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


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.