Online 5-Day Foundations Certificate Training

(30 CEC's)

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Foundations of Theory and Practice

30 CE credits granted by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association

September 30 - October 2 & October 8-9, 2022
(June 17th-19th & 25th-26th, 2022SOLD OUT)

“I was awe struck by who the faculty are and blown away by how much I was able to learn. This course was not only a turning point in my learning but also in my life!! Sending much gratitude and thanks to all of you. See you in the next VSNT course”

- Foundations Participant, New York City, September 2021

Your practice learning is guided by six world-class narrative therapists, a critical race scholar, and one highly imaginative continental philosopher. The VSNT faculty offer participants a theoretically inspired, skill based (and always fun), interactive learning experience within the relational intersection between narrative therapy theory and practice. 

Online Teaching Faculty:

Rosa Arteaga, (Canada/Mexico), Harjeet Badwall (Canada),

Christine Dennstedt (Canada), Helene Grau  (Denmark),

Stephen Madigan (Canada),Todd May (USA), David Nylund (USA)

Dates: September 30 -October 2 & October 8-9, 2022 

1/2 Day Follow-up: TBA

Time: 8:15 am - 2:15 pm, Pacific Daylight Time (Vancouver, BC)

Location: Classes are taught live through Zoom video conferencing

Professional: $800 CAD (+ tax)

Students/ members: $600 CAD (+ tax)

Proof of student status is required upon registration

This course is designed for mental health practitioners, students, teachers, supervisors and those in the helping professions.

This course is presented live on Zoom. Due to issues of confidentiality and participant consent, recordings of this training will not be made available.


Faculty and curriculum are subject to change

Foundations and Fundamentals of Narrative Therapy Practice
Stephen Madigan, PhD

Day 1 - All Day

8:15 AM – 2:15 PM (Break 11-noon)

Stephen introduces participants to the four therapeutic practices at the heart of narrative therapy interviewing. Discussed through numerous clinical video examples demonstrating: 1) Relational Externalizing, 2) Relative Influence Questions 3) Unique Outcome Moments, 4) Double Listening. Stephen interacts with participant questions through 'slow showing' a variety of his video taped sessions with individuals, families, and couples while carefully pointing out the purpose, politic, intention, direction and ideology supporting these narrative therapy interview practices.

A Philosophical Framework for Thinking About Narrative Therapy Practice
Todd May, PhD

Day 2 

8:15 AM – 11 AM 

Without an intimate understanding of philosopher Michel Foucault's post-structural ideas it would be difficult for anyone to fully understand Michael White's construction and demonstration of narrative therapy practice. Resident VSNT philosopher professor Todd May guides participants into the political and ideological complexities of Foucault's theoretical framework and offers the learner the all important coherent link between theory and the narrative practice demonstrated during the first two days of training.

Todd's discussion unravels the conceptual complexities of non-individualism, essentialism, expert knowledge, the concept of power, and the intersection of practices, values, norms and normativity. The ongoing project for participants is to continually link together these vital theoretical ideas to our daily narrative therapy practices inside the therapy room.

Therapeutic Letter Writing + Live Counter-Story Demonstration Interview
David Rock Nylund, PhD

Day 2 

12 PM –2:15 PM

Rock introduces Foundation participants to the historical roots, writing frameworks, unique practices and categories within the craft of therapeutic letter writing. During this training he will show the complexities of his letter writing practices working with queer and trans youth and their families. He follows up the discussion with a superbly textured Live counter-story interview demonstration with a volunteer. Foundation participants are then invited into a Live practice experience and taught how to craft narrative therapy questions and writing therapeutic letters in response to the interview they have just witnessed.

Foundations and Fundamentals of Narrative Therapy Practice
Stephen Madigan PhD

Day 3 

8:15 AM – 11AM 

 Foundation participants are now beginning to have a solid working knowledge and understanding of Michel Foucault, therapeutic letter writing, and four therapeutic practices at the heart of narrative therapy interviewing. Stephen moves Sunday morning's discussion forward towards new understandings and skills related to the next set of important narrative practice understandings: 5) Re-membering conversations, 6) Re-authoring conversations, and 7) The counter-file method for taking in-session therapy notes. 

Narrative therapy informed Anti-anorexia/bulimia practice
Christine Dennstedt PhD

Day 3 

12 noon - 2:15pm

Collectively, anorexia and bulimia have the highest death rates among all mental health issues. 

35-57% of high-school aged girls engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills, or laxatives. Consequently, a majority of mental-health therapists prefer not to work with anorexia and bulimia as the problems often defeat therapists and therapeutic teams. Christine has had a longtime committed therapeutic relationship with people struggling with disordered eating and wrote her doctoral dissertation on narrative therapy, disordered eating and substance misuse. Her plan is to guide participants through a narrative therapy informed, non-individualist, cultural and contextual therapeutic practice discussion through slides, stories, unaltered transcripts, and video tape sessions to demonstrate the complexities and creativity involved with an Anti-anorexia/bulimia narrative therapy practice.

Narrative Therapy with Couples and Children: Death, Grief and Loss,
Helene Grau, MA

Day 4 

8:15 AM – 11:00 AM

The workshop teaches participants numerous practical skills and new relational narrative therapy understandings about working with grief, death, loss, communities of concern, and relational re-membering conversations. Participants are introduced to Helene’s ground breaking narrative therapy work with parents and families/communities who have experienced the death of a child. She guides participants through transcripts and videos with grieving couples that affords her narrative practice to re-connect and enliven the dead child. Helene's work outlines a therapeutic means to contest, challenge and change what parents, the child, and the community experience about loss and death. Numerous therapists in the field of grief, loss and narrative therapy refer to her work as "beautiful” , "dignifying", and “relationally elegant”.

Race, Power Relations, Anti-essentialism and Identity
Harjeet Badwall PhD, and David Rock Nylund PhD 

Day 4

12:00 PM - 2:15 PM

The workshop will begin with Harjeet's research on race and social work practice. She will examine the ways in which whiteness permeates the social work profession and therapy in particular through neoliberal individualism. Her focus on examining and challenging the racial logics of helping professions will lead to discussions on anti-essentialism and interlocking analyses of violence.  Harjeet will use these two concepts to discuss how we can invite conversations about racism and whiteness into our work with the communities who consult us.  

Rock will then highlight cultural theorist, Stuart Hall, and feminist scholar AnaLouise Keating’s ideas on identity, difference, and social justice. He will argue that Keating and Hall’s critique of essentialist notions of identity create potential for transformation both on a macro and micro level. Rock will then posit that Keating and Hall’s ideas offer therapists tools to work across differences based on shared values and interconnectedness, not identity alone. An excerpt/video of Stevie, a Latinx cisgender female, working with her client Dani, a white transgender woman, will illustrate what Hall and Keating’s ideas look like in action. 

Narrative Therapy Interviewing with Children and Families
David Rock Nylund, PhD

Day 5 

8:15 AM – 11:00 AM

Rock  teaches through 30 years of day in and day out direct narrative therapy practice experience working with children, youth, and families. Participants get a close up experience of old school and new school narrative practices through his demonstrations and discussions of multiple direct practice videos working with children, youth and families. These instructional skill based teaching videos act to highlight the beauty, skill and complexity of his therapy work. He will also discuss his newly created 5-step interviewing practice and guide participants into the intricacies, complexities, and the narrative skills and knowledges necessary when working with trans youth, their families, and communities

Gender-Violence and Trauma

Rosa Arteaga, MA

Day 5 

12:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Through Rosa's work as the Clinical Director and Supervisor of a large multi-disciplinary team with a nonprofit anti-violence women’s organization, participants receive a close up intimate experience of her narrative therapy informed social justice/feminist inspired therapeutic practice. Participants learn how to interview and support girls and women of all ages and diverse backgrounds who are experiencing complex trauma and gender violence. Rosa guides participants well beyond current ideas about trauma and facilitates her teaching by taking the learner inside the complexities of gender violence through storytelling, session videos and her unaltered transcripts.

1/2 Day Followup

Stephen Madigan PhD, David Rock Nylund PhD

Followup 1/2 Day

8:15 AM - 11 AM

Rock & Stephen engage participants in a free-flowing interactive learning discussion regarding the therapeutic ideas and practices they encountered over the five-day Foundations certificate training. This is a time for participants to share what they learned, the specific ideas and practices that stood out, the post Foundations training experience with their with clients, and to raise any and all questions regarding the beauty, creativity, integrity and politic of narrative therapy practices. 



"I loved all the information and getting it from such high quality professionals. It was amazing to be able to see them all in action. The live demonstrations were probably my favourite part, as well as all of the discussion."