Using Collective Knowledge in Narrative Family Therapy by Yael Gershoni

In this video Yael Gershoni will demonstrate a way of finding points of departure for re-authoring “alternative stories”. The concept is that the multi-generational family of origin can be a rich resource of “collective knowledge”. Collective knowledge is knowledge we gather from a group of people. Yael proposes expanding these practices to include using collective knowledge from multiple generations of the family experience. In these therapeutic conversations ideas are collected from the histories of multiple generations within a family. Embedded in these histories are stories of how to deal with difficulties that bear resemblance to those confronted by the client. This collective knowledge can help people gain ideas of how to deal with their own difficulties.


For over 25 years Yael Gershoni has been working with the narrative practices and ideas as a teacher, supervisor and therapist, applying these to a wide range of problems.  A large part of her work is connected to working with trauma, loss, couple and family therapy. Yael completed her M.Sc. in Family Therapy (1980-83) in Southern Connecticut State University.  She trained and worked with Colé Madanes and Jay Haley at the Family Therapy Center of Maryland, Rockville, MD (1988-90) and with Peggy Penn at the Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy, NY (1997).  In 1984 Yael joined the Barcai Institute, the Center for Individual, Family and Marital Therapy in Tel Aviv, Israel, a center for teaching, supervising and therapy with couples, individuals and families and became a co-owner of the Barcai Institute in 1994.  Since 1990 she was intimately involved and responsible for hosting Michael White at the Barcai Institute where he gave workshops, during which time they had many discussions on Narrative Therapy practices and applications.  Yael has taught Narrative practices in Israel, Rwanda, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Romania and Greece.  Since 1994 the Barcai Institute has been a leading institution for teaching and training of Narrative Therapy in Israel for which Yael played a major role in developing the curriculum and teaching it. In 2014, after 30 years, Yael retired from the Barcai Institute and continues her private practice as a Narrative Therapist. Yael is a clinical certified member of AAMFT (1983) and a certified Supervisor in Marriage and Family Therapy by the Israeli Association (1985) and publishes articles on Narrative work in English and in Hebrew.

Published September 1, 2017

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Lani Castan

    Yael, Toda raba! These ideas are metzuyan! I will definately find a way to weave it into my practice. Yafe meod!

  2. Avatar

    Daisy Nunez

    Loved this way to overcome trauma and difficult situations through the successful stories in the family of origin. I’m now thinking on how to apply it to children and teenagers, victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation in impoverished areas in my country. I believe learning from their relatives and even some significant adults in their communities, might help them to overcome trauma and grow from it.

    Thank you very much for sharing your experience Ms. Yael!

Leave a Reply