Narrative conversations with mandated men by Tod-Augusta Scott

Welcome to this Friday Afternoon presentation. This afternoon, Tod-Augusta Scott, from Nova Scotia Canada, shares his work in relation to narrative conversations with men who have engaged in violence against their partners. Below you will also find links to an interview with Tod, and further references and websites. We hope you will join the discussion forum on this important area of work.

Further reading (free to download)

Augusta-Scott.T. (2006). Talking With Men Who Have Used Violence in Intimate Relationships: An Interview with Tod Augusta-Scott, pp 23-30. International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, no. 4, 2006 Australia: Dulwich Centre Publications.


Augusta-Scott, T. (2003) Dichotomies in the power and control story: Exploring multiple stories about men who choose abuse in intimate relationships. In Responding to violence: A collection of papers relating to child sexual abuse and violence in intimate relationships, pp.204-224. Adelaide: Dulwich Centre Publications.

Augusta-Scott, T. (2009). A Narrative Therapy approach to conversations with men about perpetrating abuse In Peter Lehmann and Catherine Simmons (eds). Strengths Based Batterers Intervention: A New Paradigm in Ending Family Violence . New York: Springer Press.

Augusta-Scott, T. (2009). Power, control and beyond: An interview with Tod Augusta-Scott and a client who perpetrated sexual abuse by Scot Cooper. Journal of Systemic Therapies, Vol. 28. No. 2, 90-101

Augusta-Scott, T. (2008). Narrative Therapy: A Group Manual for men who have perpetrated abuse: Facilitators Manual, Participants Manual. Truro: Bridges Institute. (also available in French).

Augusta-Scott, T. (2007) Letters from prison: Re-authoring identity with men who have perpetrated sexual violence. In Brown, C. & Augusta-Scott, T. (eds) Narrative therapy: Making meaning, making lives, pp.251-268. California: Sage Publications.

Augusta-Scott, T. & Dankwort, J. (2002) Group work with partner abuse: Lessons from constructivist and educational approaches. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, vol. 17, no. 7:783-805.

Brown, C. & Augusta-Scott, T. (eds) (2007) Narrative therapy: Making meaning, making lives. California: Sage Publications.


Bridges – a domestic violence counselling, reseach and training institute, Nova Scotia, Canada

The Duluth Model

Published on November 18, 2013

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Susan Lord

    Hi Tod,

    Thank you very much for your video.
    I very much appreciate all the ideas, and the work you are doing, which sounds to me like this goes a long way to helping both the women and the men.
    As a discussion group we watched listened and responded in full and rich discussion, and I thank our reading group members, and Dulwich for this opportunity.

    I like that your program is very much hands on and accountable ie. present in context intention and action, empowering and acknowledging those most affected.
    I agree that hearing the man’s suffering can access ways to stopping the violence; and in particular can create a platform or even a history on which he can stand against violence.
    Narrative co-research with the help of professional co-research, in careful one to one work, filtering out into groups of men, could go a long way to co-creating anti violence groups, supporting men (and women) against violence.
    With safety precautions and guidelines in place such a group then has immense value.

    Such narratively guided ethical and secure men’s groups could set up
    and co-research principles to live by, for communities of men who up until now have had no spoken or visible precedent to guide them. I know this is no easy task; yet it is so sorely needed in so many areas for both men and women.
    I can only congratulate you on all the work and effort you are doing; and also of all the work being done in similar groups by others along these lines.

    I really value your words:
    “The stories of men’s suffering are important to access in stopping their violence. Through these stories a man can discover a history of taking stands against injustice that can, in turn, create a platform or foundation for him to confront his own use of violence

  2. Avatar

    Tod-Augusta Scott


    I appreciate the discussion and the focus on the concerns that the work be in dialogue with, accountable to the women being hurt by the men and the women’s advocates. At Bridges, the organization that I work in, most of the workers are women who have long histories in the shelter movement. There are those that counsel men and others who counsel their female partners. The cousellors for the women and the men are constantly in contact with each other re: issues of safety, etc. In Nova Scotia, work with men grew out the shelter movement rather than out of the department of justice. This has kept the work responsive to the women being hurt.

    There is a lot of attention that the men’s stories of injustice are taken up in a manner that leads them toward taking greater responsibility rather than toward justifications and excuses. The stories of men’s suffering are important to access in stopping their violence. Through these stories a man can discover a history of taking stands against injustice that can, in turn, create a platform or foundation for him to confront his own use of violence. As well, studying the man’s experiences of violence can help cultivate empathy for his partner. For women who stay with their partners, this process can prepare a man to be helpful when he eventually hears directly from her about his about her experience of his violence. This process can then lead the men to be more effective in engaging in processes of repair and restitution in relation to the effects of their violence.

  3. Avatar

    Russel Whitewood

    Thanks very much, Tod, for your presentation .. Very helpful to hear you talk about what informs you about this work, as well as to have read some of what you have written.

    And I’ve also appreciated being able to read others’ responses to this presentation … In particular, hi, Don, reading your response took me back to the time we spent in Rwanda, participating in the workshop there for the counsellors of the survivors of genocide in that country … And also, hi, Vikki Reynolds … appreciated your questions about how this work is held accountable to women.

    In particular, I am currently co-facilitating a program working narratively with men who have perpetrated violence, and the question she is asking of us (herself, myself and our organisation) is ‘What am I doing here?’ … that seems to be about what are the particularities of her role in the group? Is she there to represent/make available to the group her knowledge of the effects of men’s violence on women and children? If so, how is that to be incorporated into a program that has the intention to be collaborative with the men in the group, that pays attention to the unhelpfulness of oppositional/didactic approaches in the engagement of men?

    What are your views?


  4. Avatar

    Vikki Reynolds

    HI Tod, thanks for succinctly laying out your work with men who have used violence. I supervise WAVAW(Women Against Violence Against Women) a rape crisis centre in Vancouver. We watched your presentation with our team, and had a useful conversation and some reflections.
    In particular we were wondering about how your work, and the work of your team is held accountable to women, both as the particular victims and in general. I know in a 30 minute talk your accountability structures aren’t the highlight, but I trust they’re there and I’d be keen to have that laid out especially for men taking up this important work-(like having some therapeutic supervision from women).
    For us the work is of course worrysome, as without the ethical stance you’ve taken around tying violence to patriarchy and structural power it could be used to excuse violence, or get lost in the man’s history of suffering. So we appreciated your ethical frame and wonder how you hold it close and how it is made public in the conversations.
    We also recognized many cultural threads from our lives that are present in this approach, and one counsellor who is Indigenous found many points of connection with your approach and what she referred to as the work of “the Lodge”.
    As a team of diverse women working with women who are the victims of rape and sexualized assault we are encouraged to hear from men about picking up this important work in accountable ethical ways. In solidarity vikki

  5. Avatar

    Don Gapp

    Thanks Todd an important message, reminding me of the problems of oppositional practices and the violence they may create. I was moved to reflect on my work with young men within an indigenous community and the stories of shame and rage contradicted by equally expressive stories of love and justice.
    One of the major issues confronting me is the idea that the community including many parents believe the violence is not serious. There is also a desire to place the blame for acts of violence on external factors.
    Hearing the way in which you collaboratively explored the stories and helped foster alternative stories from what is often a chaotic situation brought some hope to what has been a violent and exhausting week.
    Listening to your tape drew me back to my roots in narrative and collaborative practices and re-positioned me to once again explore those practices which have been successful in the past.
    I have a meeting tomorrow to discuss current practice in ‘behaviour intervention’, I now attend with a renewed sense of what exemplary practice looks like.

  6. Avatar

    Loretta Pederson

    Hi Tod,

    Thanks so much for that presentation. I found it really fascinating. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how people can hold multiple and seemingly contradictory thoughts and desires at the same time. It seems like a big ask to expect people to have only one thought and desire and commit to it 100% of the time, and yet that seems to sometimes be the expectation of family and friends when someone is trying to move away from a particular problem, whether that be violence or something else.

    I was really interested in what you were saying about the complexity of both being hurt and hurting others. I have sometimes worked with women who have experienced abuse and who want to address the verbal abuse they use on others. I too have noticed the helpfulness of the Statement of Position Map in these discussions. I’m going to think more about the idea of discussing the impact of the hurt the person has experienced as a foundation for examining the way the hurting they are doing has impacted others.

    Thanks again.

  7. Avatar

    Troy Holland

    Dear All,

    Thank you very much Tod for sharing stories of your practice. I’ve recently been discussing working with men who use violence with a group of colleagues and your presentation will help further inform our conversations.

    We had a feeling that perhaps difficulties I had in keeping particular men engaged may have been related to expectations for them to take responsibility too early in the conversations I was having with them. Your idea of ‘preparation’ work that needs to be done before we can expect men to evaluate the violence and their responsibility for it fits very well for me and I’m planning to make this something I am more patient with in future.

    The other thing that stood out for me was your idea about the effects of patriarchal expectations on me as the person being consulted. I have noticed it is easy for me to allow myself feelings of righteousness and anger in response to stories of men’s violence towards women, and subsequently feel comfortable in taking a position of confrontation. One thing that has been helpful for me in this regard is to consider ways that I have allowed myself to be co-opted by patriarchal expectations in my relationships with people of all gender. Another thing that has been helpful was a story David Newman told at a workshop I attended when he mentioned that groups of women he had consulted had told him they wanted men seeking help to stop violence to be “treated with kindness”.

    Thanks again for your presentation, very timely for me.

    Warm regards


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