Running with Narrative Ideas by Carmen Ostrander

Seeing through a narrative lens provides opportunities to refresh and reconsider approaches to the ‘performance’ of counselling, and the ways in which we might collude with or resist the influence of power and discourse in practice. In this video Carmen invites you in to her fledgling practice to share examples of some of the ways in which narrative ideas inspire and shape her work; through letter writing, note taking, research, and practical expressions of a de-centred position when working with individuals. 

Carmen Ostrander is an Australian narrative and expressive arts therapist currently based in Vancouver, Canada. Discovering narrative ways of working in 2014 reenergised her commitment to collaborative approaches in community work, which had been previously art based. Carmen currently provides low barrier non-pathologising support to artists and gender non-conforming communities through independent practice, the non-profit sector, and peer led support (solidarity) groups for fellow practitioners. Letter writing has become a cornerstone of her practice in conjunction with the development of writing workshops that explore the therapeutic and socio-political potential of our stories. Carmen completed the Masters program at Dulwich in 2017. You can reach her at

Published November 24, 2017

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    Hi Carmen. I am a counsellor working in Victoria in community health with carers. My training and work draws on Narrative ideas and practices and I found your video very interesting and share the practice of letter writing and sharing our file notes with the people who attend counselling. I am particularly interested in the welcome to community letter and the point of highlighting the problem as the problem right up front. Thank you for sharing and looking forward to hearing more, Warm regards, Lesley

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    Dane Duncan Mills

    Hello from London UK. My name is Dane. I love your video it really excites me. Thank you! I am emerging from just finishing a thesis on something we named ‘The Theatre of Life’ for young trans / gender non-conforming / non-binary young people. I have been taking some time off to rest since graduating in November 2017. I would very much like to connect your works and take the conversation forward! My thesis should be availbale online soon here:

    Mills, D D. (2017) The Theatre of Life: Collective Narrative Practice with Trans Young People in the Community. (Doctoral dissertation, University of East London). Available online:

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    Maire Barron

    thank you so much for your video. i really loved the nuro typical diagnostic rave. so great and so funny. actually your information was fantastic on a few levels for me – i loved hearing the discourse about hearing voices as well. thanks so much for your inspiration.

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