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Online 5-Day Foundations Certificate Training
30 CE credits granted by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association

February 17-19 & 25-26

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Foundations of Theory and Practice

30 CE credits granted by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association

May 26-28 & June 3-4, 2023
15% Sold

“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 narrative therapy 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

"To VSNT Faculty: I cannot begin to express my deep appreciation for all that you taught us and everything I learned over these five days of narrative therapy training. Your words and experience will always travel with me. Thank you all so much."

- Foundations Participant, Victoria, BC, June 2022

Your practice learning is guided by five 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. 

VSNT 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: May 26-28 & June 3-4

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: $850 CAD (+ tax)

Students/ members: $650 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.

Training Schedule

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 11AM-Noon)

Stephen is the VSNT Director of Training. He begins by teaching participants numerous practical skills involving four therapeutic practices at the heart of Narrative Therapy interviewing: 1) Relational Externalizing, 2) Relative Influence Questions 3) Unique Outcome Moments, and 4) Double Listening.

Stephen guides participant learning through discussions, slides, and showing numerous clinical examples of his original video taped sessions with individuals, families, and couples.

Participants learn the purpose, politic, intention, direction, difference, and theory supporting these wonderful narrative therapy interview practices.

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

Day 2 

8:15 AM – 11 AM 

Michael White strongly believed that "without an intimate understanding of philosopher Michel Foucault's post-structural ideas a therapists understanding of narrative therapy practice would be severely limited." ( 

Resident VSNT philosopher Todd May who is the author of sixteen books on philosophy (and counting) unravels the conceptual complexities of Michel Foucault's ideas on non-individualism, essentialism, expert knowledge, the concept of power, and the intersection of practices, values, norms, normalization, and normativity.

The ongoing project for Todd is to help participants continually link together these vital theoretical ideas to our daily narrative therapy practices inside the therapy room.

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

Day 2 

12 PM –2:15 PM

Anorexia and bulimia have the highest death rates among all mental health issues. 

Consequently, a large majority of mental-health therapists prefer not to work with people struggling with anorexia and bulimia as the problem often defeats 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.

She guides participants through a narrative therapy informed, non-individualist, cultural and contextual therapeutic practice discussion through slides, stories, unaltered session transcripts, and video tape sessions to demonstrate the complexities and creativity involved with an Anti-anorexia/bulimia narrative therapy practice. 

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

Day 3 

8:15 AM – 11AM 

Inside the international narrative therapy community David Rock Nylund is know as one of the few world class therapeutic letter writers. His training workshop introduces participants to the historical roots, writing frameworks, and unique practices/categories within the craft of therapeutic letter writing. He follows up the slide show discussion with a superbly textured Live counter-story interview demonstration. Course 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 

12 noon - 2:15pm

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 afternoon'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 with Couples and Children: Death, Grief and Loss,
Helene Grau, MA

Day 4 

8:15 AM – 11:00 AM

Participants are introduced to one of the worlds most skilled narrative therapists who demonstrates her ground breaking narrative therapy work with parents and families/communities who have experienced the death of a child.

Helene’s 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.

Helene guides participants through transcripts and videos with grieving couples that affords her narrative practice to help them 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 international therapists in the field of grief, loss and narrative therapy refer to her work as "simply 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 begins with Harjeet's research on race, racism, and social work practice. She examines 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 Ana Louise 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 illustrates what Hall and Keating’s ideas look like in action. 

Narrative Therapy Interviewing with Children and Families. David Marsten MSW

Day 5 

8:15 AM – 11:00 AM

David  teaches through 30 years of day in and day out direct narrative therapy practice experience working with children, youth, and families. This workshop will demonstrate for participants David's elegant therapeutic craft and direct practice with children in the context of family therapy. Key narrative therapy practices will be addressed along with an emphasis on narrative structure, his co-creation of 'wonderfulness interviewing', and another original idea he calls dramatization. Lecture, discussion, slides, and exercises will support participant learning and direct practice videos will be used to demonstrate particular aspects of this beautiful work.

Gender-Violence and Trauma. Rosa Arteaga, MA

Day 5 

12:00 PM - 2:30 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.

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"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."

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