Michael White: Histories and legacies

This page contains articles on the histories of narrative therapy and community work, and explores some of the legacies of this work.

Where did it all begin?: Reflecting on the collaborative work of Michael White and David Epston

Context magazine’s issue 105 (October 2009), edited by Barry Bowen and Márie Stedman, explored the theme ‘Narrative influences’. For this special issue, the editors asked Cheryl White to reflect on the significance of the connection between Michael White and David Epston. Cheryl’s reponse, Where did it all begin?: Reflecting on the collaborative work of Michael White and David Epston’, is republished here.

Reflections on Michael White’s legacy

The 30th year anniversary edition of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy contains an article by David Denborough, ‘Some reflections on the legacies of Michael White: An Australian perspective’ which explores the spirit of originating in Michael’s work, broader social issues, the politics of experience, and more.

Some historical conditions of narrative work

C. Christian Beels published this article, ‘Some historical conditions of narrative work‘, in Family Process (vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 363–378). We are pleased to republish it here with permission. From the abstract:

Written to honor the immense contribution of Michael White as a leader in the development of narrative therapy, this historical essay contrasts the origins of psychoanalysis, family therapy and narrative therapy. Changes in the understanding of therapeutic strategies, methods of training and supervision, styles of leadership, the involvement of audiences in the therapeutic and training processes, and conceptions of the nature of the mind are described. A style of direct demonstration of methods, especially of the formulation of questions, is important in narrative work. The central master-role of the therapist in analysis and family therapy is replaced in narrative work by eliciting local knowledge, and the recruitment of audiences to the work. This is consistent with narrative therapy’s ‘de-centered’ image of the therapist.