Narrative Therapy: Foundations & Key Concepts

Registration for this self-paced course is open and ongoing!

Course Description

Narrative Therapy: Foundations & Key Concepts  (FKC) offers six lessons introducing the philosophical foundations and key concepts guiding narrative therapy in work with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations. Live Webinars are available when a group of six or more register together. For an additional $20, registrants can earn 12 APA approved CE credits through Alliant International University. For course objectives, click here.

Peggy Sax, Executive Director

Peggy Sax

Peggy Sax, Ph.D. guides this self-paced online course. Each of the six lessons takes about two hours and includes audio, video, and text.  Anyone can start at any time. Participation in discussion topics in the course-specific Conversation Forum is always welcome, yet optional.  Please consult our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for further information.

Registration always open!

  • Regular: $120 USD
  • Student or Fixed Income: $95 USD
  • Optional CE credit certificate: $25 USD
Register Now
Add CE Credit $25

When you purchase the course

  • You will receive an email with the link to the correct page for beginning the course and the (optional) Course Conversation Forum.
  • Each lesson and topic also has space at the bottom for comments.
  • Contact us if you would like a Study-Buddy: a partner with whom to move through the course.
  • When a group of 6 or more signs up, we can offer a live webinar.
  • Please contact us to inquire about a group rate, a scholarship reduced fee or a live webinar.
If you have already registered, access course here:

Take the Course

CE Certificate of Completion

Psychologists and other mental health professionals can earn 12 APA approved Continuing Education credits through Alliant International University!  Simply pass the quiz at the end of the course, and email your confirmation to [email protected] We will send you the certificate of completion.

  • For a list of course objectives, click here.
  • For a description of Alliant International University Continuing Education, click here.

Watch our Introduction!

Lesson Descriptions

Lesson One: What is Narrative Therapy?

We begin by reviewing several excellent brief descriptions of narrative therapy, and the Why Narrative Therapy? Youtube Project. After reviewing some important distinctions between narrative practice and other approaches, we honor the legacy of Michael White (Australia) and David Epston (New Zealand), the founders of Narrative therapy. Included are some special added remembrances of Michael who died in April of 2008.

Guided by: Peggy Sax, with a focus on the works of Michael White, David Epston, Maggie Carey and Shona Russell

  • Michael White Michael White
  • David Epston David Epston
  • Maggie Maggie Carey
  • Shona Russell Shona Russell

Lesson Two: Who are our intellectual ancestors?

We situate narrative practice as a development not only within the field of family therapy but rooted in postmodern approaches, post-structrualist philosophy, literary theory and anthropology.

Guided by: Peggy Sax, with a focus on the works of  Tom Andersen, Harlene Anderson and Chris Beels

  • Michel Foucault Michel Foucault
  • Jaques Derrida Jaques Derrida
  • Tom Tom Andersen
  • harlene Harlene Anderson
  • Chris Chris Beels
  • rob Rob Hall

Lesson Three: Three Key Concepts

Here we briefly explore three key ideas influencing narrative therapy: the role of questions, the narrative metaphor, and intentional understandings of identity.

Guided by: Peggy Sax, with a focus on the works of  Shona Russell, Maggie Carey, Rachel Hare-Mustin, Jill Freedman, Gene Combs, Chimananda Adichie, and Michael White

  • Hare-MustinRachelprofile Rachel Hare-Mustin
  • Chimamanda Adichie Chimamanda Adichie
  • FreedmanCombs Jill Freedman & Gene Combs
  • Michael White Michael White

Lesson Four: Four Key Ethical Considerations

We briefly explore four key ethics guiding a narrative approach: relational ethics, the decentered-influential therapeutic posture, staying close to people as center of their own lives, and reckoning with power.

Guided by: Peggy Sax, with a focus on the works of  Sheila McNamee, Michael White, Shona Russell, Maggie Carey and Rob Hall

  • Sheila McNamee Sheila McNamee
  • Michael White Michael White
  • Shona Russell Shona Russell
  • Maggie Maggie Carey
  • rob Rob Hall

Lesson Five: Practices That Engage with Problems

Narrative Therapy is well known as a way of working that separates the person from the problem. We will look closely at dividing practices to engage with problems in ways that do not promote shame or blame of the families or children.

Guided by: Peggy Sax, with a focus on the works of  Michael White, David Epston, Karl Tomm, Maggie Carey and Shona Russell

  • Michael White Michael White
  • David Epston David Epston
  • Karl Tomm Karl Tomm
  • Maggie Maggie Carey
  • Shona Russell Shona Russell

Lesson Six: Creating Audiences, Seeking Solidarity & Building Community

Narrative practitioners often seek to incorporate audiences in efforts such as letter-writing campaigns, outsider witness practices, reflecting teamwork, Tree of Life gatherings, reclaiming community, and other community rituals.

With a focus on the works of Peggy Sax, David Epston, Lynn Hoffman, Michael White and The Collab

  • David Epston David Epston
  • lynn & michael Lynn Hoffman & Michael White
  • SpanCertRosa001 Rosa & Martha
  • collab globe text small banner dark square The Collab Salon
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Add CE Credit $25