Meet the Author Sessions

These weekly Meet the Author zoom meetings with narrative practice authors brought people together during 2020 and 2021 from different parts of the world. This meant a great deal to us during the pandemic. As the pandemic continues, so too do these Meet the Author events! We are now thoroughly enjoying the 2022 season! These are being hosted by Dulwich Centre Foundation, the University of Melbourne and Evanston Family Therapy Center (USA).

Upcoming sessions:

Tuesday 31st May / 4:30pm (Adelaide time)

Joseph Kalisa (Joe) is a licensed clinical psychologist and narrative therapy practitioner in Rwanda. He is interested in the intergenerational transmission of resilience, survival skills and resistance after genocide as well as collective approaches to mental health and works with communities experiencing mental health difficulties in Rwanda. He works at the University of Rwanda and is an honorary Tutor at the University of Melbourne. Joe is also a faculty member at Geruka Healing Centre and Dulwich Centre.

Joseph’s work draws on the rich history of collective narrative practice. The article to read in preparation for this session describes a series of conversations with people in Rwanda who had been subject to the stigma associated with mental health issues. Although stigma was an experience shared by group members, we were careful to avoid generalisation and to attend to both individual and collective experiences. Working in ways that honoured local culture and tradition, we arrived at a shared metaphor of mental health stigma being like imungu, the cowpea weevil. This enabled us to draw on participants’ extensive knowledge of managing the destructive effects of imungu on crops and harvests when eliciting local responses to mental health stigma. Rich stories emerged about the diverse ways in which people resisted stigma, and how these were connected to sustaining relationships and cultural resources. Participants drew connections between poverty and mental illness and emphasised the role of solidarity and collective economic development in responding to the effects of stigma. These local knowledges, which sometimes diverged from ‘mainstream’ psychological prescriptions, are shared here in the hope that it might contribute to other communities facing similar hardships.

This meeting will be facilitated by Tileah Drahm-Butler (of the Darumbal/Kulilli and Wanyurr Majay Yidinji Nations).

Claver Haragirimana and other members of OPROMAMER (an association to promote solidarity among people with mental illness in Rwanda) will also be invited to participate.

To prepare for this session, please read the following:

And then bring along your questions for Joseph!

The meeting will take place for one hour at the following times:
Adelaide – Tuesday, 31 May at 4:30pm
Brisbane – Tuesday, 31 May at 5pm
Wellington – Tuesday, 31 May at 7pm
London – Tuesday, 31 May at 8am
Paris – Tuesday, 31 May at 9am
Kigali – Tuesday, 31 May at 9am
Johannesburg – Tuesday, 31 May at 9am
Istanbul – Tuesday, 31 May at 10am
New Delhi – Tuesday, 31 May at 12:30pm
Singapore – Tuesday, 31 May at 3pm
Beijing – Tuesday, 31 May at 3pm
Hong Kong – Tuesday, 31 May at 3pm
Tokyo – Tuesday, 31 May at 4pm

Register in advance for this meeting: https://unimelb.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwkf-muqz4jHtOmVEQ_EBL8DMOYPnrs6lAg

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

We take great care ensuring that the time differences displayed are correct, however it is always best to confirm the time difference yourself if you are unsure. This is a great website to calculate time differences: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html 

These events are organised by Dulwich Centre, Evanston Family Therapy Center and University of Melbourne. They are free, not recorded, and go for one hour.

Past sessions:

This will discuss the paper ‘Travelling down the neuro-pathway: Narrative practice, neuroscience, bodies, emotions and the affective turn’. In recent times, a complex interplay of factors has led to the social sciences grappling with neuroscience, affect/emotion and embodied experience in new ways. This paper engages with the following four questions: How does narrative therapy fit with neuroscience? How does narrative practice engage with emotion? How does narrative practice relate to the affective turn? How does narrative therapy engage with the body/somatic experience/embodied experience? Throughout this paper examples from Michael White’s therapy practice and contemporary examples of collective narrative practice are discussed.

As David Denborough mentions at the beginning of this piece, this paper started with a concern, about how neuroscience ideas are being engaged with in the field of narrative practice, and then became a bit of an adventure: “It was as if I started travelling down a neuro-pathway and unexpectedly found myself detoured into writings by feminist theorists (such as Ann Cvetkovich, Clare Hemmings, Ruth Leys, Margaret Wetherell and Deborah Gould) and diving into early writings and videos of Michael White that relate to how narrative therapy engages with bodies and emotions. I’ve really enjoyed the adventure, and I have the narrative practitioners who are engaging with neuroscience to thank for this. I hope I can convey some of my enjoyment and intellectual delight in the following pages.”

Lobna Yassine suggested a Meet the Author on this paper and will be a key interlocutor during the session. Jill Freedman will offer reflections. 

Lobna Yassine has been connected to narrative practices for almost 15 years, with a particular passion for people affected by the criminal legal system. Lobna is interested in exploring alternative possibilities, alternative knowledges, and in people’s acts of resistance from the periphery. Narrative therapy practices have allowed Lobna to remain committed to acts of social and political activism, while at the same time positioning individuals and communities as experts and knowledge-producers. Lobna’s research and teaching areas at the University of Sydney include the social constructions of crime, juvenile justice risk assessment tools, and the racialising of crime in Australia. She is also interested in Countering Violent Extremism policies and programs and the impacts on Muslim communities. Currently, Lobna is investigating how Whiteness is embedded across human service systems, such as child protection, criminal justice, mental health, and welfare policies. In other current projects, she is exploring how social work curriculums in universities maintain and replicate White norms.

David Denborough is a community worker, teacher, writer and song-writer at Dulwich Centre and coordinates the Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work at the University of Melbourne. His latest writings involve reckoning with colonial histories and their implications in the present, and considerations of ‘moral injury and narrative repair’.   

To prepare for this session, please read the article Travelling down the neuro-pathway: Narrative practice, neuroscience, bodies, emotions and the affective turn by David Denborough.

And  then bring your questions for Lobna and David!

Mindfulness has become a popular buzz word that is over-used and unfortunately often severed from its original meaning. This leads to many misconceptions about what the practices entail, and what they make possible in everyday lives.  When one has delved into the mindfulness experience and lived the profound shift that it engenders, it becomes easier to see how it is powerfully connected to narrative practices.  In this Meet the Author event, Marie-Nathalie will answer questions on what defines mindfulness practices and how they can enrich our therapeutic journey with clients. A particular attention will be given to how mindfulness practices can facilitate the scaffolding and sustenance of rich preferred experiences as was described in her recently posted Friday Afternoon video.

This meeting will be facilitated by Tileah Drahm-Butler (of the Darumbal/Kulilli and Wanyurr Majay Yidinji Nations). Jill Freedman will offer reflections.

Marie-Nathalie Beaudoin started training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at about the same time, in the mid 1990s, as when she developed a 9-month narrative therapy training program in California. Since then, she has expanded many narrative practices with mindfulness and neurobiology/positive psych ideas to enhance their effectiveness with clients living under the fire of intense problems.  She finds the integrated combination of these approaches to be more transformative than the sum of their individual influences. Marie-Nathalie deeply cherishes nature, and values being a wife, mother, activist, consultant, and compassionate practitioner. See www.mnbeaudoin.com for a list of upcoming events and sample articles.

To prepare for this session, please watch Marie-Nathalie’s Friday Afternoon Video and read her article Intensifying the preferred self: Neurobiology, mindfulness and embodiment practices that make a difference.

Marnie Sather works as a narrative therapist in Melbourne, Australia. She has a long standing passion for making room in therapeutic and community work for complex understandings of suicide, including those bereaved by suicide. Her current interest is women’s experience of bereavement as a result of suicide.

This meeting will be facilitated by Tileah Drahm-Butler (of the Darumbal/Kulilli and Wanyurr Majay Yidinji Nations). Joseph Kalisa will be offering reflections.

In this meet the author, come and discuss with Marnie her feminist insider research and her work to support families who have lost loved ones to suicide. Please read the following articles:

Jim Duvall is Co-Director of JST Institute and Editor of Journal of Systemic Therapies, www.jstinstitute.comHis experience as a therapist, educator, consultant, speaker, editor, and author spans over four decades. His work aims to integrate time-sensitive narrative practices within social justice principles. In addition to many articles and book chapters, Jim co-authored a policy paper (Duvall, J., Young, K., Kays-Burden, A., 2012), No more, no less: Brief mental health services for children and youth. As a result of the recommendations of this policy paper Brief Competency-Oriented Services (e.g., Narrative Therapy, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy and Collaborative Dialogical Therapy) were made available to children and families in every community in the Province of Ontario, Canada. His co-authored a book (Duvall & Béres, 2011), Innovations in narrative therapy: Connecting practice, training and research, WW Norton and Company which is the first book to integrate training and research with narrative therapy resulting in compelling practice-based evidence. He is the co-editor of (Beaudoin & Duvall, 2017) Collaborative therapy and neurobiology: Evolving practices in action. Jim has facilitated hundreds of workshops, courses, and keynote presentations with organizations throughout Canada, US, Australia, Asia and Europe. Other times he can be found playing music with his friends or boating on the Gulf of Mexico with his partner, family and their dog, Sailor.

This meeting will be facilitated by Tileah Drahm-Butler (of the Darumbal/Kulilli and Wanyurr Majay Yidinji Nations). Jill Freedman will be offering reflections.

This Meet the Author provides an opportunity to ask questions of Jim Duvall about two aspects of his work and writings. Before attending, please read the following two pieces, which can be found on our website: https://dulwichcentre.com.au/meet-the-author/ 

Storied Therapy as a Three Act Play: which provides a conversational micro-map which conceptualises therapy as a three act play, moving from the known and familiar, through the zone of proximal development, to what is possible to know. This is a chapter from the book Innovations in narrative therapy: Connecting practice, training and research (Duvall & Béres, 2011, W.W. Norton)

and

Narrative therapy as re-search: Integrating narrative practices, participatory training, and co-research which briefly describes the ways in which Jim and colleagues have integrated training and research with narrative therapy resulting in compelling practice-based evidence.

David Newman lives and works in Sydney. He is currently passionate about working with those who are struggling with suicidal experience, narrative approaches to mental health work and the possibilities of group work. He is the author of the influential paper ‘Rescuing the said from the saying of it: Living documentation in narrative therapy’; founder of Sydney Narrative Therapy Centre; and a member of Dulwich Centre faculty.  

This meeting will be facilitated by Tileah Drahm-Butler (of the Darumbal/Kulilli and Wanyurr Majay Yidinji Nations). Joseph Kalisa will be offering reflections.

In this Meet the Author come and meet David Newman and the dictionary of obscure experience.

We are sharing three different resources to engage with first:

Sarah worked for ten years as a clinical psychologist and narrative therapist in the refugee space in Belgium. She completed her doctoral research exploring Australian grassroots community storytelling events involving people with refugee experiences through the lens of definitional ceremonies. In her current job as a research fellow, Sarah hopes to contribute to a better understanding of posttraumatic mental health in disaster-affected communities and continues to engage with narrative therapy in private practice.

This series of videos by Sarah Strauven takes a close look at definitional ceremony and presents different angles on its practice. It first conveys how Barbara Myerhoff developed the concept of definitional ceremony and then how Michael White brought these ideas into his therapeutic and community work. Particular attention is paid to the historical developments and adaptations of Michael White’s practice. Sarah also engages with Marc Kaminsky’s generative critique of Barbara Myerhoff’s work and expands upon the notion of ‘communitas’ in definitional ceremony.

Joseph Kalisa will be facilitating this session. Jill Freedman will be offering reflections.

Prior to the session, please watch Sarah’s video series below





Maya Sen is a mental health social worker and narrative therapist from Kolkata, India.  She started her journey with narrative practices in the child protection sector. Currently she is working in Mansitherapy, a psychotherapy service in India. She is also a part of the Dulwich Centre International Teaching Faculty.

The following resources describe some of her experiences  responding to hardship in these spaces. The article on “Responding to Grief and Loss in the context of COVID 19” is a collaboration with Anwesha that explores the possibilities of using narrative practice to respond to grief that is complicated by the pandemic. The paper “Working with young people in residential care in India: Uncovering stories of resistance” makes visible what young people are up against while accessing institutional care.  It also explores the ways in which narrative practices can acknowledge injustice, highlight resistance and connect young  people to preferred ways of living.

This meeting will be facilitated by Tileah Drahm-Butler (of the Darumbal/Kulilli and Wanyurr Majay Yidinji Nations). Joseph Kalisa will be offering reflections.

Prior to the session, please read Maya’s articles Responding to Grief and Loss in the context of COVID 19 and Working with young people in residential care in India: Uncovering stories of resistance

And then bring your questions for Maya!

Wonderfulness Cards aim at identifying and enriching the wonderfulness of a person through Narrative-based questions and conversations. The spotlight is shifted from problems affecting persons to their preferred identities, moral character, abilities and qualities, values and beliefs, hopes and dreams, passion and sparkling moments.

This meeting will be facilitated by Tileah Drahm-Butler (of the Darumbal/Kulilli and Wanyurr Majay Yidinji Nations). Joseph Kalisa will offer reflections.

To prepare for this session, please watch the short video below and read this document.


And then bring your questions for Yee Mei Wong and Fiona Sze Siu Fung!

David Nylund has worked in a broad array of settings including community mental health, non-profit agencies, managed care, and private practice. David specializes in working with people struggling with anxiety and depression; LGBTQ identities; couples therapy; trauma and abuse; life transitions (grief and loss, divorce, career changes, etc.); children and teens struggling against problems; ADHD; youth and adults with eating/food related issues; substance abuse problems; parenting difficulties; and family therapy. David has a particular interest and specialty in working with transgender and gender non-conforming youth and their families. David is the Clinical Director of the Gender Health Center, a non-profit agency in Sacramento that serves transgender and LGBQ communities.

This meeting will be facilitated by Tileah Drahm-Butler (of the Darumbal/Kulilli and Wanyurr Majay Yidinji Nations). Jill Freedman will be offering reflections.

To prepare for this session, please read David’s paper here.

And then bring your questions for David!

The meeting will take place for one hour at the following times:

Adelaide – Tuesday 15 March, at 9:30am
Singapore – Tuesday 15 March, at 7:00am
Beijing – Tuesday 15 March, at 7:00am
Hong Kong – Tuesday 15 March, 7:00am
Auckland – Tuesday 15 March, at 12:00pm
Vancouver – Monday 14 March, at 4:00pm
Los Angeles – Monday 14 March, at 4:00pm
Mexico City – Monday 14 March, at 5:00pm
Chicago – Monday 14 March, at 6:00pm
Atlanta – Monday 14 March, at 7:00pm
Toronto – Monday 14 March, at 7:00pm
Santiago – Monday 14 March, at 8:00pm
Rio de Janeiro – Monday 14 March, at 8:00pm

Register in advance for this meeting: https://unimelb.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMvfu2uqjIjGtC3QCpIAKi1tOQ8v4GbM-4m

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

We take great care ensuring that the time differences displayed are correct, however it is always best to confirm the time difference yourself if you are unsure. This is a great website to calculate time differences: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html 

These events are organised by Dulwich Centre, Evanston Family Therapy Center and University of Melbourne. They are free, not recorded, and go for one hour.

Serge Nyirinkwaya is a Rwandan narrative practitioner currently undertaking his PhD in Calgary, Canada. In this ‘Meet the Author’ session Serge will be speaking about his work in Rwanda combining narrative practice and games in work with children and young people. 

Drawing on narrative practices – re-authoring conversations, the absent but implicit and collective narrative practices – and on experiential learning models, this paper describes a playful practice to assist children and young people who have experienced hard times to respond to traumatic memories from a safe territory, without requiring them to speak in the first person about their experiences. Games and other activities are used to create a shared experience in which young people employ skills and values. These experiences are used as the basis for a cycle of experiential learning in which children reflect on their experiences and make links with their pasts and futures to support alternative story development and rich acknowledgment of what they give value to and their skills of living and being. In addition to seeking ways to avoid retraumatising, pathologising and stigmatising young people, this process has been developed to offer practitioners an easy to apply and locally resonant way of engaging with children and young people who have been through hard times. It uses local metaphors like making visible young people’s capacity to resist and endure (being mudaheranwa), inviting young people to stand together on Akarwa k’amahoro (Peace Island), and enabling mutual contribution through features of traditional Itorero schooling, including the use of stories of pride, songs and poetic mottos (ibyivugo).

This meeting will be facilitated by Tileah Drahm-Butler (of the Darumbal/Kulilli and Wanyurr Majay Yidinji Nations) and Joseph Kalisa.

To prepare for this Meet the Author please read Serge’s article here.

For over 40 years Melissa has practiced and taught individual and family therapy, for 25 years in community settings and for the last 15 years in a secure psychiatric inpatient unit.  With James Griffith, she developed therapeutic approaches that attend to the body, that honor the spiritual life, and that address persons in the context of family, community, and culture. She has presented this work internationally and has written about it in numerous articles, workshops, and in two books, The Body Speaks: Therapeutic Dialogues for Mind Body Problems (Perseus Books, 1994) and Encountering the Sacred in Psychotherapy: How to Talk with People About Their Spiritual Lives (Guilford Press, 2002).

Melissa sends this message, “Narrative Therapy, and my colleagues in the narrative community have been the most salient and sustaining influence in my work and have brought joy to my life.  I have long benefitted from your work at Dulwich Centre, so I will come in gratitude to this Meet the Author event  eagerly anticipating our exchange about including spirituality in therapy. In the readings I have shared some moments and movements of grace in my therapy experience.  If you are interested, we can talk about ways to create a hospitable space for these moments.  

This session will be facilitated by Tileah Drahm-Butler (of the Darumbal/Kulilli and Wanyurr Majay Yidinji Nations). Jill Freedman and Danita Martin will offer reflections. 

To prepare for this session, please read these extracts

Loretta Pederson works in Sydney on Dharug and Cammeraygal lands. She is interested in working to support people to notice the steps they have taken in responding to hardships, including trauma. She has worked in various communities across Sydney, and now mostly works on Zoom offering counselling and supervision. Loretta is a member of the Dulwich Centre faculty and is currently working on a book about narrative practice and feminism, demonstrating practices through stories.

To prepare for this session, please either read Loretta’s paper Sharing sadness and finding small pieces of justice: Acts of resistance and acts of reclaiming in working with women who’ve been subjected to abuse, or watch this video.

Erling Fidjestøl is a narrative family therapist who has immersed himself in the study of narrative practice at the ROBUST clinic in Oslo. ROBUST is the only all-narrative practice clinic in Norway. Erling works with children, young people and their families suffering a range of difficulties including high conflicts and social and mental health issues of various kinds. He is passionately devoted to the importance of a de-centered position and the unpacking of the merits already there, rather than having a conversation on the ‘I/we need to do better’ – premise.

This meeting will be facilitated by Tileah Drahm-Butler (of the Darumbal/Kulilli and Wanyurr Majay Yidinji Nations). Jill Freedman will be offering reflections.

To prepare for this Meet the Author please read these six examples of therapeutic letters.