lynne V. Rosen, LCSW (Pasadena, California) has been engaged in therapeutic work for over 25 years in medical, residential, inpatient, community and private practice settings. She found her therapeutic and philosophical home in the early 90’s when she traveled to New York to hear Michael White and David Epston. Most recently, she has focused her attention on integrating Narrative Therapy with EMDR, Somatic Therapies and Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) with clients who are living with the effects of Trauma, Eating Problems and other difficulties that compromise relational well-being. Her favorite proverb is an African one: “Until lions have historians, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter.” Lynne has had a long-standing interest in bringing forward lions’ tales, stories and experiences at the margins, where there is wisdom and knowledge that can transport us all. She continues to feel passionate about teaching, supervising and public conversation work and for many years, she had the privilege of working as Core Faculty and Director of the Postmodern Therapy Training Program at PGI and Co-Founder of WPLA (Women’s Project Los Angeles).
Peggy Sax

Peggy Sax, Ph.D. (Cornwall, Vermont), is the founder and Executive Director of Re-authoring Teaching – the global learning community of narrative therapy practitioners, teachers, and enthusiasts that is represented on this website. Peggy carries a steadfast commitment to preserving, developing, and extending the legacy of narrative therapy. She loves to collaborate with colleagues across narrative generations, co-creating quality training materials and together building a narrative learning community. Having apprenticed herself to narrative therapy since the early 1990s, Peggy also works in independent practice as a Licensed Psychologist, consultant, international teacher, and international trainer. She is the author of several articles and the book Re-authoring Teaching: Creating a Collaboratory. Creating this online series is a dream come true for Peggy: working with people she profoundly respects, persevering to develop excellent courses together, and thereby contributing to a field she deeply values.

Marko Turner

Marko Turner is a registered practitioner, baptised in the professions of counselling psychology and dramatherapy. He has worked as a therapist for over 25 years across a pot pouri of settings, including adult, child and youth mental health services, workplace injury, cardiology and audiology rehabilitation, as well as so-called pain management. Throughout his lives in London and Sydney, he has offered private practice consulting to individuals and organisations. Marko has, at various points, been involved in delivering training and tertiary teaching, as well as leading teams in eHealth transformation and early intervention functional recovery from first-episode psychosis. Marko has written several papers and wished he could write a hell of a lot more.

Akansha Bye-Vaswani

Akansha Bye-Vaswani Ph.D., was introduced to narrative practices in Mumbai when she began working at Ummeed Child Development Center in Mumbai in 2010. Here she was also introduced to principles of family-centered care, early intervention, and community-based advocacy. Her interest in systemic change took her to San Diego State University where her studies in marriage and family therapy strengthened her commitment to developing clinical practice through the lens of de-colonizing, feminist, and postmodern practice. Her doctoral work at UMass Boston, focused on drivers of institutional corruption in psychiatry and solutions for reform, particularly the practice of deprescribing and rational prescribing grounded in informed consent. She is currently an Acting Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine where she works on the implementation of family-to-family support programs for families of persons managing psychosis.

Navid Zamani
Navid Zamani: “I’m an Iranian-American man who was born and raised in Southern California. I was raised in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas, until I moved to Davis, CA to continue my studies. After acquiring my BA in Psychology and minor in Music from UC Davis, I moved to San Diego to continue my studies at San Diego State University in Marriage and Family Therapy. I have resided in San Diego since 2010 and have fallen in love with the cultures, geography, food and music.

There are threads in my life that have been constant, and initiatives that have developed due to opportunities at the time and/or my location. Music has always been a big part of my life, and I continue to enjoy playing the piano/keys and the drum kit. I am an avid surfer, and enjoy outdoor activities with my wife, such as camping, hiking and biking around San Diego. Reading and writing have always been a pleasure of mine, and academia became a natural fit in this way. Gardening is also one of my obsessions and I also really love my dog. All of these hobbies are situated within a framework of experiences that come along with identifying as a heterosexual male, an Iranian-American and the experiences of biculturalism that accompany that, my ability to speak Farsi and English, my education, and the values I hold.

I grew up observing the charitableness of my family, and connected with the sense of urgency and gratitude that they experienced from helping others. I watched my mom always donate her time and money to the underprivileged and underserved. I watched my aunts (who are educators in Iran) advocate and stand up for students who often didn’t have a voice. I am continuously grounded by the love and compassion my wife models in her daily life. I truly believe that my community’s health impacts my health, and I am dedicated in supporting those in need.”

Jeff Zimmerman
Larry Zucker

Larry Zucker, LCSW, has been practicing therapy and training therapists for over 30 years. He is the President of the Re-Authoring Teaching Board and co-host of The Collab Salon. Larry’s background in social work and community organizing led him to see people in context, and to focus on strength and resiliency. Larry is committed to escaping blaming frames of reference in a field that encourage therapists to see people and relationships as problematic. He prefers seeing people as embedded in normal problems of living, full of untapped skill and knowledge for creating the lives and relationships they want, despite difficulties encountered, and to seeing therapy as a relationship that helps bring forth that knowledge.

Lesson Descriptions

Lesson One: Getting Oriented

We introduce Contemporary Narrative Therapy, the idea of a narrative backbone, our 21st-century cultural-historical context, Hot Topics for the decade, diverse voices across narrative generations, mentoring, co-learning, intentionality and innovation, and cross-pollination with other cherished approaches.

Lesson Two: Building on Collaboration between Michael White and David Epston

What is it about Narrative Therapy that has made such a serious mark on our lives?  David Epston remembers Michael White, imagining what might have come next if Michael had lived, and further builds on the spirit of adventure and collaboration that he and Michael embraced.  We watch a video of a conversation between Michael and Sal Minuchin, followed by further inquiry. Drawing from the April 2023 Remembering Michael 15 Years Later Collab Salon, we highlight getting to know a person’s uniqueness with respect and two-way accounts, being in the driver’s seat of one’s life, playfulness and humor. We explore questions as a source of creativity and the artistry of practice.

Lesson Three: What Is Contemporary Narrative Therapy?

Since Michael died in 2008, which cultural-historical developments have influenced the evolution of narrative therapy? What is the impact of Earth’s environmental crises on our lives and work while creating opportunities for growth?  How do we shift from individuals in competition to communities in collaboration, linking accountability to collective responsibility? What is the role of technology and anti-marginalization? How do we cross-pollinate with other cherished approaches while keeping our narrative backbones?

Lesson Four: Diverse Voices

Lesson four explores diversity, accountability, race, and privilege in the therapy room. How does narrative therapy translate into different contexts and what are the intercultural considerations?. What does Language Justice mean, and how can we honor the unique features of local culture and language?