David Epston

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  • Michael White: Fragments of an Event— John Winslade & Lorraine Hedtke with an introduction by David Epston

    $9.90

    We present here fragments, reconstructed from memory, of Michael White’s last workshop. These fragments are interspersed with descriptions of events that took place in San Diego in the days leading up to Michael’s death. Our focus here is not on the medical details, nor on the private family stories, but on the task of recording Michael’s last efforts to teach. Our hope is to play a small part in allowing his words to continue to resonate.

  • ‘What Doesn’t the Problem Know About Your Son or Daughter?’ Providing the Conditions for the Restoration of a Family’s Dignity— David Epston and David Marsten

    $9.90

    This paper looks at the effects of Problems in the lives of children and young people, and also why Problems, by definition, have a ‘limited scope of interest’, and therefore can never reflect the richness of young people’s lives. The authors offer a range of ways that Problems can be directly responded to, including informing them of children’s and young people’s ‘wonderfulnesses’. Several examples of therapeutic documents intended to provide a full disclosure of such ‘wonderfulnesses’ are provided.

  • Consulting your consultants, revisited— David Marsten, David Epston and Lisa Johnson

    $9.90

    This article questions the notion of children as hapless, biding their time, through a slow maturation process until they become useful adults. We argue that young people1 can be instrumental in their own lives and this extends to addressing serious problems they may encounter. We suggest, in addition, that young people’s knowledges2 can be useful to others. We offer a map (White, 2007) for this practice in how to consult young people on behalf of others in need. With the use of letters and transcripts, we provide examples for each step in how to support young people as they find surer footing and a clearer voice, taking up the role of protagonist and advisor. Through the consulting process, insider knowledges are privileged. Narrative structures are utilised to give order and coherence to such knowledges. A future petitioner is introduced to provide immediacy and narrative drive to the consultation.

  • Placing strengths into storylines – Building bridges between strengths-based and narrative approaches— Kay Ingamells and David Epston

    $9.90

    Could narrative inquiry enliven strengths-based practice through returning stories to strengths? This paper tells the story of the composition of ‘narrative of strengths’ interviews and their use with students, within a research project utilising the Clifton Strengthsfinder at Unitec, New Zealand. It moves on to explore possible seeds of connection between strengths-based and narrative practice, taking the paradigm of life as story and the reclaiming of the territory of the past as starting points for this inquiry.

  • Haunting from the Future: A Congenial Approach to Parent-children Conflicts— David Epston, Cherelyn Lakusta, and Karl Tomm

    $9.90

    This paper describes a novel approach to parent-children conflicts. It has been developed in response to situations when the present is particularly vexatious or where parties are passionately committed to their respective position which requires each to either defend it, or attack the rectitude of the other, and where to relent or even hesitate would risk loss of face.

  • Innovations in Practice: a new column hosted by David Espton: introduction

    $9.90

    This column is seeking short pieces of writing from narrative therapists describing micro-innovations within their work. We are particularly interested in examples of practice that cannot be explained by the existing narrative therapy literature. We hope this column will foster continuous innovation within the field. We would also request that you avoid narrative terminology and speak in your own voice so that your ‘thinking’ comes through loud and clear. If you have examples of practice you would like to share, please email us at dulwich@dulwichcentre.com.au

    Guest columns for this issue include:

    Introduction— David Espton
    Increasing family presence to reduce expulsion in early childhood centres—Will Sherwin
    Thumbs up/thumbs down: When a child declines to speak— Emory Luce Baldwin

     

  • A narrative enquiry approach to strategic planning in community organisations: A ritual of legacy in transition— Frances Hancock and David Epston

    $9.90

    In this paper we explore the relevance and possible applications of narrative forms of enquiry to strategic planning in community organisations. How does one translate the ideas and practices of narrative enquiry, which have their genesis in the realm of family therapy, to the field of organisational development? Are there ‘family resemblances’ or do such practices need to be re-invented? In particular, what is a possible starting point for a narrative enquiry approach to strategic planning with community organisations? We propose that a narrative enquiry approach to strategic planning can rouse practitioners at all levels of the organisation to recall and pass on ‘stories that deeply matter’. Such storytelling implicates a ‘story-in-the-making’ in the form of a stirring and unfolding organisational legacy. Organisational practitioners not only remember that legacy into the present but also appraise how it might pass in transit into ‘a sought-after future’. Narrative enquiry may assist organisational practitioners (paid or voluntary, governance or staff) to inspirit their practice with a new-found sense of meaning, purpose and zeal for organisational mission. It may also help summon foresight to evolve a strategic direction and plan capable of guiding them, perhaps along ‘the road less travelled’ towards a soughtafter future.

  • A storyline of collective narrative practice: a history of ideas, social projects and partnerships— David Denborough

    $9.90

    Collective narrative practice is an emerging field. Building on the thinking and practice foundations of narrative therapy, collective narrative practice seeks to respond to groups and communities who have experienced significant social suffering in contexts in which ‘therapy’ may not be culturally resonant. This paper tells a story of this emerging field. It describes the author’s journey through the intellectual history of six key aspects of narrative therapy as well as richly describing a range of social projects and partnerships. In doing so, this paper provides an historical foundation to the emerging field of collective narrative practice.

  • Tales of travels across languages: Languages and their anti-languages— Marcela Polanco and David Epston

    $9.90

    This paper is a collaboration between an apprentice bilingual translator/narrative therapist (Marcela) and one of the originators of narrative therapy (David). Studies of translation and bilingualism offer interesting and useful contributions to the renewal of narrative therapy. As narrative ideas migrate cultures, these crossings can enrich, acculturate, and diversify narrative practices. At the same time, considerations of bilinguality or multilinguality can influence our practice within languages. The example of therapeutic practice that is offered illustrates how narrative therapeutic conversations can move between and across multiple namings of people’s predicaments. In this process, understandings need not be ironed out, as often happens in monolingual conversations. Instead, multilinguality puts names in play as transitory constructions, susceptible to renewal or reinvention.

  • Ethnography, co-research and insider knowledges— David Epston

    $5.50

    This piece revisits some of the intellectual histories of narrative practice, in particular the development of an ethnographic, co-research approach to working with families. By tracing the influence of anthropological and sociological thought on the development of what has become ‘narrative therapy’, this piece invites current practitioners to read beyond the boundaries of any professional field in order to generate new forms of practice.

2,023 Comments

  1. I’m Clayre Sessoms from Vancouver, BC, Canada, traditionally known as Coast Salish Territories. I acknowledge that my work takes place on the ancestral, unceded, and occupied territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Nations of the Coast Salish People whose relationship with the land is ancient, primary, and enduring. I’m an uninvited settler in what is colonially known as Vancouver. Because my place of work is on stolen land I commit to support a reconciliation, which includes reparations and the return of land. Here I study counselling psychology and art therapy, and I get to incorporate narrative therapy at my practicum placement, a site that provides free counselling services for LGBTQ2S individuals.

    These materials help me to begin to wrap my head around the complexities of narrative therapy. I especially enjoyed learning about how others have used narrative therapy in practical counselling settings.

    I’m moved by how we often tend to hear, accept, or retell the thinnest stories of our lives and the lives of others. I imagine that not valuing the richness of an individual’s diverse range of stories, perhaps, it has been much easier to cling to tired old preconceived notions about others, which can cause undue harm.

    I’m left thinking about the TEDTalk by Chimamanda Adichie about the dangers of accepting a singular story of someone else, rather than leaning in and committing to understand the wholeness of that person’s narrative.

    I look forward to continuing to learn. Thank you to The Dulwich Centre for providing this accessible forum. <3

  2. in what ways have you entered into collaborations before? What made these collaborations possible?

    As a peer worker most of my work was entering into collaborations with young people. I would use curiosity to further inquire into their experience, and looking back wow these narrative practices would have been amazing to use in our youth group discussions! We would use art mostly in telling stories. Many of the young people heard voices and saw characters only they could see. They would enjoy painting these voices, externalising the character, giving it a name and talking about the story and nature of the relationship between the voice and the character. I also enjoyed illiciting these stories, as I could tell they would begin to separate themselves from the voices, allowing for guilt and shame to reduce.

    What might make it hard to enter into these practices?

    The one difficult way of entering into these practices was the note writing. The managerial culture of my last workplace meant it was not considered good practice to have clients sit with us to write notes. In fact most clients probably were unaware that workers did regularly make notes each time they had contact with the centre. We were a strengths based centre that thrived on person centred practice. I think there is a bit of a stereotype that note writing is quite clinical and removed from person centred practice, hence a certain avoidance of bringing up notes in front of clients.

    If these ways of working fit for you, what next steps could you take to build partnerships/collaborations in your work?

    I definitely believe I could continue to use art to help young people tell their alternative stories. In mental health many workers draw thin conclusions of clients – bipolar, poor attachment, violent, with even their strengths really talked about in third person. It would be great to start drawing peoples strengths out with the use of story telling, so that clients can start to own their strengths, rather than have clinicans cherry pick these out.

  3. Thank you to Tileah for a wonderful presentation. I love hearing the word “yarn” used in this powerful way (Americans also have that term). The practice of “translating”, of shifting concepts into language that can be more usefully heard, is very powerful. As coaches we can make good use of this to help clients uncover their hidden or forgotten resources.

  4. These stories are amazing examples of what we can discover when we hold onto our “beginner’s mind” and remember that the other person (client, patient) has the information and understanding, not us. We talk a lot in leadership development about “co-creating” and I think this is a beautiful example of two very complementary roles: the person who has the story and the person who helps to explore and shape it.

  5. I like the idea of narrative – there is something about giving people the power to create a narrative, rather than simply appearing in a story told by someone else. Within the narrative metaphor, I especially enjoy the fabric metaphor – the idea of strands. These may touch each other, or not, may go well together in tone or color, or not. But again, there is some power in creating and weaving the narrative.
    In my own work with coaching and leadership development, I find that the emphasis on narrative(s) helps make things more tangible, and therefore brings them to their true scale, instead of letting them take on imaginary and unclearly described proportions.

  6. I love this. Telling our stories in ways that make us stronger. Such a powerful sentiment. Sometimes through trauma, it is hard to access the words that really encapsulate that experience – though using the written word does help us access those hard to utter parts of our memories … in those cases though perhaps the story we tell ourselves is not one that makes us feel strong in the first instance – so finding a way to tell that story in a way that focuses on the strength of surviving to tell that story is just amazing!

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