Narrative Therapy Workshops

1a)  5-Day Narrative Therapy Certificate Workshop

Intensive narrative therapy certificate immersion course touching on all the finer aspects of the theory and practice. Diverse therapeutic topics from diverse VSNT faculty. Taught twice yearly in Vancouver, Canada. This course Always Sells Out! See faculty and registration at

1b) 3-day Intermediate Level  Narrative Therapy Certificate Workshop. With Stephen Madigan PhD and David Nylund PhD.

Participants learn the practice of the practice involved with narrative therapy interviewing. Participants are immersed in discovering the  7 most important ideas for listening in narrative interviewing and – how this skill relates to therapeutic questions. The practice is painstakingly analyzed, unravelled and understood through live sessions and recent tapes. The Vancouver School’s unique practice of working with communities of concern and therapeutic letter writing campaigns are demonstrated and highlighted.See faculty and registration at

1c) 4-day Advanced Practice Workshop

Stephen teaches this 4 day course alongside David Epston. Stephen and David use live session interviewing (in addition to an up close microanalysis of his therapy sessions captured on DVD) to teach participant therapists how to practice narrative therapy with a wide range of therapeutic issues. (please see references). See faculty and registration at

1d) Monthly Narrative Supervision Groups

Stephen Madigan supervises 2 small groups of ten advance practice therapists. Three Friday and/or Saturdays and 3 individual sessions. Session now FULL. See faculty and registration at

Madigan’s Workshop Topics specific to Narrative Therapy Theory and Practice:

  • Narrative Therapy with Couples – externalizing relationships in relationship counselling (talk covers discussions on separation, sex, power relations, gender training, trauma, time, children, same sex)
  • Narrative Therapy with children and youth
  • Narrative Therapy with persons struggling with depression, anxiety, fear and less-than-worthiness (DVD example of 6 sessions over 6 weeks)
  • Slim Chance: Undermining anorexia, bulimia and compelling eating with Narrative Therapy (DVD interviews with clients, consultant insider tapes, families and consultant tapes with the infamous Anti-anorexia League)
  • Narrative Therapy with persons struggling with intimate violence and trauma
  • Narrative Therapy questions: working with students, therapists and organizations

Please contact Lara at for the course schedule and references from city agencies/university groups etc. who have sponsored his workshops and training.

Taught alongside David Epston.
Narrative therapy questions are discussed regarding their purpose, structure, scaffolding, direction, social location, temporality, the theoretical views they support and how to better craft and shape them.
David and Stephen teach therapists:

  1. the craft, innovation and improvisation within a practice of narrative therapy,
  2. the politic and structure of therapeutic interviews,
  3. building narrative apprenticeship.

Stephen and David use ‘live session’ teaching interviews (alongside an archive of taped work supported by transcripts) to help therapists move forward in their working relationship with narrative ideas and therapeutic practices.

Since narrative therapy is not informed by psychological theory, the workshop sets out to carefully explain the poststructural/theoretical ideas located within the seven key concepts involved in the practice of narrative therapy.

Discussed is the foundational practice work of Michael White and David Epston and the theoretical ideas of philosopher-historians Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, linguist Mikhail Bakhtin, the cultural work of the Just Therapy Team and bell hooks, Judith Butler, folk psychologist Jerome Bruner, feminist Nancy Fraser and anthropologists Barbara Myerhoff, Clifford Geertz, Victor Turner and many others.

The workshop then outlines how Epston and White used post-structural theory to explain the seven key practice based concepts that form the practice map of narrative therapy. Stephen also shows participants how the theory shows up within narrative therapy’s understanding of,

  1. the landscapes of action and identity,
  2. relational externalizing conversations,
  3. unique outcomes and relative influence questions
  4. re-membering conversations,
  5. therapeutic letter writing, and
  6. outsider witness teams.

Throughout the workshop participants are guided through a step-by-step practice map of narrative therapy and shown how each piece of the practice and theory fits together. This is done through a microanalysis of Stephen’s live interviews and numerous DVD examples.

Relational Externalizing Internalized Cultural Dialogues.

  • The workshop reviews the ‘secret’ cultural language of internalized problem communications, the killiing stories that are told, and the systems of cultural and institutional support that shape this talk. Stephen offers participants a deconstructive questioning method he calls narrative therapy ‘counter-viewing’ as a response to the suffering created by internalized problem conversations.
  • Stephen demonstrates his therapeutic work through relationally externalizing our internalized cultural language habits of self-surveillance, fear, shame, anger, guilt, negative imagination/negative comparison and hopelessness. The workshop is taught through narrative therapy and post-structural theory – with specific reference to the ideas of Michel Foucault, live therapy practice demonstrations and a step-by-step videotape review of Stephen’s work.

The workshop discusses the history, method, structure and utility of therapeutic letter writing in narrative therapy. Stephen also highlights his expansion on the idea of letter writing by way of therapeutic letter writing campaigns, ‘summits of re-membering’ and the creation of communities of concern.

He outlines a narrative therapy practice of reconstituting identity by bringing community letter writers together with the client to read, re-read, re-tell and reflect. The therapeutic session produces an ‘anti-file’ of alternative constructions of identity, story, preferred memory and enriched future possibility/prediction.

Stephen also highlights the creation of client and family based insider leagues, presenting workshops to professionals alongside insider league members, and the development of insider league teaching DVDs. The insider DVDs outline their local knowledges about the experience of problem lifestyles, the limits of professional systems, and problem resolution.

The workshop is taught through narrative therapy and post-structural theory, a range of insider and other video consultations and live therapy practice demonstrations.

Eating disorders are complex issues that can at times defeat therapists and entire therapy teams. The workshop teaches participants unique and specific ways to understand the multifarious languages ,history, practice and rituals of anorexic and bulimic lifestyles.

Stephen demonstrates his novel therapeutic work with people struggling with a/b (as well as binge eating and obesity) through close attention to narrative therapy questions, letter writing practices, the formation of Anti-anorexia leagues and working with multiple-family groups. He will demonstrate a collaborative working style when working alongside psychiatric, family, hospital, school, and social work systems.

The workshop highlights a series of beautiful ‘insider client’ interviews/consultations and a microanalysis of videotaped sessions. Stephen explains his theory and practice positions on a/b through the widereaching influences of culture, education, sexuality, family, gender training, media, and religion.

  • Participants learn the art of narrative therapy interviewing through a thoughtful STEP-BY-STEP narrative interviewing structure.
  • Explore the history and utility of narrative questions, and the importance of asking imaginative and rigorous therapeutic questions through fields of felt compassion.
  • Build therapeutic skills progress by learning simple ways to craft and understand complex questions (pertinent to working with different presenting problems concerning individuals, couples, families and groups).
  • Analyze the rich development of therapeutic questions and their influence over problems through videotaped sessions, live therapy demostrations, transcripts, and therapeutic letters.